Countdown To Kick-Off — Audi Melges 20 Class Ushers In A Double-Header Racing Weekend, Miami & Monte Carlo
5 February 2015
Miami, FL / Monte Carlo, Monaco - This forthcoming weekend, on February 6-8, the International Audi Melges 20 Class Association (IAM20CA) shifts the 2015 racing season into high-gear with two events on each side of the Atlantic. These regattas will feature world-class competition, camaraderie and fun that only the Audi Melges 20 can provide through impeccable shoreside activities, parties, and beneficial after racing debriefs. This weekend also marks the commencement of the 2015 Audi Melges 20 World Ranking consisting of 15 events over three continents.
On the North American side, the Miami Winter Regatta (MWR) hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club (CGSC) boasts yet again a star-studded fleet filled with high-profile America’s Cup sailors, Volvo veterans, Olympic champions and hopefuls. Current Miami Winter Series (MWS) leader and winner of Event No. 1 Jason Michas, will be replaced by his father Alexis aboard Midnight Blue alongside of steady tactician Mark Mendelblatt and crew Trevor Moore. Long-time owner Marc Hollerbach on Fu is ranked second overall followed by Italy’s Achille Onorato on Mascalzone Latino, Jr. in third. But Onorato is not in attendance this time around, so competitors like North American Fleet President Richard Davies sailing Section 16, former World Champion John Taylor’s Ninkasi, and Mike Keefe’s Flannel all stand to gain big and move up in the MWS rankings.
The Corinthian division remains strong and heated with Brian Hill’s Atlas in charge after one event. Paul Currie’s Wild Deuces, John Brown’s Blind Squirrel, Richard Mallison’s Speedemon, fleet newcomers Russell Hopper on Endorphin, Julian Plante on Shimmer and Vincent Porter on Windhover (alongside of cousin Brian and brother Clifford) are officially in the chase for the overall 2015 MWS Corinthian Championship title.
SHAKEN NOT STIRRED
In Europe, the now famed Monaco Sportboat Winter Series carries on with Event No. 4 at the very prestigious Primo Cup - Credit Suisse Trophy 2015, hosted by Yacht Club de Monaco. Taking place at a venue known for James Bond, luxury, sportiness and glamour, and recently hosted the very exciting FIA World Rally Championship — the Rallye Monte Carlo 2015, the Audi Melges 20 will dazzle spectators for three days.
Carlo Perrone’s Atlantichina (who chose the Audi Melges 20 to continue his Team Atlantic dynasty), and second-place overall Melges 32 World Championship racer Edoardo Lupi aboard Torpyone will make their debuts this weekend in Monte Carlo. Lupi’s team will take part in the 2015 Audi-Tron Sailing Series with his son Lorenzo “Lollo’ Lupi at the helm in place of his father.
In addition to a large Russian fleet which features 2014 Russian Open Champion Valentin Zavadnikov on Team Synergy, home teams are very well represented including Corrado Agusta’s Customly and Matteo Marenghi Vaselli’s Lucifer.
From Miami to Monte Carlo, the rock show will be 'on the water' and the fun and glamour 'on the docks.'
"Seeing numbers like what we have right now in January is a sign of the great passion of all our our owners worldwide, and it confirms the great health of the Melges fleet too. Miami and Monte Carlo gives us what we want most — a grand introduction to what will be a record-breaking racing season for the Audi Melges 20," said Melges Europe President Federico Michetti. "And best of all, Melges Europe is perfectly poised to assist every owner at every level in order to make their racing experience the very best. Everyone should stay close as we will be bringing a very special and complete range of services with many innovations in 2015."
2014 European Ranking Champion Onorato will take the stage in Monte Carlo in an effort to defend and capture a second consecutive title. Other major players include past International Class President and Primo Cup defending champion Manfredi Vianini Tolomei on Maolca, and third-place overall European ranked Guido Miani’s Monaco Racing Fleet.
In Miami, all eyes will also be focused on current Audi Melges 20 World Ranking Champion Cesar Gomez Neto aboard Portobello and Wes Whitmyer’s Slingshot, Davies and Michael Kiss’ Bacio – all of which are seated in the North American Ranking top five.
Past the Miami Winter Regatta, teams will celebrate the grand finale of the Winter Series at the inaugural Melges Rocks Regatta on March 12-14. This stand alone Audi Melges 20 and Melges 24 event will allow teams to experience the best of Biscayne Bay without concerns of crowded race courses and chopped up water from other fleets, supported by world-class regatta management and race committee talents. And more importantly, the Grove will be groovin’ with beats pumping from the world famous Melges Rocks Party hosted on the final night of the event.
In conjunction with Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week, the 2015 U.S. National Championship supported by the Carolina Yacht Club (CYC) is April 17-19. Three days of challenging, street-ball style racing can be expected in one of the South’s most hospitable, hip and happening cities. These events serve as great primers for the World Championship hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club (SFYC) in San Francisco, California on September 30 - October 3.
With the conclusion of the Primo Cup, the European Fleet moves ever closer to the start of the 2015 Audi-Tron Sailing Series. The series will commence in April and travel to gorgeous Italian destinations with the European Championship taking place on September 3-5.
MEDIA AND RACING COVERAGE
As with other Audi Melges 20 events around the world, racing updates from both events will be posted online at the Official Audi Melges 20 Facebook Page. Be sure to also follow the fleet on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Tune in for the latest racing information, results, video interviews, and photos. Race reports, press releases and photos will also be available online each day post racing at melges20.com.