View Full Version : Coconut Groove: Miami Melges 20 Midwinters

PD Staff
12-12-2010, 07:11 PM
Russell Lucas, Shimmer PHOTO CREDIT: ©2010 JOY | International Audi Melges 20 Class Association

Miami, Fla. - (2010 Dec. 12) - 2010 Audi Melges 20 USA Sailing Series Champion Michael Kiss, from Holland, Mich. and crew comprised of Chris Rast and Jamie Kimball on Bacio took the 25-strong Miami Winter Series fleet by storm winning all three of Sunday's races and the event by a substantial 8 points. "It's great to be here in Coconut Grove. The breeze was much better today than yesterday. We just had a great time sailing the Audi Melges 20." said Kiss post racing. In second overall was California's Sid Gorham on Funner, and in third was Tony Tabb on Elevation Racing.

Michael Kiss, Bacio PHOTO CREDIT: ©2010 JOY | International Audi Melges 20 Class Association

Stunning conditions greeted the fleet with light and variable winds for a start scheduled one hour earlier than originally planned. There were no complaints as plentiful sunshine and breeze were on hand for race two. Kiss got off to a rough start, being called over at the one minute, clawing his way back to battle for first against Ryan DeVos on Volpe and Russell Lucas on Shimmer. Kiss rounded second behind DeVos at the final weathermark, hugging the right side for pressure pulling away from the fleet and taking the win. Lucas followed suit to take second place, DeVos settled for third.

With the breeze on the increase (13-15 knots), an aggressive start of the second race gave way to another stellar performance by Kiss being challenged by Mary Anne Ward on M&M Sailing, Gorham and Paul Reilly on Red Sky Sailing. Kiss won the finish, leaving Ward, Gorham, Reilly and Tabb to round out the top five slots.

Audi Melges 20 Fleet Action PHOTO CREDIT: ©2010 JOY | International Audi Melges 20 Class Association

The third and final race of the day sealed the deal for Kiss as a dynamic pin end start led to a huge port tack lead. Kiss commanded the race at the top mark with Marc Hollerbach on Fu in second and Tabb in third. The top tier held their positions through the gate, back upwind. For the final downwind run, Kiss blistered the course with Hollerbach and Tabb desperately trying to catch up.

Afterwards, teams piled into Miami's famous Shake-A-Leg for haul-out and an awards presentation to each of the winning competitors by Melges' Andy Burdick. Burdick thanked all the competitors who participated, recognized the incredibly organized efforts of event host Coconut Grove Sailing Club, as well as Bruce Golison and his phenomenal race committee team. He also thanked Joy Dunigan for her contributions made to the class thus far as International Administrator. Each took home a token of appreciation from the International Audi Melges 20 Class Association.

TOP TEN RESULTS (After 1 Race)
1.) Michael Kiss, Bacio; 9-1-1-1 = 12
2.) Sid Gorham, Funner; 8-7-3-2 = 20
3.) Tony Tabb, Elevation Racing; 4-6-5-5 = 20
4.) Marc Hollerbach, Fu; 5-4-9-4 = 22
5.) Russell Lucas, Shimmer; 6-2-6- 10 = 24
6.) Mary Anne Ward, M&M Racing; 2-11-2-11 = 26
7.) Tom Ritter, Tramp; 7-5-11-6 = 29
8.) Ryan DeVos, Volpe; 3-3-8-16 = 30
9.) Paul Reilly, Red Sky Sailing; 21-10-4-3 = 38
10.) John Arendshorst, Blink 20/20; 1-15-16-8 = 40

Full Results (http://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=414)

PD Staff
12-12-2010, 10:22 PM
Sam Rogers of http://42marine.com/ penned this epic on the weekends fun:

December 12, 2010

The final day of the Audi Melges 20 Miami #1 started out rough for the M and M team. While getting the boat prepped for the day, the keys were locked in our car with all our gear, water, gatorade and a few other essential items. Thankfully, we did get our mainsail out before the snafu, otherwise Mary Anne’s 3 hr car ride home to Cocoa Beach would have been noisy with a busted out tailgate window in her SUV. After grabbing some drinks from the Red Sky team, and being left with no bibs, spray tops or additional gear, we set out for the final day hoping the big breeze that was forecast wouldn’t have too much bite to it, and that we could build on our 2nd place position from Day 1.

The first race was got underway after 1 general recall, and just like locking our keys in the car, our first start made me think our time might be better spent suntanning with the Euros and MTV wannabees on South Beach, instead of being on the racecourse for what seemed to be a doomed day. On the starting line, there is a very fine line between pulling the trigger at the right time, and being a second late and getting rolled. Being the first race of the day and surrounded by some fast teams, I was a too eager to have our team trim in the sails and go. We did a good job of getting going before the boats to windward and leeward, the only problem was we were early. And as we tried to stay below the line, we fouled 2-3 boats to leeward, than we were called over early on top of it. I felt like opening the front hatch, crawling below and getting into the fetal position. After a few apologies to some angry competitors, we spun, re-rounded the committee boat and made our way upwind with the fleet well ahead.

The breeze was trying to fill, but was hovering in the 10-13 range. Our boat was set up well, and by the second upwind, we got close to the middle of the fleet and into striking distance for the downwind. Mary Anne and Coye Harrett, who was filling in for Mary Anne’s husband, did a great job of getting the boat moving downwind and we managed to hook into a few shifts and take a respectable 11th place after a horrifying start. A good, hard fought comeback for the team. We were also comforted that some of the top teams in the standings were over early or had bad races, so we were still looking ok for the regatta.

With a 15 minute break to grab lunch and get organized, the breeze was actively building and by the next start, we had 15-20 from the southwest and planing conditions. Like a pendulum, we swung hard by being over early in the first race, and once the gun went on the 2nd start, we were late to round up with the boats around us and found ourselves barely hanging onto a thin lane on starboard. With a few boats clearing out on our hip, we tacked to port, ducked 1-2 boats, than blasted off to the right side of the course in clear air. It wasn’t pretty, but we were off and moving. Shortly after the tack, we must have done a good job of mixing in good rig and sail settings because USA 43 came to life and we were noticeably faster than the boats around us. After legging it out to the right corner, playing a few shifts back to the mark, we rounded in first, hoisted our kite, and blasted off to the gates on full plane with the weight in the back of the bus.

Just on our tails was Michael Kiss and his team on Bacio. They did a good job of sailing fast downwind and getting inside of us for the gybe, and eventually getting around us at the leeward mark. The next upwind, we tried to position ourselves to lead the fleet back to the left side of the course, the only problem was the left did not come back like we had hoped and our 2nd place turned into a 3rd. With another nice set, we pulled off a quick gybe and split from the 2 boats ahead of us. This would turn out to be a nice gain as we reclaimed 2nd place and some distance on the eventual race winners, Bacio.

The final race of the day saw the breeze increase further with puffs gusting into the low 20s, and with the top 7 boats seperated by a few pts, we were looking forward to some fun, tight racing, and knew if we could keep it together on the downwind legs, we would have a very good chance to finish in the top 6 or 7 in race, and have a good overall finish. As the breeze picked up and clocked further left, the line was very port favored, and once again, we tacked shortly after the gun, took a few transoms and found a clean lane headed to the right side. We struggled to find our speed like we had in the previous race, but we were still going well and established ourselves in the front group. The team on Bacio got launched on the after the start and were gone, but from 2nd to 10th, it was very close and as we approached on port tack into the top mark, we were faced with dillema of ducking a train of boats on the starboard tack layline, or trying to stick a nice leebow without fouling or hitting the mark.

Im not sure at what point in my life I will realize that sometimes playing things safe is actually better, and more fun in the long run than going with the risky call and having it not work out…but it certainly was today. Thinking we could stick a tight leebow and get a little help from current which was not moving as fast as we would discover, once we got on our close hauled angle, we were pointing at the mark and clearly did not have enough speed to try and shoot it. We hit the mark, went to leeward of it, did our 360 and watched the boats that we were duking it out with for the regatta blast off downwind.

After a tough downwind and wiping out during a gybe, we still managed to hang tough and were pecking away at boats in the middle of the fleet. The great thing about racing Melges 20s in big breeze is the race is never over. Just like the previous race, we set on the final downwind, gybed immediately into nice pressure, and smoked away from the boats ahead of us. As we got close to layline, we pushed just a bit farther to get into more pressure and once it hit, we wound up about 10 degrees and it was looking good for big gains on 8-10 boats to the right of us. After a great gybe from Mary Anne, we hit our new angle and while it is always nice to gybe into a header, we were now aimed about 15-20 degrees below the committee boat in a huge shift and the gains we had just made might have been all for naught as we were well overstood.

We held the kite as long as possible living on a very slippery slope, and once we hit a good tight reaching angle, we did a nice whether douse on the right side of the boat, trimmed the sails, and jib reached to the finish. 6-8 other boats were blasting in with their spinnakers and just as we were about to get passed, we snuck around the pin end of the finish line for a very hard fought 11th place, and a 6th place overall with a scoreline of 2, 11, 2, 11. On the sail in, we felt pretty good about our overall performance and we were encouraged that what kept us out of the top 3 overall was not a mystery; we made some very blatant mistakes that cost us some big points. For myself, I need to be better about putting us into some safer spots and make the realization that while we have a chance to pick off 1-2 boats, we can also lose 5-6. Risk v reward. I was very happy with how hard we fought for every point when the chips were down, and we have made some huge improvements on several big items over the past few months.

Michael Kiss and his team showed some serious dominance by winning all three races today and really smoking the fleet in the last race to take the first series title. What a great first event to start off the series for the Melges 20 fleet. Ripping breeze, it doesn’t get much better. Photos can be found at melges.com as well as the Melges 20 Facebook page.

And for those who want proof of the theory that everything comes in cycles…our day started with locking our keys in the car, and it has ended with my flight back to Minny getting cancelled. Having some great sailboat racing in the middle of the cycle certainly makes the downswings more tolerable. Thanks to Mary Anne and Bill Ward for another great weekend of racing, and some seriously fun and really good dinners. Thanks to Coye Harrett for filling in at the last minute and being an excellent Junior Bear Cub…those are big shoes to fill!

Dyslexic Dog
12-13-2010, 08:32 AM
Way to go Michael, Our YC is honored. He seems to have another gear in the sails everytime he sails those things. His kids are doing all right also.