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Angry Dutchman

Angry Dutchman

Pieter Taselaar is one of the dominant Melges 32 owner/skippers in that tough fleet, having won two major European events this year enroute to his bid to become World Champion next month in Porto Cervo with “Bliksem”.  Last weekend, Pieter chartered one of the factory Audi Melges 20s for their first-ever US National Championship in Holland, MI – and going into the final day, Taselaar was in the lead.  But the final two-leg race was a yard sale, with boats sailing every which way in barely a breath of wind, and the regatta ended with Eric Wynsma’s Superfly and Marc Hollerbach’s Black Jack finishing 1-2 while Taselaar and a handful of others never getting close to the finish line.  A request for redress to toss the race was disallowed, resulting in part of the fleet happy and part very much not. Thanks to composites expert Ed Wheatley and his awesome Fountain 38 (our dream OTW Anarchy comand ship),  We got some good videos and photos that you can check out on the thread: There’s some light air racing, great shots of catching salmon and drifting around, and interviews with a big pile of Audi Melges 20 sailors – many of them overjoyed about their fleet and first-ever Nationals.  But not all.  Taselaar sent us this:

“We are appealing the results.  Bliksem requested redress to have race number 4 thrown out at the Nationals because of non compliance by the RC with the Audi Melges 20 class rules, which states that there has to be a consistent breeze of 4 knots or more in order to start a race. There were about 5 minutes during the sequence where the wind was 4 knots or above but in no way did we at ANY time during the morning have a breeze that lasted above 4 knots for more than 2-5 minutes. I requested redress and asked for the race to be thrown out given that the wind completely shut down and half the fleet was going backwards halfway up the first beat. I gathered about 7 witnesses (half the fleet) but the Jury (mostly locals from [host club] Macatawa Bay Yacht Club) decided it was not necessary to hear them.  The PRO was asked by the jury if he thought this race was a true reflection of participants’ racing ability and he said: absolutely yes!   Now we are talking about a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP which is being decided in 0-2 knots of breeze with 50 degree random shifts, one upwind and one downwind leg and a knot of current against us. The separation between the leader and "losers" like us was about 100 boat lengths by the time the first boat rounded the mark and got carried back to the finish by the tide.   I asked the PRO if he could look me straight in the eye and repeat his statement that this race was a true reflection of participants’ racing ability and he said “yes.”  The sad thing is that I feel compelled to appeal this blatant disregard for class rules to USSAILING and even sadder is that while all this was going on, Harry Melges was watching from a Whaler his "new exciting" old man’s class being destroyed by a race committee consisting of grandmothers and grandfathers. I have nothing against Grandpas but prefer for them to play with my kids rather than sail against them or have them run races. I guess last weekend Melges managed to find a new niche with the MELGES GRANDPA 20.  I am looking forward to the appeal which I purely pursue as a matter of principal. If I win, I will hand the title right back to the oldest skipper in the fleet.”