Mentored Melges 32 Envy Scooters prepare for Worlds

Published on November 11th, 2014

The first team to represent Australia at a Melges 32 World Championships will be Barry Cuneo’s Envy Scooters (AUS 138) from Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. The 2014 Melges 32 World Championships will be hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club, Miami, Florida, December 1 -7.

Barry Cuneo is a rare breed of racing yacht owners giving back to the sport of sailing by sponsoring and mentoring Royal Queensland’s youth sailors. Barry recently returned to sailing after years of working as a harbor pilot and master mariner, running his business and raising a family. Cuneo comes from strong sailing stock and was selected to represent Australia in the Youth World Championships in the 70’s.

Cuneo noticed a hole in the sport where young skilled and proficient sailors were leaving sailing in their late teens and early twenties. Many become disillusioned by opportunities available racing keelboats, for others they struggle to fund their own campaigns at the level of sailing they have reached or factors such as university and work become priorities.

Cuneo recognised the need to provide a pathway for youth sailors to a career in professional sailing and nominated a group of four youth sailors based on previous performances. The Melges 32 is the ideal class appealing to youth sailors with a balance of technical knowledge, experience and fun factor.

The World Championships attracts the most elite sailors and is the ideal regatta for the youth sailors to experience an international World Championship campaign. The regatta will allow them to watch and learn from the best and gain a greater understanding of the life of a professional sailor.

The Envy Scooters crew consists of Youth Champions; Matt Parrott, bowman and boat captain; Daniel Smith, mast and pole; Klaus Lorenz, pit and Charlie Wyatt, trimmer. Barry has surrounded the young team with the best Australian sailors as mentors including Rob Brown, winning 1983 Americas Cup crew member on Australia II; Matthew Chew, part of the 2009 Etchells World Champion crew and Australian Laser Champion and member of the world match racing tour Ben Lamb. The cool heads of the more senior members of the team bring their experiences and knowledge to the crew.

This campaign has been a year and a half in the making, the team taking every opportunity to get practice on the water. The Melges East Coast Championships allowed the Envy crew to tune against other Melges 32’s to test speed and boat handling. The Pittwater Championships hosted by the Royal Motor Yacht Club next weekend where Rob Brown is now the Divisional Development Manager will provide valuable on water coaching beneficial for the entire Melges 32 fleet. This will be Envy Scooters final regatta prior to leaving for Miami and the Pre Worlds.

Barry commented ‘I’m really happy with our team, they are taking it seriously and we are at a level where we can really learn. I’m hoping the Melges 32 Worlds will give the boys the opportunity and leg up to become professionals. My goal is to come back without any crew because they all have rides on other boats. My expectations are realistic, I want us to sail as best we can. In sailing unlike other sports we can line up against and learn from the World’s best.’ When asked about Barry Charlie replied ‘we love his energy and the opportunity he is giving us’. Daniel added Our goal is to watch and learn from the Pro’s and take away as much information and we can.’

When asked about the Melges 32 class Daniel replied ‘the appeal is the one design racing, it brings the best sailors and is seen as a feeder to the America’s Cup.

by Tracey Walters

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