High Stakes in South Florida at the 2016 Melges 20 Miami Winter Series
3 March 2016
Miami, FL - The storyline for the final Melges 20 Miami Winter Series (MWS) event hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club (CGSC) is simple; both the regatta and overall series podium finishes are at stake. Two lucky teams (Overall and Corinthian Champions) will find themselves hoisting some serious crystal and washing off champagne come Sunday.
The current standings of the 2015/16 Miami Winter Series are undeniable. With the points spread being so tight - one wrong turn or one missed shift could spell disaster - you’ll be a hero, or you’ll get zero. The winners most likely will be determined on the last leg of the last race.
Featuring the deepest, largest and most diverse fleet of all three MWS events, the Melges Rocks Regatta looks to usher in typical Miami conditions allowing for three great days of racing.
The North American fleet is thrilled to welcome 2015 World Ranking Champion Dario Levi and his Fremito D’ Arja team from Italy. No stranger to Miami, Dario is looking to rub shoulders with some stiff competition on Biscayne Bay, while taking some good lessons back to Europe. Another international team joining the fleet is Naoki Hirakawa and his Swift Magic Melges 20 from Japan.
Looking to be the first Melges 20 team ever to win all three MWS events, young Liam Kilroy on Wildman will need to be on his game to take the third event title. With two events complete, Liam holds a tiny two-point lead over his father, reigning World Champion John Kilroy on Samba Pa Ti, and a slightly bigger lead over Jim Wilson’s spectacular Oleander team. Considering the depth of the fleet, a moderate-sized lead can vanish with a bad start, tack or running out of karma with the wind gods.
Fourth and fifth places overall are a toss-up. California’s Drew Freides on Pacific Yankee has a little bit of breathing room in fourth while long-time, Melges 20 veteran owner Daniel Thielman on Kuai sits fifth. Nothing is impossible though. A hard-charging Paul Reilly on Red Sky from Cedar Lake, Wisconsin and former International Class President Rob Wilber on Cinghiale from Branford, Connecticut is within striking distance of making the top five.
With two different Corinthian winners thus far, the third event will be a battle between John Brown’s Blind Squirrel, Paul Currie’s Wild Deuces, Russell Hopper’s Crazy Horse, Lance Smotherman’s Details and Justin Quigg’s Character 2.0. Any of these hot teams could claim the Melges Rocks Corinthian Championship title, but it’s the overall Corinthian MWS that contains the real heated competition. Both Brown and Currie know the sweet taste of success, therefore the battle on the water will be intense.
TAME, YET PROMISING FORECAST
Despite an unusually cooler winter in Miami, warm spring weather has arrived and while the breeze forecast suggests light air, a solid three days of racing on Biscayne Bay is planned. When the easterly’s arrive, there truly is no better arena for Melges 20 racing.