2010 Miami Grand Prix: Melges 32 Class Preview
1 March 2010
As published by Offshore Rules
With just a few days to the start of racing and with only a six-strong IRC fleet and just ten Farr 40’s registered, the scratch sheet at this year’s Miami Grand Prix is dominated by the twenty-three boat entry in the Melges 32 class.
Following on from their closely fought series in Key West a couple of months ago, most of the usual Melges 32 suspects will be on the startline this week. This event sees the return to US racing of the reigning Melges 32 world champions aboard Pieter Taselaar’s Bliksem, for the first time since they clinched the title in Porto Cervo last summer. The Bliksem crew raced together a few weeks ago in Europe in the highly erratic conditions at the Primo Cup in Monaco, where they were edged into second place. A closer look at their scoreline shows that after a shaky start, they went on to bullet the last three races. Certainly Taselaar’s boys will be eager to make a big impact on their return to the US regatta circuit by retaining the trophy they won here last year.
Second last year in Miami was John Kilroy’s Samba Pa Ti who come into this year’s event on the back of an impressive victory in Key West. Kilroy has pretty much the same team in place this week including tactician Stu Bannatyne and will be looking to repeat the consistency they demonstrated in Key West. Joe Woods and his British team aboard Red also go into this regatta as serious contenders for the title. Third here last year, they were runners up at the last two Melges 32 events, in Fort Lauderdale in December and Key West in January. Woods, who has once again called on the tactical smarts of British Laser Olympic gold medallist Paul Goodison, will be hoping for a strong start to the Miami regatta after having to climb the leaderboard in both the previous regattas.
The Miami Grand Prix sees yet another couple of new Melges 32 teams enter the fray with the arrival of John Porter’s Full Throttle programme as well as Italian Carlo Perrone’s Diciannove. Porter is a seasoned and highly successful Melges 24 campaigner and is no real stranger to the Melges 32 class, having dipped into the fleet periodically over the last few years. He has drafted in Jonathan McKee as tactician and we can expect this team to be up to speed from the off. Equally, Perrone and his Tornado Olympian tactician Lorenzo Bodini come from the Swan 45 class, where they have won the Italian championship for the last two years and are unlikely to take too long to get a feel for the Melges 32.
With the scene set for a classic Melges 32 regatta, the teams are beginning to arrive in Miami for a little practice time, before racing begins in earnest on Thursday. Offshore Rules will be in Miami, racing as part of Stuart Simpson’s British Team Barbarians crew and we will try to bring you regular updates as the regatta unfolds.