Melges 32 Winter Series 2014 - Miami, Fla. - When traveling to South Beach, there are a few certainties; warm gulf stream temps with steady sea breezes, a bustling American city with European flair, and miles of white sand beaches dotted with bronzed Spring Breakers who are often leaving the dance club at the same time as Melges 32 sailors who are just waking up and prepping their boats for a solid day on the water.
For the final edition of the Melges 32 Winter Series, the Miami Spring Challenge is set to kick off with 14 teams that are primed and ready to take on all the perks and challenges that racing off Miami Beach has to offer.
After a highly competitive, successful event in February, the teams racing in the Miami Spring Challenge are looking not only to sail hard and enjoy stellar racing conditions, but to start making preparations for the 2014 World Championships which will be held on these same waters in December. There is a familiarity with the water and weather conditions, lodging, restaurants and nightlife, and with a young and upcoming 'rockstar' PRO in Anderson Reggio committed to the entire 2014 season, the Melges 32 fleet will again have a well executed, professionally managed regatta experience the fleet is deserving of.
As for the famed South Beach Marina, there are not many places that are better to run a Grand Prix Regatta. With a short commute to the race course, crystal blue Caribbean Waters, and post sailing cold beverages at Montys only a few steps off the dock, the venue has all that the 32 fleet could ask for in one small area. It is not a coincidence that reigning World Champ and current class President Jason Carroll made it a priority to host the winter series here. 'For winter sailing in the US, there is not a better venue. Miami is easy to get to, family friendly, awesome food, and for those who like to race hard and experience a fun time off the water, South Beach has it all,' says Carroll.
Teams practicing thus far have been treated to solid conditions that have ranged from 8-14 kts, and shiftier conditions than would be expected for the steady Easterly direction which have kept tacticians guessing, and sailors on their toes for any change in the conditions. Several groups have paired off for speed testing and line-ups, and on Thursday afternoon, both the sailors and RC were able to get in some reps with two solid practice races. After sailing, all of the teams are located on 'B' dock of the Miami Beach Marina which makes for some productive interpretations and discussions on what took place on the water earlier that day.
With both the 2012 and 2013 World Champions in attendance, along with several other teams who are looking to claim their own World title later this year, the Miami Spring Challenge will be hard fought with racing beginning on Friday. The conditions are forecast to be tricky with cold water mixing with warm seasonal temps, and the breeze anything but predictable which will leave many world famous sailors scratching their heads and fighting for every point. The good news for every team is that the spirit is the 32 class is alive and well with each team taking on party hosting duties. In February, it was the Argo party at the Delano, and the Robertissima party at Montys. Right after racing on Friday, the Hedgehog 'Dark and Stormy' dock party should get everyone right minded regardless of their finishing place.
The Miami Spring Challenge is the hosted at Miami Beach Marina in Miami, Florida, supported by Coconut Grove Sailing Club and Melges USA.
Full entry list
1.) Jason Carroll-Cameron Appleton, Argo
2.) Edward Tillinghast-David Hughes, Dark N'Stormy
3.) Dalton DeVos-Jonathan McKee, Delta
4.) Deneen Demourkas-Francesco Bruni, Groovederci
5.) Alec Cutler-Richard Clarke, Hedgehog
6.) Richard Goransson-Morgan Larson, Helly Hansen Inga From Sweden
7.) Dieter Schoen-Mark Weiser, MOMO
8.) Tony Buckingham-John Kostecki, Ngoni
9.) Joe Woods-Chris Draper, Red
10.) Roberto Tomasini Grinover-Vasco Vascotto, Robertissima
11.) John Kilroy-Paul Goodison, Samba Pa Ti
12.) Chris Wientjes-Benz Faget, Stormvogel
13.) Keisuke Suzuki-Nicolai Sehested, Swing
14.) Ryan DeVos-Ed Baird, Volpe