Prancing Through A Mine Field

8 November 2014

Miami, FL - Like a stable of racing horses reduced to a trot, the 15-strong Melges 32 Gold Cup fleet completed two races under light, taxing and tricky conditions that saw teams looking like champs one moment, and duds the next. Several teaser breezes attempted to fill the waters just off South Beach throughout the morning, but after a lengthy postponement, a general recall, and yet another postponement, the fleet finally went racing just after one o’clock.

Despite the light, marginal conditions, PRO Anderson Reggio used all the tools at his disposal to complete two fair races and make the most of a bleak forecast for the remainder for the weekend. "Talking to all of the teams we had a good idea of the average pressure which was enough to start a race. We were also looking for consistent pressure, and from there I typically make a gut call on the fairness of racing. If a forecast similar to this weekend presents itself for the Worlds, we would most likely start a race in these type of conditions, and certainly finish a race," commented Reggio.

Recovering from a tough start and finding a clean lane to the right side a third of the way up the first beat, Class President Jason Carroll and his Argo Team showed stellar patience and confidence sending it to the layline early, finding pressure and plowing over the fleet to round first. Meanwhile on the opposite side of the course, the highly popular Robertissima skippered by guest helm Pierre Casiraghi with wily tactician Vasco Vascotto started at the pin, sailed a starboard lift all the way to the left corner, finding just enough of a left hand angle, then tacked once to get them to the mark behind Carroll. Richard Goransson’s Inga From Sweden would make a late charge to finish third in the first race.

With an early winter sun breaking for the horizon over Miami, it did not take long for Reggio to make the announcement that the warning signal for Race Two was looming. Just after the start, a sizeable right shift descended on the course, rewarding those who started clean at the boat, and not giving any love to those stranded on the left side looking for any type of bailout. Carroll and team once again found themselves strong out on the right along with a hard charging Casiraghi.

Melges 32 veteran and perennial race winner Keisuke Suzuki on Swing did a nice job staying in the hunt on the first beat of the second race, then picked their way around the course to stay in the best pressure and eventually take the bullet. Racing with Suzuki and the Swing team for the first time was tactician Bill Hardesty. He did his best to keep the boat moving and avoid pitfalls. "Staying in the pressure was key. We used the slight cloud cover to find indicators and it helped us to stay ahead of the trend," said Hardesty. With regards to sailing on a new team with several different nationalities for the first time, Hardesty summed it up, "We have a youthful team with a lot of energy. Despite the language barrier we do a good job of anticipating each others next move, and Keisuke is very focused which is helpful."

The forecast for Day Two of the Gold Cup is not much better, and unless the looming low pressure system expected for Sunday moves faster than expected, the fleet can expect more of the same light-air, tricky conditions.

After racing, Jason Carroll and his Argo Team hosted a dock party complete with cold beer, rum drinks and a bountiful spread of apps which allowed the fleet to share their victories and head scratching moments from the day. Day Two from the Gold Cup gets underway with the first warning scheduled for 11am.

The first warning signal is at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 8 mark day two of competition. Racing will continue through and conclude on Sunday, November 9. Be in the complete know and follow the fun on the official class Facebook and Instagram channels.

TOP FIVE RESULTS (After Two Races)
1.) Pierre Casiraghi/Vasco Vascotto, Robertissima; 2-3 = 5
2.) Keisuke Suzuki/Bill Hardesty, Swing; 5-1 = 6
3.) Jason Carroll/Cameron Appleton, Argo; 1-8 = 9
4.) Dieter Schoen/Markus Wieser, MOMO; 8-5 = 13
5.) Richard Goransson/Morgan Larson, Inga From Sweden; 3-11 = 14
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