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Friday, 31 January 2014 12:14

Fontana skipper earns Yachtsman of the Year award for 2013 performance

Written by  CSI Media news staff
Brian Porter at the helm, far right, of Full Throttle on his way to winning the Sperry Top-Sider Melges 24 World Championship in San Francisco, his first title after three second-place showings. Brian Porter at the helm, far right, of Full Throttle on his way to winning the Sperry Top-Sider Melges 24 World Championship in San Francisco, his first title after three second-place showings. Pierrick Contin photo/ILYA

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY-- Brian Porter knew all about finishing second -- he had been runner-up on three occasions.

However, the Fontana resident and his three-man crew got to celebrate the ultimate victory as they captured fourth place in the ninth and final race of the Sperry-Top Sider Melges 24 World Championships, which pushed them past a Swiss team to win the title by two points last October in San Francisco.

The Full Throttle team overcame a deep field of contenders and nearly 60 entries to give Porter the coveted title.

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It also helped earn him one of nine nominations, and his first, for US Sailing’s Yachtsman of the Year award for calendar year 2013. In mid-January, Porter took home the trophy and the accolades. He and the female winner, Jody Starck of Amherst, N.Y., will be recognized Tuesday, Feb. 25, during a luncheon at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco.

"I was so thrilled to be nominated, but to actually win it … it’s hard to describe how I feel," Porter said in a news release. "This award was not really my focus; instead, I was always thinking about our next race or our next regatta. I am incredibly grateful for all the tough competitors I have had the opportunity to race against in the Melges 24 and E Scow classes, to the US Sailing panel for recognizing the quality of competition in those fleets and to Rolex for its generous support of competitive sailing."

Porter enlisted his regular Full Throttle crew of Andy Burdick and Matt Woodworth and added Federico Michetti as a first-time replacement for Sam Rogers, whose wife was expecting a baby during the Melges 24 World event.

He also scored a Melges 24 victory at Quantum Key West (23 boats) and finished third at the Rolex Big Boat Series (35 boats) in San Francisco and the E Scow National Championship (84 boats) in Lake Geneva.

"I am the only amateur on the boat, and my crew always reminds me of that, especially when I make mistakes," the futures trader said. "We’ve been sailing against these Melges 24 teams since 1993, and we have incredible respect for them. We knew we had a great chance to win this time, but in this fleet you lose more than you win."

Ever since his early days at Lake Geneva Yacht Club, when Harry C. "Buddy" Melges Jr. stepped onboard the 8-year-old Porter’s X Boat to tune it, he has been humbled, but not daunted, by others’ sailing talents.

"I grew up sailing against Buddy as a teen in the mid- to late ’70s when he was at his peak, so I felt I always had the opportunity to sail against the best in the world," Porter said.

Melges was a three-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and one of the most successful competitive sailors in history. 

"He taught us that there was no reason we shouldn’t sail outside of Wisconsin," said Porter, who has won seven E Scow national titles to Melges’ five, "and we introduced that love of sailing to our kids. It has enriched our lives so much."

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