by Joy Dunigan
The highly-anticipated season opener for the 2014 Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series is officially underway after a long day of stunning weather conditions, practice and registration, hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club and supported by Melges USA. All forty-five teams registered have 100% secured their place on the starting line, ready to go head-to-head for one of the class' most coveted titles - Miami Winter Series Champion.
2013 Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series Champion, Richard Davies
Reigning Series Champion, Richard Davies aboard Section 16 is back, power-packed with the very talented Charlie Mckee as tactician and Matt Pistay on bow. Davies has been the only one since the inception of the Series to successfully de-throne Michael Kiss on Bacio, who previously held the title a record-breaking three consecutive times.
Overall, the scope of the fleet runs the gamut when it comes to origin and talent. The entries span four countries - Canada, Italy and Great Britain, with the majority originating from the U.S.A. Seventeen states are represented from coast-to-coast, border to border.
The talent department is, needless to say - stacked to the roof. Assisting the Class' long list of much admired amatuer-owner drivers are the likes of Terry Hutchinson, Anthony Kotoun, Brad Boston, Jonathan McKee, Chris Rast, Scott Nixon, Lorenzo Bressani, Mark Mendleblatt, Jeremy Wilmot, Bill Hardesty, Brad Butterworth, Harry Melges, Paul Goodison, Andy Burdick and Tom Burnham are just to name a few.
So why all the excitement and intense preparation? In approximately one month, the International Audi Melges 20 Class Association (IAM20CA) will usher in its first ever World Championship, hosted by Ocean Reef Club where more than 50 teams will be in attendance. Miami Winter Series Event No. 1 will offer up the perfect preview as to who we can expect to come out on top.