Random conditions for Melges 20s in Miami

Published on December 12th, 2014

Miami, FL (December 12, 2014) – There are some basic things in sailing that are fairly straightforward; hoisting sails, trimming them properly and trying to keep the bow pointed to the mark at all times. Combined with getting a clean start, taking care of the basics usually results in a good finish and solid position at the end of the day. But on Day One of the Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series, a very tricky Northwest wind made the majority of the fleet struggle to perform the basics, resulting in a very mixed scorecard for some of the perennial contenders.

Despite the bleak forecast, the breeze on the race course was fresher than anticipated with several puffs in the 11-12 kt range, resulting in a lot of gear changing and looking up the course to figure out where the best pressure would be once the race started. Longtime lake sailor Mike Keefe on Flannel from Lake Geneva, Wisc. was able to string together two solid finishes, “It was a lot like lake sailing today, not as bad as Pewaukee, but very tricky. It was crazy, fluky and unpredictable which served us well today.” Keefe posted finishes of a sixth and a third placing them second overall.

After taking the Winter Series in 2013/14 off, it didn’t take long for Brian Hill and his all amateur team on Atlas to get reacquainted with racing Audi Melges 20s in Miami. Navigating a racecourse filled with huge shifts and changes in velocity, Hill and his team were able to secure two top ten finishes – a 9-2, landing them in third overall. An excited Hill explained their success, “It was great to be sailing with the fleet after a year off. Being a new team, our goals today were solid communication and patience, and it was nice to see our plan pay off on a tricky day of sailing.”

Ruling the day however, was the Italian team of Achille Onorato on Mascalzone Latino, Jr., putting up a 4-1 which is a testament to this solid team who previously took second place at the 2014 Worlds earlier this season. Serving as the tactician, Malcolm Page did an excellent job of playing the averages and staying in the pressure, “The priority today was taking any decent starboard angle you could to get left as the majority of the upwinds were spent on starboard tack. Even if it meant living in a bad lane or wind for longer than you wanted, staying in pressure and being on the long tack was key.”

After a brief discussion with class leadership on the race course, PRO Bruce Golison decided that that fleet had enough confusion for the day and did not start a third race despite the velocity being above class minimums. With a better forecast for Day 2, the fleet is hopeful that the variance in the shifts will be smaller, along with the changes in velocity.

Once back ashore, the fleet assembled for a debrief led by fleet coach Tom Burnham who was able to work with several teams after racing discussing what took place during the day, sail shapes, and some good tips to keep in mind throughout the weekend. Joined with Burnham with a few of the better performers throughout the day who helped provide good nuggets of information heading into the second day of racing.

Day One Standings (Top 10 of 31; 2 races)
1.) Achille Onorato/Malcolm Page, Mascalzone Latino, Jr.; 4-1 = 5
2.) Mike Keefe/Kevin Jewett, Flannel; 6-3 = 9
3.) Brian Hill/Adam Burns, Atlas*; 9-2 = 11
4.) Richard Davies/Charlie McKee, Section 16; 8-6 = 14
5.) Cesar Gomes Neto/John Bowden; Portobello; 3-16 = 19
6.) Jason Michas/Mark Mendleblatt, Midnight Blue; 15-4 = 19
7.) Paul Reilly/Andy Burdick, Red Sky Sailing Team; 10-9 = 19
8.) Bo Boje Pedersen/Michael Hestbaek, UpUpUp; 2-18 = 20
9.) John Taylor/Bill Hardesty, Ninkasi; 16-5 = 21
10.) Marc Hollerbach/Jonathan McKee, Fu; 12-10 = 22

Complete resultsPhotos

Report by class media.

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