Kid Power at Lauderdale Cup
Published on April 1st, 2016
Ft Lauderdale, FL (April 1, 2016) – There was more to today than just the spectacular, warm Florida conditions, the usual super intense competition and fun Melges 32 grand prix racing at the 2016 Melges 32 Blue Water Series (BWS) hosted by the Lauderdale Yacht Club (LYC) at Bahia Mar Marina.
From the commencement of the Blue Water Series, Project Sail – Team Hydra, a joint mentorship effort on the behalf of the Melges 32 teams Delta, Volpe and Argo, has brought excitement and a unique coming of age for a group of young aspiring sailors. Today, it came to fruition.
Helmed by Morgan Kiss and crewed by one of the most progressive, youth-based sailing teams ever assembled, Team Hydra won two out of three races. It was pretty obvious from the moment PRO Clyde Wright declared the first warning, Team Hydra was going to do well.
Fresh off the starting line, Kiss along with crew mates Ty Baird, Noah Blacker, Alex Brown, Henry Fernberger, Jensen McTighe, Lexi Petter and Alex Post maintained a relentless “can-do, will-do, don’t give up” attitude. And, it worked beautifully. Helping this impressive youth brigade learn every in and out of Melges 32 racing, coach Marty Kullman is the one and only professional sailor aboard, which also enables them to maintain their Corinthian status (according to BWS rules).
Graham Landy, another young pup in the world of sailing subbed for Jason Carroll at the helm of Argo today, and got the job done. Looking ahead to the final two days, Landy’s tenacity played to his best advantage leaving Carroll positioned nicely in first place overall ahead by one point, ultimately setting him up to potentially win the overall Blue Water Series ranking.
Kiss is seated second overall, and chased by Dick DeVos helming Volpe in third.
An on-time start gave way to three great races under a steady 10-13 knots of warm, southerly breeze that stirred up some heavy wave action and challenging conditions.
Race One got off to a clean start with Kiss taking charge early, just ahead of Rick DeVos on Delta and Landy on Argo. Chaos at the mark prompted Rick DeVos and Alessandro Rombelli’s STIG to perform penalty turns sending them to the latter, back-half of the fleet.
The racing remained very tight downwind with Kiss holding on for first through the gate, followed by Ed Tillinghast’s Dark n’Stormy, and Grant Hood on Quest in third. Back upwind and down for the final run, Kiss slowly but ever so surely, extended for the win. Dick DeVos on Volpe found some nice upwind speed to get into top mix to overtake and claim second, Landy remained confident to finish third. Tillinghast earned his best result so far this season finishing fourth. Rombelli recovered nicely to take fifth.
The final two races of the day could best be described as a one-sided race track. As teams hugged the right side shore-line, the spirited battle that stirred within was fierce.
Adding to the fun in Race Two, the breeze faded at the top mark but thanks to some sharp tactical expertise, and perseverance on Landy’s part, Carroll’s staunch Argo Team played it well to win the second heat ahead of Rombelli and Dick DeVos.
In Race Three, the breeze returned in full force generating a clean start and yet another, strong-willed performance on the behalf of Kiss and Team Hydra. On the first upwind beat it was a heated game of tack and duck between Kiss and Dick DeVos. Rick DeVos had a banner beat to round first, Kiss second and Landy in third.
Practically single-file downwind, Kiss made her move to take over the lead. Rick DeVos kept up to round second, Landy was third and Dick DeVos was fourth. Landy got in the fast lane and lead back upwind and extended. A tight rounding at the top had Landy in first and Kiss right on his transom. Downwind, Kiss found some speed, passing Landy for the win.
More youth power will be in play on Saturday, April 2. The final Take A Junior Sailing day, is made possible by the Lauderdale Yacht Club Sailing Foundation (LYCSF). As with the first two BWS events, each Melges 32 team will carry a youngster aboard (weather permitting).
With the final Blue Water Series event underway, the overall rankings become more and more finalized. With the completion of three races, the big battle continues between Jason Carroll on Argo holding steadfast in first, ahead of Dick DeVos on Volpe in second, and Dick’s son Rick on Delta in third. After a stunning first day performance, Corinthian-lady-helm Morgan Kiss on Team Hydra now sits fifth overall.
More racing is scheduled for Saturday. Three races are planned with an 1100 warning.
Day One Standings (Top 5 of 9, 3 races)
1.) Jason Carroll/Cameron Appleton, Argo; 3-1-2 = 6
2.) Morgan Kiss/Alex Post, Team Hydra; 1-5-1 = 7
3.) Dick DeVos/Mark Mendleblatt, Volpe; 2-3-3 = 8
4.) Ed Tillinghast/Chris Larson, Dark n’Stormy; 4-6-5 = 15
5.) Rick DeVos/Morgan Larson, Delta; 8-4-4 = 16
2015-16 Melges 32 Blue Water Series:
Event No. 1: U.S. National Championship – December 4-6, 2015
Event No. 2: Gold Cup – February 12-14, 2016
Event No. 3: Lauderdale Cup – April 1-3, 2016
Source: Melges 32 class