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wall of pain

46 boats on the line spelled death for anyone caught behind the wall of sail at the start, and also spelled another wildly successful Audi Melges 20 Sailing Series in Miami, with our old friend Marc Hollerbach helming his way to the win for the first time in a long time aboard FU.  Hollerbach was a powerful force on his own helm in the Midwest Melges 24 fleet for years, moving to the less physically demanding M20 as soon as it came out.  But the Detroit native hasn’t won a big one since he joined the fleet; not until now, and without the benefit of his usual crew, which often includes his 3 match racing sons. Nope – this time it was Jonathan McKee calling the shots and Ben “Frodo” Allen on the front, and Marc takes the win from one of the biggest M20 fleets ever assembled, by just a point.

In fact just 3 points separated the top 5 boats last weekend, and there ain’t no doubt that this little boat has become one of the biggest Grand Prix classes anywhere.  Evidence?  Jeff Ecklund won a Melges 24 World Championship and dominated the Melges 32 Class for the first couple of years in that class aboard his Star.  Ecklund rocked up to Miami last weekend with the glammest, America’s Cuppiest, rock-star crew ever put on an M20 – Ed Baird on tactics, and Ross Halcrow on the front.   And even with that daily check to write, he didn’t even make it into the teens. Now that is some serious competition!

Meanwhile, did you know the Melges 20 recently became an ISAF international class?  That didn’t take long, and the first Worlds hits the exclusive Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo later this year.  Full results here.  Meredith Block photo.



February 11th, 2013

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