Making the Melges 20 Family Friendly

Published on February 4th, 2016

As one looks at the roster of teams set to compete in the second installment of the 2016 Melges 20 Miami Winter Series, several family teams are racing with and against each other with the aim to not only finish atop the standings, but also strengthen the family bond… or, clarify the family hierarchy.

Racing with and against family members can be rewarding, while serving as an active family vacation. Sailing with his daughters Molly and Hope Wilson, longtime Melges 20 sailor Jim Wilson on Oleander is looking to cash-in on years of college tuition and his daughters’ 8 years-combined college sailing experience.

“Sailing with four people will be an adjustment and the Melges 20 is new for Molly and Hope,” said Wilson. “But they’re great crew and we’ve sailed a lot of small boats together. Whatever happens there’ll be some good stories!”

Another family team looking to continue their upward performance trend is Devin and Declan McGranahan on Yo Momma. Having sailed together at several Melges 20 events, Devin and Declan are family sailing veterans that have developed a strong dynamic set to serve them well this weekend, and at future regattas.

For some families, racing against each other is preferred for family bonding as evidenced by Jason Michas on Midnight Blue competing against his father Alexis on Midnight Sun.

“I’m really looking forward to racing this weekend, especially with (against) my dad,” noted the younger Michas. “He’s the one that originally got me into sailing and now it’s something that we both enjoy and get to share. I was lucky at the 2015 Melges 20 Worlds that we could both sail our own boats and it will be fun to sail against each other again for this regatta. At the very least, I’m happy I don’t get yelled at anymore when the spinnaker doesn’t come down right!”

Racing against each other is nothing new for the Kilroy family with 13-year old Liam racing on Wildman against his father John on Samba Pa Ti, the current World Champion. However, don’t expect any friendly crosses between these two. Liam took the first Winter Series event title just ahead of his father who finished second.

And there is no family dynamic quite like the relationship between siblings. Bruce and Jay Golison have raced together successfully for years alternating as helmsman, and as evidence by their blistering opening day at the first winter event, figuring each other out is not an issue.

“Sailing with my brother Jay is great. We have been doing it for so many years,’ said Bruce Golison. “There are no real challenges in sailing together, it is just that we know each other so well, I always know what to expect… so there are no surprises!”

With Melges family DNA, 14-yr old Harry Melges IV will be harnessing the years of experience sailing with his dad, Harry Melges III. Melges will team up with several other young, aspiring sailors from Lake Geneva who have strong family roots in Scow sailing as well.

Racing begins on Friday, 5 February with a varied, windy, potentially wet weekend on tap.

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Report by Sam Rogers.

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