Kilroy Was Here (barely)
Published on March 13th, 2015
Miami, FL (March 13, 2015) – As if on cue, Biscayne Bay delivered practically perfect conditions for the second day of racing at the Melges Rocks Regatta. A nice easterly 13-18 knots of breeze and warm sunny temperatures allowed for some unreal Audi Melges 20 racing. While difficult at times with sizeable shifts and short chop that tested every driver, most teams arrived at the dock with weary grins, yet satisfied with the return of a hard earned day of sailboat racing.
Newly minted PRO Blake Middleton and his corps of volunteers from Coconut Grove Sailing Club (CGSC) have done an amazing job of running quality, efficient races. After a last minute adjustment to the pin prior to Race Four (in a scheduled series of eight), the fleet was able to start on time. Showing pin-end prowess, Michael Kiss on Bacio (who dominated the Miami Winter Regatta last February) sailed off the leeward end of the line, then found the left corner resulting in an absolutely massive lead.
Barely able to read the numbers on Bacio, reigning World Champion John Kilroy’s Samba Pa Ti continued his solid effort with a second place finish followed by current Winter Series leader Marc Hollerbach on Fu. It was a banner day for Corinthian John Brown and his Blind Squirrel Audi Melges 20 as he and his crew comprised of George and Will Demand ‘found a nut” in the first race of the day to take fourth. Paul Reilly’s Red Sky Sailing also had a spectacular race finishing strong in fifth.
With a few small rain clouds clearing the area, the sun emerged and so did a fresh line of breeze that touched into the 20s, leaving teams hastily making rig adjustments to accommodate. Like staking a piece of land to be claimed, Alessandro Rombelli’s STIG owned the pin showing patience, dialing into the left corner for a nice lead extending to win. Cesar Gomes Neto on Portobello recovered from a harsh twenty-first place finish in the first race of the day to place second in Race Five, Kilroy rounded out the top three. Richard Davies’ Section 16 got back in the groove to finish fourth. Drew Freides on Pacific Yankee had a spectacular race finishing fifth, followed by Erwan Le Gall on Le Rescator in sixth. This was by far one of Le Gall’s best finishes ever while racing in Miami.
Between races, teams prepared for round three and yet another grueling race. Although 2013 World Champion John Taylor’s Ninkasi assumed an early lead, Kilroy bailed out of the left side just in the nick of time, hanging with the top group then launching from the right side, catching up with the leaders to take the win. Rombelli showed he too had solid passing skills placing second while Taylor was shuffled back to finish third. Wes Whitmyer’s Slingshot was fourth and Jim Wilson’s Oleander placed fifth.
Brian Hill on Atlas had impressive speed and implemented sure-handed tactics to move him up a spot in the overall standings and maintain the Corinthian Division lead. Due to Brown’s fourth place performance in Race Four, he is now in second Corinthian overall, followed by one of two female helms in the fleet – Elizabeth Harned on Windhover in third (Chieko Kokumai and her son Hajime are sailing with Melges Japan Representative Kan Yamada on Atalante).
DOWN TO THE WIRE
With only two races left to complete, Hollerbach is not about to easily let go of his overall 2015 Miami Winter Series lead. Ahead by two points before the start of Friday’s races, Hollerbach had every reason to be on edge as some of the fleet’s toughest drivers were knocking on his back door – Kiss, Gomes Neto, Davies, Wilson, Michas, Whitmyer, Taylor and Lucas, each ready to seize the highly-coveted title and trophy. Hollerbach cashed in a daily 3-9-9 scorecard and increased his lead by an additional two points. Kiss continues to hold strong in second while Gomes Neto remains third.
In the Corinthian division, the battle has started to heat up between second, third and fourth place rankings. Hill’s Atlas remains atop the leaderboard, however Brown, Harned and Paul Currie’s Wild Deuces continue to dogfight over a one point difference – a point that could potentially place them on the podium at the end of the Series or not.
Day Two Standings (Top 10 of 33; 6 Races, 1 Discard)
1.) John Kilroy/Bill Hardesty, Samba Pa Ti; 1--1-2-3-1 = 8
2.) Cesar Gomes Neto/John Bowden, Portobello; 3-1-6--2-7 = 19
3.) Wes Whitmyer Jr./Max Fraser, Slingshot; 2-3-7-12--4 = 28
4.) Alessandro Rombelli/Terry Hutchinson, STIG; -8-5-13-1-2 = 29
5.) Michael Kiss/Mike Buckley, Bacio; 5-10-4-1-11-[29/ZFP] = 31
6.) Liam Kilroy/Steve Hunt, Wildman; 11-2--7-7-6 = 33
7.) Marc Hollerbach/Jonathan McKee, Fu; 13-9-11-3-9-9 = 41
8.) Brian Hill/John Goller, Atlas; 8-13-15-9--8 = 53
9.) Jim Wilson/Jeremy Wilmot, Oleander; -5-14-15-19-5 = 58
10.) Drew Weirda/Scott Nixon, Peshmerga; 12-12-8-14--12 = 58