Destination Paradise

2 December 2014

Miami, FL - Like birds of migration when the thermometer drops, Audi Melges 20 sailors leave the frozen tundra and begin their annual winter pilgrimage to the sparkling waters of Biscayne Bay, Miami. In its sixth winter series based out of Coconut Grove Yacht Club (CGSC), the class looks to build on experiences from previous years to ensure the racing is world class, and that all owners and sailors have a memorable experience.

With many fleet veterans returning as they have since the very first winter series in 2009/10, there are a few new faces as well. In his first winter series, young owner Drew Wierda on Peshmerga is swapping snow for palm trees and is ready to race in Miami, "I have enjoyed racing the Audi Melges 20 at the 2013 Worlds and 2014 Nationals, but this is my first complete winter series. With the easy logistics, being based out of CGSC and racing against so many great teams and sailors, we can't wait to get racing."

To help close the gap between the front and back of the fleet, Audi Melges 20 leadership has secured multi-world champion, former AC sailor, and successful coach Tom Burnham to serve as the official fleet coach. Having competed in several Audi Melges 20 events, coach Burnham is excited about the opportunity, "As a lifelong sailor I have benefitted greatly from coaching. However not all teams have access to good coaching. The step that the Audi Melges 20 Class is making to provide coaching to the fleet can only improve the competition and camaraderie and foster an environment of learning. I am excited to be a part of that program by coaching the fleet for the December event in Miami."

Coach Burnham will be on the water on Thursday, 10 December, and during the first day of racing on Friday, 11 December to help provide real time feedback, as well as a comprehensive debrief to review themes of the day, and what did and didn't work. For those teams looking for a set of eyes off the boat, this is a great opportunity to learn in a competitive, yet learning environment. Every team is encouraged to partake in the coaching by being prepared for a full day on the water and ready with good questions during the debrief.

Stay tuned for more details, including a full practice agenda will be released prior to the first day of coaching on Thursday.

Being the first event in the winter series, the December event is a delicate balance between shaking the rust off, and having a hot start to ensure solid footing for the remainder of the winter. With multiple champions over the past five seasons, a quick look at the list of registrants reveals a deep field that could see almost any team ascending to the top and raising the overall trophy. It all starts next week.

As with other Audi Melges 20 events around the world, racing updates as they are available will be posted online at the Official Audi Melges 20 Facebook Page. Be sure to also follow the fleet on InstagramTwitter 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.

1.) Brian Henke, Affordable Mistress
2.) Brian Hill, Atlas
3.) Michael Kiss, Bacio
4.) Rhonda Joyce, Batteries Not Required
5.) John Brown, Blind Squirrel
6.) Rob Wilber, Cinghiale
7.) Tate Russack, Diesel
8.) Mike Keefe, Flannel
9.) Tom Kassberg, Flygfisk
10.) Marc Hollerbach, Fu
11.) Erwan Le Gall, Le Rescator
12.) Travis Weisleder, Lucky Dog/Gill Race Team
13.) Achille Onorato, Mascalzone Latino Jr.
14.) Jason Michas, Midnight Blue
15.) John Taylor, Ninkasi
16.) James Wilson, Oleander
17.) Drew Friedes, Pacific Yankee
18.) Drew Weirda, Peshmerga
19.) Cesar Gomes Neto, Portobello
20.) Paul Reilly, Red Sky
21.) Richard Davies, Section 16
22.) Russell Lucas, Shimmer
23.) Wes Whitmyer, Slingshot
24.) Bo Boje Pedersen, UpUpUp
25.) Paul Currie, Wild Deuces
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