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6 February 2015

Miami, FL - If sailing were to have an All-Star game, there is a good chance the majority of the sailors selected could be found racing Audi Melges 20s this weekend at the 2015 Miami Winter Regatta hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club (GCSC). The talent is deep in both the Corinthian and overall standings, and longtime fleet veteran Paul Reilly sailing Red Sky Sailing Team summed up why he enjoys racing Melges 20s after day one of racing in Miami, "Just being in the same water with these sailors and in this fleet is fun. Fortunately our team was really clicking today and we minimized the unforced errors. It was an awesome first day of racing."

Perusing forecasts, it looked as though the fleet may have stayed at the dock with several reports of breeze in the mid-20s, with gusts higher. Holding steadfast to have a productive day of racing, PRO Bruce Golison set the fleet out on time for a noon start. Once to the racing area, the fleet was welcomed with 18-20 kts just slightly right of North, and like thoroughbreds ready for the gate to open, thirty-seven Audi Melges 20s quickly assembled for the first start.

Harnessing the pride of the Peshmerga, Drew Wierda won the pin end in the first race and used blazing fast speed on the upwind to build a 5-boat length lead at the top mark, impressive in this tough fleet. Showing off their hot start at the first winter event was no fluke, Brian Hill and his All-Corinthian Atlas was not far behind the Weirda and managed to hang onto a sixth place. Trailing behind and giving a friendly "hello" to Hill was fleet newcomer Julian Plante and his Corinthian team on Shimmer, previewing what should be a good brawl for the Corinthian title. Battling around the track, John Kilroy on Samba Pa Ti with new tactician Bill Hardesty eventually claimed the race win.

After a tough finish to the day, Hill was still positive from a fun day of racing, "Our first race was great, the second was a little tougher, and the third one was just not good. This fleet is tough, and with it being so shifty towards the end of the day, we struggled to stay in phase and stay in front. Being forced to tack off lifts is generally not a good thing and we are looking to iron it out tomorrow."

Reclaiming their blinding 2014 form and taking a page from Ricky Bobby and Talledega Nights, Cesar Gomes Neto shook off a tough 22th place in the first race, won the 2nd race convincingly, and as Ricky would say, "if you are not first, you're last."

Taking the bullet in the last race and rounding out a consistent day, Alessandro Rombelli's STIG passed Michael Kiss' Bacio just short of the finish line in Race Three to steal the victory. They remain only one point back in the overall standings behind Kiss who leads the overall event with an impressively consistent day. Rounding out the top three was Richard Davies on Section 16.

Plante sits atop the Corinthian standings and 10th place overall, but with veteran helm Hill breathing down his neck in 12th and the all Porter family team lurking in the mist, ready to strike, the Corinthian title is fully up for grabs.

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 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.

TOP TEN OVERALL RESULTS (Preliminary, After 3 Races)
1.) Michael Kiss/Mike Buckley, Bacio; 7-3-2 = 12
2.) Alessandro Rombelli/Terry Hutchinson, STIG; 4-8-1 = 13
3.) Richard Davies/Charlie McKee, Section 16; 3-6-6 = 15
4.) John Kilroy/Bill Hardesty, Samba Pa Ti; 1-2-13 = 16
5.) Liam Kilroy/Steve Hunt, Wildman; 8-4-4 = 16
6.) Paul Reilly/Andy Burdick, Red Sky; 5-10-7= 22
7.) Alexis Michas/Mark Mendelblatt, Midnight Blue; 10-14-3 = 27
8.) Drew Weirda/Scott Nixon, Peshmerga; 2-17-9 = 28
9.) Tony Tabb/Steve Sisson, YOLO; 11-12-10 = 33
10.) Julian Plante/Justin Quigg, Shimmer; 9-20-12 = 43

TOP THREE CORINTHIAN RESULTS (Preliminary, After 3 Races)
1.) Julian Plante, Shimmer; 41 pts.
2.) Brian Hill, Atlas; 43 pts.
3.) Vincent Porter, Windhover; 64 pts.

View Full Results
Official Yachtscoring Event Website
Miami Winter Series Ranking (After 1 Event, 3 Races)

View Full Photo Gallery - JOY

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