Graduating With Honors
Monday, May 23, 2016 10:10 PM
Featuring a solid mix of veteran and new teams prepping for the 2016 NYYC Resolute Cup, the first ever Melges 20 Training Regatta took place this past weekend in Newport, Rhode Island. Thirteen races were completed over two days with next to near perfect conditions. Every team made improvements throughout the weekend resulting in very tight, action packed racing.
With plenty of collaboration amongst the fleet on rig tune, boat handling and other go fast tips while on the water, the seven races completed on the first day left all the teams returning to the dock satisfied (and exhausted).
The veteran team of Rob Wilber's Cinghiale strung together six bullets by sailing fast and staying hooked up in the pressure off Goat Island. Jim Wilson on Oleander and Daniel Thielman's Kuai used their experience to stay at the top, while the New Bedford Yacht Club, Nantucket Yacht Club, and Shelter Island Yacht Club teams made nice improvements throughout the day and posted decent finishes.
In typical Melges 20 fashion, a well attended debrief was hosted by Devin McGranahan's Yo Momma team that recapped what worked well on that day. While the fleet munched on some delicious chicken wings, bacon wrapped scallops and authentic clam chowder, a solid discussion about how to sail Melges 20s well in the lighter conditions took place. It focused on sail trim, boat handling technique and tuning with the caveat that getting clean starts and staying in the pressure was still king.
Headed into Day Two, the forecast called for a brisk Northeast breeze in the 18-20 knot range, however once on the racecourse, under Goat Island the fleet was presented with a 7-12 knot northerly breeze allowing the lessons learned from the previous day be put to good use.
Returning from a short sabbatical, Frenchman Erwan Le Gall and his Le Rescator team posted a solid finish to start the day, and even brought some fresh croissants to the dock each morning. The move of the day however belonged to Bill Lynn and his Eastern Yacht Club team as they port tacked the fleet in Race Ten. They were unable to convert their dominating start into a race win, but they can rest easy knowing they owned the fleet on that start.
Guest helming the Cinghiale on Day Two, Newport local Tim Pitts jumped on the helm and was able to maintain the lead and secure the training regatta win, staying ahead of Wilson and Thielman. The New Bedford Yacht Club sailed solid on the final day as well, locking in fourth place to finish as the top Resolute Cup Team.
The fleet gathered for a closing debrief and awards ceremony at Sail Newport, celebrating a truly great weekend of Melges 20 sailing and a successful first Training Regatta. The Sail Newport Regatta is up next on July 8-10, 2016 and will feature even more veteran and new teams prepping for the Resolute Cup.
Special thanks to Nick Ewenson for serving as the PRO and fleet coach, and to Jim Wilson for lending his Ribcraft to serve as the fleet RC boat.
TOP THREE RESULTS (FINAL - After 13 races)
1. Rob Wilber, Cinghiale; 2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-4-1-4-2-1= 21 pts.
2. James Wilson, Oleander; 1-4-4-6-7-4-3-4-1-2-1-4-11= 52 pts.
3. New Bedford Yacht Club, Moby; 8-3-3-2-3-5-10-2-2-6-2-5-2= 53 pts.