Hunting For Rhyme or Reason

5 March 2016

Miami, FL - If Melges 20 sailors thought Day One at the Melges Rocks Regatta was mentally challenging, Day Two provided just as many difficult scenarios on the race course, while adding the physical element of handling the boats in 9-13 kts.

With the racecourse located further north than normal due to a crowded day of sailing on Biscayne Bay, Melges 20 sailors we challenged by an unpredictable breeze out of the Northeast that kept racing close all day and shuffled the overall leaderboard.

After being called OCS in the first race of the day, former International Melges 20 Class President Rob Wilber on Cinghiale rebounded, hooked into a nice left hander and stayed in phase to round just behind the leaders, then showed solid patience on the run and had a healthy lead at the bottom gate. Duking it out with Drew Freides on Pacific Yankee, Matteo Marenghi Vaselli on Raya, and John Kilroy on Samba Pa Ti on the final run, Wilber found himself on the outside of a shift coming into the finish line and settled for fourth. Friedes took the bullet, Kilroy cam second and Vaselli was third.

Despite port tack being favored and feeling like the lifted tack all day, those that could dig into the rightie at the top of the first beat often did well. Bruce Golison on Midlife Crisis and Jim Wilson on Oleander was the first to step into the rightie and lead around the first top mark. On the ensuing lap, Wilson found himself digging hard for a leftie which eventually proved itself to be more like fool’s gold. Again, staying tough on the right side was Freides, Liam Kilroy on Wildman and Golison who crossed the finish line in first, second and third place order.

After a brief moment to collect their wits, the Melges 20 fleet lined up for start of Race Five in the series with optimism that any sort of game plan was going to pay. With a minute to go to the start, it looked like a big left shift was making its way down the course. Dario Levi on Fremito D’Arja sniffed it out early and was the first boat to lead from the left side all day. Russ Lucas’ Shimmer did a nice job drafting off Levi to round in second followed by John Kilroy in third.

With tough marginal planing conditions downwind, John Kilroy did a great job staying hooked up at all times, navigated the shifts well on the second upwind and charged to the bullet on the final run. Lucas hung on for a well-deserved second place followed by Levi in third.

Winning the day and jumping up the leaderboard was Drew Friedes with a 1-1-5, impressive to say the least on a very tricky day of sailing. With the addition of a throw out coming into play after Race Six, the standings will get even tighter and if the first two days are any indication, the regatta is fully up for grabs, along with the season standings.

After another solid day overall, Canadian Justin Quigg on Character 2.0 grew his Corinthian lead and looks to put the hammer down on the final day. John Brown’s Blind Squirrel is still lurking in second place and longtime Melges 20 veteran Paul Currie on Wild Deuces is sitting firmly in third.

While the fleet was on the water doing battle, a 140 lb pig was smoking at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club courtesy of the original Cinghiale, Rob Wilber. The annual Melges Rocks Party celebrates the end of the Melges 20 racing season and after two tough days of racing, the fleet is primed for some solid partying.

1.) Liam Kilroy, Wildman; 7-2-7-2-4 = 22
2.) Drew Freides, Pacific Yankee; 15-5-1-1-5 = 27
3.) Dario Levi, Fremito D’Arja; 1-9-9-5-3 = 27
4.) James Wilson, Oleander; 9-6-12-4-8 = 33
5.) Matteo Marenghi Vaselli, Raya: 3-11-6-7-7 = 34
6.) John Kilroy, Samba Pa Ti; 14-15-2-8-1 = 40
7.) Russ Lucas, Shimmer; 2-13-10-16-2 = 43
8.) Paul Reilly, Red Sky Sailing Team; 6-4-14-11-13 = 48
9.) Rob Wilber, Cinghiale; 8-10-4-18-9 = 49
10.) Bruce Golison, Midlife Crisis; 20-8-8-3-16 = 55

1.) Justin Quigg, Character 2.0; 4-16-15-17-10 = 62
2.) John Brown, Blind Squirrel; 13-21-18-19-18 = 89
3.) Paul Currie, Wild Deuces; 17-17-22-22-23 = 101
4.) Lance Smotherman, Details; 24-24-24-24-24 = 120
5.) Russell Hopper, Crazy Horse; 22-23-25-25-26/DNF = 121
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