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Audi Melges 20 World Championship heads to Key Largo

by Joy Dunigan on 11 Dec 2013
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Audi Melges 20 World Championship 2013 commences on Wednesday, December 11 and concludes Saturday, December 14. The event, hosted by the Ocean Reef Club in full coordination with the International Audi Melges 20 Class Association, Coconut Grove Sailing Club and Melges USA, is set and ready to welcome a record-breaking 52 teams to the starting line.

The high-quality fleet features top talent representing nine nations - Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Monaco and the United States. In addition to claiming ownership to some of the very best amatuer drivers in the world, the Audi Melges 20 Class is proud to welcome all walks of the sailing world. Scattered throughout the crew list are multiple national, world, continental, and match-racing champions, and abound with Olympians. The America's Cup, past and present are professed with the presence of Team Oracle's tactician/grinder John Kostecki, Alinghi tactician Brad Butterworth and former Artemis Racing Skipper Terry Hutchinson.

In addition to the overall racing, the World Championship will also feature a Corinthian Division (all-amatuer, ISAF Group 1, bow-to-stern team). Six strong and highly diversified teams have qualified to race for the first ever Corinthian World Championship title. John Brown's Blind Squirrel and Marcus Eagan's Cajun Underwriting represent the USA, while Frank McLaughin's CAN-254 and Paul Currie's Wild Deuces proudly wave the Canadian flag. Although sailing under the USA symbol, Denmark's Bo Boje Pederson on UpUpUp and Germany's Olli Luebker on Miss Betty will also battle for the trophy.

Luebker only just decided a couple of days ago (after some persistent persuasion from Shimmer skipper Russ Lucas) to join the fleet in Key Largo. Considering that Luebker was stationed in Minnesota and up to his ears in cold, ice and snow, he took the plunge and wound himself on the entry list. Once onsite, Luebker elaborated that the boat was originally chartered by Elizabeth Harned and upon learning that her mother had taken ill, backed out of entering the regatta. Just recently 'Miss Betty' passed away and Olli now sails the championship in her honor with longtime scowboys Will Graves and Rick Kotovic.

Monday and Tuesday were long days of practice, sail measurement and boat inspection. Clearly teams are poised for action as opening ceremonies took place in the evening at Ocean Reef's Buccaneer Island with an unbelieveable dinner spread, dessert and open bar.

2013 Audi Melges 20 World Championship racing starts at 11.00 on Wednesday, December 11.

As with many other Audi Melges 20 events around the world, racing updates will be posted online at the Official Audi Melges 20 Facebook Page. Tune in for the latest racing information, results, video interviews, and photos. Race reports, press releases and photos will be available online each day post racing at melges20.com.

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