Posts Tagged ‘Audi Melges 20’
Along with Quantum pros Scott Nixon and John Bowden, Virginia’s Travis Weisleder and his Lucky Dog/Gill Racing team are showing their name ain’t a fluke, crushing the fleet at the first-ever Audi Melges 20 World Championship in Key Largo, FL by some 30 points over second place (and first-time Melges 20 racer) Jason Michas. It’s not like Travis is some kind of hack; the Collegiate All-American (Charleston) and long-time Melges 24 racer has won plenty in his day, but he’s never been close to winning a World Championship, and at the moment, with the only non-double digit scoreline in the 52-boat fleet, it’s his to lose.
With one of the most insanely pro’d up fleets ever assembled at a non-Olympic event, you’d think the amateurs would love to show up to play, and with probably a dozen past America’s Cuppers and more Olympic and Volvo sailors than you can shake a stick at, you’d really expect the sailing publications to send their ‘ace’ reporters down. And with an inexpensive boat to move and store, you’d think the Corinthians would come down en masse to pit themselves against the best of the best. And like any Worlds in almost any class (especially a high-profile one like the M20), you’d expect good video coverage, a website, and some top pro photographers shooting the event.
But none of that happened. There’s really no ‘B’ fleet at all like you’d see at almost any other Worlds. In fact there are only 6 “Corinthian” teams with no pros at all – that’s just 11% of the fleet (though one of them – Marcus Eagan’s Cajun Underwriting - is showing that a great amateur driver with great amateur crew can beat the crap out of most average amateur drivers with rock star crew). There’s no video, no website, and no ace pro photographers. In fact, other than Clean and Mer showing up for a day of coverage (check out some mark rounding videos from yesterday on our Facebook Page) there is not a single reporter from any sailing publication covering the regatta; they are at home posting press releases and low-res photo galleries.
There’s a very simple explanation for this bizarre state of affairs; the 2013 Worlds venue is one of the silliest places ever to hold a World Championship. It’s at the ultra-exclusive Ocean Reef Club, a place where folks don’t usually go without an Amex Black Card, an AARP membership, and a golf bag. There are literally no low-cost options for housing or food within 30 minutes’ drive – not a single one – and the resort, one of the world’s biggest master-planned communities, has only one hotel, and you can buy a new set of sails for the cost of a week’s stay. Just a handful of the teams are staying offsite on the cheap, and it is quite literally an hour’s commute to get back to the boat each morning. Add the $1800 entry fee to the food, lodging, and transport costs, and it becomes clear why there are just 52 boats competing, and you see why a couple of pro’s day rates is just a drop in the bucket – hence the 11% amateur fleet.
The Melges 24 fleet in the US has never really recovered from hosting their 2005 Worlds at the same resort; the 99 boat-starting line is still the biggest non-European Worlds in that class’s history. Our advice to other classes? Take this one off your list. They don’t want you there, and most of your members don’t want to go.
But it does accomplish something interesting for us spectators; we get to see a fleet of the best sailors ever assembled for a sport boat regatta. And we get to watch an old friend and one of the first Anarchists on the cusp of winning his first-ever Worlds. You can sort-of follow along too; the penultimate day of racing starts now, and you can follow along on the Audi Melges 20 Facebook Page.
Meredith Block photo.
December 13th, 2013 by admin
The first-ever Melges 20 Worlds gets underway in just 3 months down in the Florida Keys. 36 are registered, 50+ are likely, with Samba Pa Ti, Mascalzone Junior, Bacio, and Stig the favorites. Check out this little promo video and tell us again: Will you be there? If so, register!
September 4th, 2013 by admin
With the C-Class stuff, some great scow films this year, and the upcoming E-Scow Nationals, Penalty Box Productions’ Petey Crawford is on a roll lately, and this 5-minute ‘story of the M20 Nationals’ is kickass from beginning to end. It gets you charged up, laughing, and makes you feel as though you were there; something precious few of the dozens of sailing reels we review weekly do. Check it out, and congrats again to the Audi Melges 20 Masters (and overall US) Champion John Kilroy! And if you think your club members’ kid with the nice HD camcorder and a pirated version of Final Cut is going to do your next national-level event proud, think again…and then give Petey a shout.
August 28th, 2013 by admin
California’s John Kilroy is a good example of where sailing is going in the USA, even for the guys that can afford to play on any level. From Maxis in the 90s and TP52s in the 2000s, Kilroy moved into the Melges 32 (and won the 33-boat Worlds last year), and last year, joined the Melges 20 Class. Like pretty much everyone who gets a taste, Kilroy has become a freak for one-design, and the smaller the boat, the bigger the victory for each player.
As the top of the M20 Class gets rolling on schedule to peak at the Class’s first-ever Worlds in December in the Florida Keys, Kilroy, along with tactician Jeremy “Troll” Wilmot and trimmer Jeff Reynolds, came from an overnight fourth-place to snake a come-from-behind victory from a deep field, winning the 2013 US National Championship in Macatawa Bay, MI. It was the first time in the four year-history of the Class that a Michigander didn’t win the US Nationals; Eric Wynsma (Superfly) in 2009 and Class standout Michael Kiss (Bacio) every year since, who both sail out of the gorgeous spot on the picturesque Eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Kilroy also grabbed the ‘Masters’ trophy for best over-60 skipper, Toronto badass Brian Hill took the Corinthian title, while 21-year old Morgan Kiss sailed daddy’s old boat to a 13th place and top female skipper and under-25 skipper.
Petey Crawford will be dropping a sexy highlight reel late tonight for your viewing pleasure; in the meantime, check out more Meredith Block photos like the one above at the Facebook Page or the Event site. All the racing action – well, most anyway – was reported in old-school OTWA style by our own Mr. Clean on the Class FB page as well, and the next few months should feature plenty of action there for the hottest amateur owner/driver 20 footer on the market – so stay tuned.
- Tags: Audi Melges 20, Jeff Reynolds, Jeremy WIlmot, John Kilroy, Macatawa Bay, Melges 20, Samba Pa Ti
August 27th, 2013 by admin