Ft. Lauderdale – Apart from the psychotic wind field on Friday that required careful navigation in order to successfully come out on top, nothing could have better prepared Melges 32 sailors for competition on Day Two at the 2016 Gold Cup hosted by Lauderdale Yacht Club (LYC). The second day of racing action in Fort Lauderdale, FL was spectacular with an additional three races being added to the scoreboard.
That said, three races resulted in a big shakedown. Dick DeVos on Volpe leads by a single point, with reigning World Champion Alessandro Rombelli on Stig in second. After an altercation in Race Five with third overall Ben Schwartz on Pisces, Richard Goransson’s Inga From Sweden received a 14/DSQ pushing him out of the lead position to now sit fourth overall. Rick DeVos on Delta completes the top five.
The biggest story of the day however was the high-infiltration of youth sailors, courtesy of the Lauderdale Yacht Club Sailing Foundation (LYCSF). The LYCSF made it possible for every Melges 32 to carry a junior sailor onboard, sharing the experience and thrill of grand-prix sailing and learning, with and against the best sailors in the world. At the end of the day, Denver Rozzo and Michael Moss took home top trophies, for best youth efforts at the Melges 32 Gold Cup Regatta.
The first race of the day, Race Three in the series, started under an ever-fluctuating breeze, sunshine and calm seas with Benjamin Schwartz on Pisces, Chris Wientjes on Stormvogel and Jason Carroll on Argo pulling the trigger just little too soon to earn an OCS each. In contrast, DeVos and Rombelli got smooth, clean starts heading left for best pressure. The breeze built to a nice 12-13 knots for the first mark rounding with DeVos in charge, Goransson in second and Andrea LaCorte on Vitamina Amerikana in third. Corinthian Grant Hood on Quest did well to round fourth, Rombelli in fifth.
The challenging, shifting breeze afforded teams like Rombelli the opportunity to advance. On the final run to the finish, Rombelli simply outpaced DeVos getting the win. DeVos finished well in second, Schwartz recovered well to finish third.
Race Four was one of the toughest races the fleet has sailed in a long time, but for tactician Mike Buckley alongside of Schwartz, the Pisces team sailed the race course well and with great confidence. The toughest beat for the fleet was by far the second to last, when visible patches void of breeze littered the race course. These holes plagued the fleet upwind and down. “We nailed it,” said George Peet, headsail trimmer aboard Pisces. “I remember being last, then we were first, then we were last. We did not know how well we did until we tacked onto the layline. Then we lost the lead again downwind, and then we were ahead again. What was key, and what Mike did really well was keep us in the breeze.”
Schwartz took his second bullet of the event. International Class President Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio on G-Spot had a phenomenal race to place second. Goransson stayed strong and consistent to finish third.
The five-leg, final race of the day didn’t get any easier. The breeze completely died at the windward mark for Germany’s Christian Schwoerer and Veit Hemmeter on La Pericolosa to round first, then Carroll, Rick DeVos, Ed Tillinghast on Dark n’Stormy and Serena di Lapigio respectively. A puff came through taking the breeze speed from five to ten in a matter of seconds, pushing Rombelli, Morgan Kiss on Team Hydra and Goransson eventually around the mark. All things changed downwind as shifts and puffs shuffled the fleet with Serena di Lapigio gaining six spots to move into the lead. Dick DeVos advanced eleven positions downwind to round second at the gate. DeVos continued to gain big taking charge at the final weather mark, then extended for the win. Serena di Lapigio was second, Rombelli in third, Goransson was fourth, and LaCorte had a nice race to claim fifth.
In the Corinthian corner, a heated battle between Canada’s Hood and Kiss continues. Hood and his team, which includes tactician Rossi Milev defended their position as top Corinthians for another day. They managed to keep ahead by two points of Kiss to remain in the lead of the amatuer division.
The final day of racing wraps up tomorrow, Sunday, February 14. The warning has been moved forward to 10.00 in hopes of completing three more races. If you think things got a little mixed up today, almost guaranteed things will shuffle again tomorrow. Race Six takes place and when that happens, each boat will discard their worst score. Typically, this can turn the house upside down, but with the points so close anything can happen.
An awards ceremony will immediately follow racing at Bahia Mar.
Top five results
1. Dick DeVos/Lorenzo Bressani, Volpe 5-7-2-5-1 = 20
2. Alessandro Rombelli/Manuel Weiller, STIG; 8-5-1-4-3 = 21
3. Benjamin Schwartz/Mike Buckley, Pisces; 9-1-3-1-8 = 22
4. Richard Goransson/Vasco Vascotto, Inga From Sweden; 1-3-4-3-14/DSQ = 25
5. Rick DeVos/Jonathan McKee, Delta; 2-2-7-9-6 = 26