Liam Kilroy Dominates Melges 20 Class
Published on February 7th, 2016
Miami, FL (February 7, 2016) – An overnight weather system packing 20-30 knots of westerly winds arrived onto Biscayne Bay providing the Melges 20 fleet at the Miami Winter Series (MWS), Event No. 2 regatta with one final, full-on race that ultimately shook up the standings and determined the final podium line-up.
While 13-year-old Liam Kilroy and dad John hold the top two positions locked up, third place was very much up for grabs. It was going to be a toss up between six teams and the Corinthian title also needed to be decided.
The breeze was testing the upper limits of the class wind speed guidelines, but PRO Blake Middleton and his legion of volunteers from Coconut Grove Sailing Club set a square course and the tightly packed fleet of Melges 20s charged upwind on the 1.2 mile beat.
As is the case with most wind directions in Biscayne Bay, the left side typically pays and it paid big for Jim Wilson sailing with his daughters Hope and Molly on Oleander winning the pin to own the left corner. With a healthy lead around the first lap, Wilson was eventually ground down by overall event winner Liam Kilroy on WildMan. He and his team that included Steve Hunt, Stephanie Roble and Erik Shampain, snagged an early left shift out of the leeward gates and stayed in phase to take the bullet, securing the event win.
With Liam in first and his father John Kilroy on Samba Pa Ti finishing second overall, Wilson earned the performance of the weekend as he charged up the scoreboard to finish in third. Class veteran Daniel Thielman on Kuai finished fourth while a hard charging Drew Freides on Pacific Yankee took fifth after passing six boats on the final run.
The steady hand of Philadelphian John Brown on Blind Squirrel and his team of Kyle Rogachenko and George Demand sailed a consistent event to win the title of 2016 Melges 20 Corinthian Miami Winter Regatta Champion.
Sailing in his very first Melges 20 regatta ever with a team of young, aspiring sailboat racers from the Lake Geneva, WI, fourteen-year old Harry Melges IV kept the all-amateur division tight with a nice seventh place in Race Four. Melges finished up the Winter Regatta as second Corinthian. Canada’s Paul Currie on Wild Deuces completed the podium.
After winning the first two MWS events, Liam Kilroy holds the overall lead followed closely by John Kilroy who has finished second both times. In third is Jim Wilson with a pack of Class veterans aimed to round out the top five. In just over four weeks, the third and final MWS event concludes on March 4-6.
Final Results (Top 10 of 24; 6 races, 1 discard)
1. WildMan, Liam Kilroy , USA – 2 -2 - -2 -2 -1 ; 9
2. Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy , USA –  -1 -1 -4 -3 -5 ; 14
3. Oleander, James Wilson , USA –  -8 -5 -6 -6 -3 ; 28
4. Kuai, Daniel Thielman , USA – 3 - -9 -3 -8 -7 ; 30
5. Pacific Yankee, Drew Freides , USA – 1 -6 -9 - -13 -2 ; 31
6. Cinghiale, Rob Wilber , USA – 7 -4 - -9 -4 -8 ; 32
7. Slingshot, Wes Whitmyer Jr , USA – 14 -9 -6 -1 -5 - ; 35
8. Red Sky Sailing Team, Paul Reilly , USA – 8 -5 -2 - -14 -6 ; 35
9. Character 2.0, Justin Quigg , CAN – 4 -3 - -10 -16 -9 ; 42
10. Raya, Matteo Marenghi Vaselli , MON –  -7 -12 -12 -1 -12 ; 44
Report by Sam Rogers.