Melges 20: A Healthy Addiction
Thursday, February 2, 2017 5:14 PM
Craving warm sun, steady sea-breeze and solid competition, Melges 20 sailors have once again descended on Biscayne Bay for the second stop on the 2016/17 Miami Winter Series (MWS) to get their sailing fix. With several strong veteran teams returning to the fleet and kicking off the inaugural Melges 20 World League, the action on the race course will be strong, matched only by the fun, relaxed vibe at Coconut Grove Sailing Club.
Melges 20 teams participating this weekend will not only be competing for the event title and Winter Series standings, they will also be fighting for crucial World League points in the North American Division. Serving as the first stop in a six-event, season-long Series, the Melges 20 World League will determine which Division is the strongest, and which team with reign supreme.
Winning the first event of the current MWS and the 2016 World Ranking, Drew Freides and his Pacific Yankee team will be marked men while sporting a new bow number '001' signifying their season standings victory. Challenging Freides will be a strong pack of veteran teams including the father/son coalition of Jason and Alexis Michas on Midnight Sun and Midnight Blue, and the Kilroy's - John and Liam on Samba Pa Ti and Wildman.
In addition, 2016 North American Ranking Champion Daniel Thielman on Kuai from California, Canada's Rhonda Joyce on Grinning Streak, Drew Weirda's Merga, Jim Wilson at the helm of Oleander, Wes Whitmyer racing SlingSHOT, Paul Reilly's Red Sky Sailing Team and a fierce Igor Rytov on Russian Bogatyrs representing Russia is guaranteed to add to heat to the mix.
Joining the Melges 20 Class for the first time is longtime Grand Prix sailor Bob Moran and his Bobsled 2.0 team. The Bobsledders will have a steep learning curve, but with plenty of opportunities to get up to speed with a welcoming fleet and daily debriefs, it won't be a surprise if they find themselves at the front of the fleet throughout the regatta.
Another fleet newcomer that the Melges 20 Class is thrilled to welcome is Timothy Pitts sailing Cruzan Rhode from Newport, RI.
In contrast to the blustery conditions seen in December, the forecast for Event No. 2, the Miami Winter Regatta is a glamour with a carbon copy each day of sunshine, 80 degrees and 8-13 kts of breeze.
Stay tuned to the Melges 20 Facebook Page for live coverage and colorful moments from beautiful Miami. Racing begins on Friday, Feb 3rd and continues thru Sunday, Feb 5th.