First day of the 2017 Melges 20 World Championship in Newport!

With wind at 15-18 kts, 2-3 ft waves and a solid southwest direction, Race One began with a clean start and Friedes leading at the top mark, followed by Igor Rytov's RUSSIAN BOGATYRS, and John Kilroy's SAMBA PA TI.   In a duel of leaders of the North American and European World League leaders, Freides showed polished form around the track to fend off Rytov, and making a hard charge for third was Rob Wilber and his team of pork chops on CINGHIALE.

The final race of the day saw a general recall which was a much needed additional break for teams looking to catch their breath. With breeze continuing to touch 22-23 kts, the Melges 20s had a full gallop down wind while surfing big waves and getting the occasional mouth full of salt water. Using the mid-line sag to his advantage, Wilber punched off the line, tacked to port and extended to the right, and played the middle left taking advantage of the first lefty puffs of the day. After a brief tussle with longtime Melges 20 owner Daniel Thielman at the helm of KUAI, Wilber managed to hang on for the win, with Freides charging into second and Rytov in third.

With a handful of great teams competing in the all-amatuer Corinthian Division the heat is on high early. Canada's Justin Quigg on CHARACTER 2.0 and Brazil's Cesar Gomes Neto on PORTOBELLO swopped leadership places throughout the day. Ultimately, it was Quigg getting the upper hand over Gomes Neto to lead. "Generally we're pretty happy - We think we're in a good spot for tomorrow," commented Quigg. "In the Corinthian fleet, there's lots of trading places back and forth. We're only a few places ahead of the guys behind us right now." Sweden's Johannes Lind-Widestam sailing INTERMEZZO sits third after three races.

Continue following races on the official website of Melges 20 and Facebook, the results will be available here.