Ullman Wins Windy Melges 24 Worlds

News brief, 5/14/07


Rich Roberts

The last race of the 2007 Fullpower Melges 24 World Championship in Santa Cruz, Calif., took place on a furious Monterey Bay, where 30-knot winds whipped up 5-foot waves on top of 10-foot swells. Even for the frontrunners, the race turned into a battle for survival. Winner Dave Ullman said, "We weren't racing at the end, just surviving." After watching his closest competition broach on the final downwind leg, Ullman throttled back his Pegasus 505 team, which included tactician Bill Hardesty, Brent Ruhne, Andy Estcourt and Shana Phelan. Hardesty recalls the finale: "We saw [Brian Porter's Full Throttle] capsize, took down the spinnaker, and went into survival mode. We didn't have to worry about anything but finishing." Of the 58 boats that started the race, 19 failed to finish. One finisher, Corinthian Division winner Othmar Mueller von Blumencron, did so with half a mast. At 61, Ullman became the oldest person to win the Melges 24 Worlds. Yet the sailmaker rejects the notion that he's become a symbol of Baby Boomer longevity. "I don't think about it," he said. "I give credit to the other people on the boat. They were terrific. I have the easy job." For complete results from the event, click here.