Melges 20: Liam Kilroy Wins Day, Takes Lead

Published on December 12th, 2015

Miami, FL (December 12, 2015) – Known as one of the best sailing venues in North America, Biscayne Bay delivered warm sunshine, a dazzling 12-16 knots of breeze out of the Northeast, and three awesome races for the Melges 20 fleet, ultimately setting up a fierce duel at the top between Liam Kilroy’s Wildman and Jim Wilson’s Oleander.

With many teams feeling burned from Day One, and the right side paying so big, a sizeable portion of the fleet b-lined it to the right side and once again found themselves in good positions at the top. Drew Freides on Pacific Yankee looked like they were shot out of a cannon as they crossed the fleet on starboard tack. Thanks to some heavy air training prior to the World Championship last October, Freides led wire to wire and took the win followed by John Kilroy’s Samba Pa Ti in second and Wilson in third.

Race Five (in a potential series of eight) gave the first glimpse of any sort of left shift working as the majority of the those who dug to the right side early got crushed, and those that were furthest left were able to sail a great angle on port tack with solid pressure. Bob Hughes’ Heartbreaker got left after a tough start to join the lead group, but it would be Liam Kilroy who took the bullet when the dust settled, followed by his dad in second and the blazing fast Brazilian Cesar Gomes Neto on Portobello finished third.

The final race of the day provided the most tricky conditions as the first beat had a few sizable shifts, but leading at the first mark again from the right side was long-time Melges 20 owner Daniel Thielman on Kuai. Sailing fast up and down, he did his best to hold off a charge from the younger Kilroy (who eventually took the win). Thielman stayed close coming second followed by John Kilroy in third.

Winning the day and moving into first overall with a 4-1-1 score card, Liam gave credit to his team on their strong performance, and of course, sage advice from his father. “The team did a great job today. We were able to execute our game plan and like my Dad always says, keep the boat moving fast,” commented Liam at the end of Day Two.

With a mixed forecast of rain and a strong breeze out of the Northeast, the tropical conditions the fleet experienced today may be gone, but the racing will still be full on with plenty of more tight racing to come.

Current Standings (Top 10 of 21; 6 races, 1 discard)
1.) Liam Kilroy, Wildman; [8]-2-6-4-1-1 = 14
2.) James Wilson, Oleander; 2-4-1-3-[9]-5 = 15
3.) Drew Freides, Pacific Yankee; 7-3-[10]-1-7-4 = 22
4.) John Kilroy, Samba Pa Ti; [15]-8-7-2-2-3 = 22
5.) Cesar Gomes Neto, Portobello; 3-[14]-9-5-3-6 = 26
6.) Jay Golison, Midlife Crisis; 1-1-2-13-12-[18] = 29
7.) Paul Reilly, Red Sky Sailing; 9-5-[11]-6-4-8 = 32
8.) Daniel Thielman, Kuai; 10-10-[13]-11-6-2 = 39
9.) Rob Wilber, Cinghiale; 6-9-4-10-[16]-10 = 39
10.) Jason Michas, Midnight Blue; 5-7-[14]-8-14-7 = 41

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Report by Sam Rodgers.

EVENT NO. 1, SERIES OPENER: December 11-13, 2015
EVENT NO. 2, MIAMI WINTER REGATTA: February 5-7, 2016

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