Gettin’ Wilder - Melges 20s In Miami
6 February 2016
Miami, FL - The blustery first day of the 2016 Miami Winter Regatta was replaced with sunshine and light air conditions on Day Two, prompting a continued intense battle between overnight leader and winner of Miami Winter Series Event No. 1, Liam Kilroy on Wildman and his father, Melges 20 Class reigning World Champion John Kilroy on Samba Pa Ti.
Although it meant an AP being displayed at 11am, Melges 20 sailors gladly took a few hours of warmth and relaxation to recover from the really fun, big breeze action of Day One. Just as teams began to get antsy and start daydreaming about an afternoon poolside, a nice 8-10 knots of breeze filled from the East. PRO Blake Middleton wasted no time in delivering two additional races bringing the total to five completed.
Once out on the race course, sailors had tuning sessions cut short by an abrupt warning signal that left a few teams scrambling, but with a general recall teams were able to collect themselves and get a clean start. Wes Whitmyer on Slingshot and his squad started near the pin, made it 90% to the left side and sailed clean to the windward mark to round first, holding on to take a well-deserved wire-to-wire win.
At the Melges 20 post-race social, Wes shared his secrets of success. "We had a good start, held onto our lane and legged out to the corner to lead at the first mark," said Whitmyer. "It's scary when the fleet compresses bringing breeze down the course, but there is nothing you can do. You just have to get around the gates before anyone else."
The young Liam Kilroy remained strong to finish second. Another class veteran Daniel Thielman on Kuai had a banner race to place third. John Kilroy came fourth, followed by the Golison’s on Midlife Crisis in fifth.
The second and final race of the day got underway with little hesitation and again, it looked like a pin-half start and the ability to sail straight was the key to success. Shining brightest was Monaco’s Matteo Marenghi Vaselli on Raya with a phenomenal start about a third-of-the-way up the starting line from the pin, sailed fast to the corner and led at the first mark. Both Kilroy’s were in hot pursuit with a pack of fast Melges 20 teams in tow. Marenghi Vaselli fought off a few attacks from the right side of the course and held on for a hard earned win. Young Liam grabbed another second place finish putting him into the overall, overnight lead while his dad John Kilroy came third. The two sit first and second separated by only three points.
Post-racing, Melges 20 sailors gathered at Coconut Grove Sailing Club (CGSC) for a jovial social with teams sharing highs and lows of the day, discussing what worked and what didn’t.
With another mini-front forecasted to move through the area during the evening hours, Melges 20 sailors expect to awaken to a brisk Northwest breeze in the morning. But for now, they are more focused on one last fun night in the Grove and another great day of racing on Biscayne Bay.
Leave it to a light air day to help shuffle the fleet in the results department. MVP of the day goes to Whitmyer as his steady crew of Max Fraser and Jonny ‘Rockstar’ Goldsberry found the speed and the power to move up an impressive seven spots to sit third overall.
Other teams that felt the effects of great progress include former International Class President Rob Wilber on Cinghiale going from eighth to fifth, Thielman and company (Kevin Jewitt and Justin Hood) moved up three slots to fourth, and James Wilson on Oleander improved dramatically going from tenth to sixth.
Marenghi Vaselli walked away with a satisfying day. His bullet in Race Five enabled him to break into the top ten of this very tough field of competitors.
THE LAST DAY
With more racing scheduled for Sunday, the final day of competition, Race Six will for sure, shake things up again. With the completion of the sixth race, each team will discard their worst score.
TOP TEN RESULTS (Preliminary After Five Races)
1.) Liam Kilroy, Wildman; 2-2-3-2-2 = 11
2.) John Kilroy, Samba Pa Ti; 5-1-1-4-3 = 14
3.) Wes Whitmyer Jr.; Slingshot; 14-9-6-1-5 = 35
4.) Daniel Thielman, Kuai; 3-15-9-3-8 = 38
5.) Rob Wilber, Cinghiale; 7-4-17-9-4 = 41
6.) James Wilson, Oleander; 17/SCP-8-5-6-6 = 42
7.) Paul Reilly, Red Sky Sailing Team: 8-5-2-14-14 = 43
8.) Drew Freides, Pacific Yankee; 1-6-9/SCP-15-13 = 44
9.) Matteo Marenghi Vaselli, Raya; 15-7-12-12-1 = 47
10.) Julian Plante, Character 2.0; 4-3-1-10-16 = 49
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