Harken Derm

Big Wind for Melges 20 Winter Series Opener

Published on December 11th, 2016

Miami, FL (December 11, 2016) – Drew Freides and his Pacific Yankee team of Morgan Reeser and Charlie Smythe survived big winds to win the opening event of the Melges 20 Miami Winter Series.

After an unscheduled ‘lay day’ yesterday due to high wind, the Melges 20 fleet was hoping Mother Nature would take it easy for the final day racing on Biscayne Bay. Despite a brisk Northeast breeze, PRO Blake Middleton sent the fleet out for three races hoping that the forecasts that showed the breeze subsiding would be accurate.

Once to the racing area, a squall ripped through from Key Biscayne and sent the breeze into the high 20s. As the fleet hunkered down, the wind velocity dropped and allowed racing to proceed after a brief AP.

Showing world class speed, Freides started near the leeward end of the line, crossed the fleet and didn’t look back winning the race and closing on the overall leaderboard.

“Today was definitely a challenge to keep the boat on her feet and charging through the waves upwind,” commented Freides. “Downwind was an absolute blast. Our major goal was to avoid stuffing the bow at high speed into the big waves.” Grabbing second was Daniel Thielman and his Kuai team, and finishing third was Drew Wierda on Merga.

With the breeze gusting to class maximums, PRO Blake Middleton left no room for speculation and started the second race of the day, Race Five in the Series without delay. With a steep chop and breeze in the 19-23 knot range, Freides once again showed they have another gear in the big breeze and took the bullet followed by Jim Wilson on Oleander and Igor Rytov on Russian Bogatyrs in second and third respectively.

The final race of the day saw the stiffest wind and with the overall win secured at the start of the race and the addition of the throwout, Freides gladly sailed to the hoist with an overall victory in hand and his new Melges 20 intact. Showing solid downwind speed all weekend, Wilson passed boats around the track and took the bullet to secure second overall. Thielman continued to sail well. With his discard in the final race, he happily claimed third overall.

In the 3-boat Corinthian standings, John Brown and his Blind Squirrel team took the title after finishing 9th overall, followed by Jay Golison on Midlife Crisis and Rhonda Joyce and her Canadian Grinning Streak team.

Final Results (6 races, 1 discard)
1. PACIFIC YANKEE, Drew Freides , USA – 3 -1 -3 -1 -1 -[18] ; 9
2. OLEANDER, James Wilson , USA – 1 -3 -2 -[11] -2 -1 ; 9
3. KUAI, Daniel Thielman , USA – 4 -2 -1 -2 -4 -[18] ; 13
4. MERGA, Drew Wierda , USA – [5] -4 -5 -3 -5 -2 ; 19
5. RED SKY SAILING TEAM, Paul Reilly , USA – 2 -[7] -4 -4 -6 -4 ; 20
6. RUSSIAN BOGATYRS, Igor Rytov , RUS – [12] -6 -6 -7 -3 -6 ; 28
7. CINGHIALE, Rob Wilber , USA – 7 -5 -[12] -5 -7 -5 ; 29
8. MIDNIGHT BLUE, Jason Michas , USA – 6 -[10] -8 -8 -10 -3 ; 35
9. BLIND SQUIRREL, John Brown , USA – [13] -12 -9 -6 -9 -8 ; 44
10. NIKA, Vladimir Prosikhin , MON – 10 -8 -10 -[14] -11 -10 ; 49
11. MIDLIFE CRISIS, Jay Golison , USA – [15] -14 -7 -9 -14 -7 ; 51
12. FRA MARTINA, Edoardo Pavesio , ITA – 8 -11 -11 -10 -[12] -11 ; 51
13. GRINNING STREAK, Rhonda Joyce , CAN – 12 -9 -13 -13 -[18] -18 ; 65
14. AFFORDABLE MISTRESS, Brian Henke , USA – 11 -13 -14 -16 -15 -[18] ; 69
15. UPUPUP, Bo Boje Pedersen , DEN – 14 -[18] -18 -12 -8 -18 ; 70
16. CRUZAN RHODE , Timothy Pitts , ISV – [18] -18 -18 -15 -13 -9 ; 73

Event detailsFinal resultsFacebook

Sanctioned events in North America include:
Miami Winter Series Event #1 – December 9-11, 2016
Miami Winter Series Event #2 – Febraury 3-5, 2017
Miami Winter Series Event #3 – March 3-5, 2017
Melges USA Training Regatta – Newport, RI – May 5-7, 2017 (non-sanctioned)
Sail Newport Regatta – Newport, RI – July 7-9, 2017
US Nationals – Newport, RI – August 17-19, 2017
World Championship – Newport, RI – October 2-7, 2017

Source: Melges 20

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