Miami, FL – Congratulations are in full order for Drew Freides and his Pacific Yankee team which consisted of tactician Morgan Reeser and bowman Charlie Smythe. This is their first ever, major Melges 20 regatta win in the Class.
As a final farewell to 2015/16 Melges 20 Miami Winter Series, Biscayne Bay provided a parting gift of near perfect sailing conditions with wind out of the north at 9-13 knots, sunny skies and 80 degree temps. Heading out the racecourse, teams did their best to shake off some dust after a well attended Melges Rocks Party and Cinghiale Pig Roast, hosted by the Coconut Grove Sailing Club.
After a clean start in the first race of the day (Race Six in the scheduled Series), Devin McGranahan sailing Yo Momma with his son Declan started a third of the way up from the pin, showed exceptional speed to the left corner, stepped into a nice leftie and led around the top mark in first. Regatta winner Freides, and Corinthian leader Justin Quigg on Character 2.0 charged hard in second and third. With plenty of shifts on the final lap, McGranahan was passed by Freides on the last gybe to grab first, and McGranahan finished second respectively. Quigg had a banner race came third.
Taking the bullet in Race Six, Freides now had a healthy lead going into the final race. A discard also went into effect, which meant he dropped a 15th scored in the Race One.
In facing a breeze that changed more than Donald Trump’s political views, the regatta was still important to Liam Kilroy on Wildman.
The MWS standings remained tight with Liam Kilroy, Freides, John Kilroy, Jim Wilson on Oleander, Paul Reilly on Red Sky, Wilber and Daniel Thielman on Kuai each desperate to solidify a top five position.
An initial general recall kicked off Race Seven. Once the fleet was off the line, Liam Kilroy was able to carve a path upwind on the first beat and lead around the top mark. Freides was hot on his tail bringing along a pack of top MWS contenders. On the final upwind leg, the breeze clocked hard right, allowing Dario Levi’s Fremito D’Arja, Wilson, Rhonda Joyce’s Grinning Streak and Russ Lucas’ Shimmer to move to the front of the fleet.
Wilson, Levi and Joyce all gybe set at the last mark and rewarded with huge down pressure carrying them almost the entire the final run on full plane. This enabled them to lock in final race finishes of 1, 2, and 3. With Liam safely behind on the final run, Freides caught the tail end of the new pressure to finish fourth and secure his first ever Melges 20 regatta win.
Sailing solid all weekend, the Quigg’s all-Canadian team that included Julian Plante and Nick Cleary, handily won the Melges Rocks Regatta Corinthian division, making it the third different team to win the title during the 2015/16 MWS.
In addition, Liam Kilroy received the award for Best Helm Under 21, Joyce accepted Top Female Helm and John Kilroy won Top Master (Over 60)
Breaking a string of regatta victories, Liam Kilroy finished second in the regatta to win the overall 2015/16 Miami Winter Series title. Aboard with Liam was his steady crew of tactician Steve Hunt, Erik Shampain and Stephanie Roble.
Reigning World Champion John Kilroy on Samba Pa Ti finished second overall. John sailed with his World Champion crew of Bill Hardesty and Jeff Reynolds.
With his spectacular win at Melges Rocks, Freides moved up to finish third overall in the MWS. Sailing strong all winter, Wilson grabbed fourth with crew members Jeremy Wilmot and Luke Lawrence. In what came down to a final gybe before the finish of the last race, Reilly with Andy Burdick and Joe Kutschenreuter edged out Wilber by one point, breaking a tie between the teams to take fifth. Wilber sailed with Sam Rogers and former Miami Winter Series crew winner Ben Allen.
Winning the 2015/16 Melges 20 Corinthian Miami Winter Series win was John Brown and his Blind Squirrel team which included George Demand and Kyle Rogachenko. Brown edged out Paul Currie on Wild Deuces in second, and Russell Hooper on Crazy Horse in third.