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Posts Tagged ‘Melges 32’

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Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 11.43.30 AM

After two years of fleetbuilding, Caribbean Melges 32 President and former Mr. Clean crewmate Jaime Torres checks in from San Juan.  Meanwhile, the 20 year-old Prince of Monaco is leading the M32 Gold Cup fleet after 2 races in Miami Beach.  Joy Dunigan photo.

In 2012, there were a handful of Melges 32s scattered all over the Caribbean, many of them either fading away under the hot sun or barely being used in their local waters; the one exception being Mark Plaxton’s Intac. Plaxton had been racing his boat very successfully against handicap competition in the northern Caribbean while getting his one-design fix stateside, but he was looking for more, and he and his team were instrumental in convincing the International Melges 32 Class Association to bring their roadshow to the Caribbean in the spring of 2013. This 3-event tour opened the eyes of local sailors to the phenomenal experience of racing this kind of ultra-high performance one design racer in the world-beating conditions at our wonderful Caribbean venues.

I was the first to jump at the chance, picking up what would become Smile and Wave and a largely Puerto Rican team to help represent the Caribbean at the 9-boat-strong events.  When Puerto Rico’s Luis Juarbe saw the kind of fun we were having he jumped in, though his new (to him) Soca ran into shipping issues and only made the last event.  I kept pushing for other owners to join the fun, and usually after a few hours aboard Smile and Wave, they were in.

For the 2014 season, Ian Hope Ross from St. Maarten revived the aging Jurakan, renaming her Kick ‘em Jenny, while extremely successful  handicap skipper Sergio Sagramoso joined the fun with Lazy Dog.  And just recently, Midwest racer Tom Elsen bought Catapult and will be making his Caribbean debut soon.

As it stands today, we have 5 boats racing with a 6th boat in the Dominican Republic making plans to make the move East for the Spring 2015 events.  In Trinidad there’s a 7th boat looking for an owner…

To focus all this energy, we’re getting the local Melges 32 fleet organized. We built a simple website, came up with some proposed Class Rule changes to reflect the specified needs of Caribbean owners, and we’ve planned a ranked series using some of the awesome events that call the Caribbean their home.  Our first warmup event for the 2015 season was last week’s Discover the Caribbean Regatta [which Torres won -ed] at Ponce’s gorgeous Yacht and Fishing Club in PR, and in a couple of weeks, we’re off to the St. Croix International Regatta.

2015 should be a big year for the local Melges 32 Caribbean fleet as all the well established northern Caribbean events have pledged full support for Melges 32 One Design racing, including dedicated courses and events tailored to the needs and desires of the owners.  If you are a Melges 32 owner looking to put your boat and crew through the paces in some of the world’s most popular and beautiful race events, you have plenty of time bring your boat to these amazing events and the Melges 32 Caribbean group will be there to assist you in any way you need.  We’re dedicated to providing very inclusive, high-quality racing for the Melges 32 fleet, and we can help you learn how to do it at a surprisingly low cost in the best sailing spots in the world.

Check out our site here and Facebook page here, or email me with questions here.

Jaime Torres, Smile and Wave

President, Caribbean Melges 32 Association

 

November 8th, 2014 by admin

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big pimpin’

PH-JOY-2014MSC_116We’d like to welcome our friends at Melges back for another year of pimpin’, and the timing couldn’t be better; there’s all sorts of exciting fall/winter action going on across the Melges fleets, and we’re going to help highlight just how fun and accessible it can be.  Here’s some news from the M32 fleet in Florida, and watch for a feature from Jaime Torres soon on the M32 Caribbean Fleet.  For everything Melges, check their site.

With a fleet and sailors diverse as the nightlife on Ocean Avenue, the Melges 32 Gold Cup kicks off in just two weeks, featuring 18 ultra-high performance Melges 32 teams from 9 different countries.

This “Florida Classic” will decide not only the new Gold Cup titleholder; it will serve as the final notice for teams looking to challenge for the ultimate goal: the Melges 32 World Title. Louisiana skipper Chris Wientjes (Stormvogel, Metairie, LA) can’t wait for it all to begin. “The Melges 32 Class always brings great talent to its events, but there’s no doubt these two will bring some of the best sailors in the world to Miami,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to testing ourselves in both the Gold Cup and Worlds.”

It may have started as a low-key tune-up regatta in the Melges 32’s fledgling days in 2006, but the Gold Cup has emerged as the longest-standing Melges 32 regatta on the annual calendar. Regularly featuring more than 20 teams – from the highest-level international two-boat programs to more modest but still ultra-competitive local and Caribbean teams – winning the Gold Cup has historically required great boat speed and teamwork along with a strong understanding of tricky autumn breezes and meandering Gulf Stream current and waves.

2012 World Championship runner-Up Alec Cutler (Hedgehog, Bermuda) recognizes the balancing act between sailing hard at the Gold Cup without tipping his hand for the upcoming Worlds a month later. “Gold Cup may be a Worlds tune up, but it is also a coveted trophy for our team,” said Cutler. “Our goal is to hold off from some of the big decisions until after Gold Cup while racing hard, having a good time, and learning the venue.”

Read on.

 

October 27th, 2014 by admin

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Brontolo

The Race Committee can’t call you over the line if they can’t see you.  At least that’s what distinctive Italian Melges 32 owner Filippo Pacinotti seems to be going for with this all-new naval camouflage look for an all-new Melges 32.  Check out the new Brontolo (Italian for ‘Grumpy’ and a reference to its owners shared features with the Snow White character) and thanks to Marco Perazzo for the photo.  The new boat even comes with a new iPhone cover; check this shit out!

April 16th, 2014 by admin

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The Melges 32 2014 sailing season has arrived, and the class seems to have begun its rebound from the record low turnout this winter and a cancelled Gold Cup last fall. Video stud and reigning world champ mastman Petey Crawford checks in:

With head ARGOnaut Jason Carroll taking the reigns as Class President it’s a strong bet that the fleet will again find the golden fleece. Miami is host to the spring event in a few short weeks time as well as hosting the Gold Cup and the World Championship later in the year, and 3 more Melges 32 sanctioned regattas take place this summer in Newport including the US National Championship. With new blood in the fleet and some familiar faces from years past, it appears that the 32 class isn’t ready to lay down just yet. Still feeling the effects of my  car vs. bike episode in Key West earlier this year, I sat out the Miami Winter regatta and produced the first of what will be a series of videos targeted to keep stoking the flames. Stay tuned.

 

March 18th, 2014 by admin

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penalties

Melges 32 World Champ and videographer extraordinaire Petey Crawford checks in with this report from Fort Lauderdale and the entry-challenged US Melges 32 fleet.  It’s good to see that there’s still some humor and fun in a class that’s been decimated by escalating costs and poor class management.

Fort Lauderdale’s Melges 32 Gold Cup was the annual regatta that really launched the M32 Class.  Run for years out of a parking lot at the Bahia Mar with a decidedly relaxed and amateur attitude  and sailed in classic South Florida wave and trade winds, it was widely regarded as one of the annual calendar’s most reliably good events.  And this year, it was cancelled for lack of interest.  Add that to the cancelled National Championship in Harbor Springs, and you have to scratch your head; what is going on with one of the world’s few remaining Grand Prix fleets?  Was the NorthAm fleet just taking the year off after a pricy, tough 2012 Newport Worlds?  Or is something else going on?

Whatever the reason, I have a ‘hard time’ understanding why we weren’t racing in classic Fort Lauderdale conditions.  Wait…I was actually racing in those conditions, but only because  2013 M32 World Champ Jason Carroll had earlier decided that, no matter what the class was doing, Team ARGO would be there to represent.

 

So, despite the Gold Cup cancellation, The 2013 Team ARGO “Dust Bowl” went off with A-Argo, B-Argo (pronounced BAR-GO), and the boys and girls of the Devos family’s Delta.  We had our usual crew with the sole addition of Charlie Ogletree, who replaced a busy Cam Appleton (busy winning his 3rd straight RC-44 season championship).  The Bargo was another story, a motley bunch of past Argonauts: Chad Corning, Danny Pletsch, Julie Howe, Brian Fox, Clay Bischoff, John Baxter, and Patrick Mauro. With additional help from Sam “Rasheed” Rogers, and Charlie Smythe, this bunch came to play with a big attitude and a chip on their shoulders.  DELTA was its normal top notch crew, but with guest skipper and rock star amateur Brian Hill gladly stepping onto this top-notch program to drive the bus.  Rounding out the group was Anderson Reggio as PRO, Matt Knowles as the Match Racing Umpire, and El Grande, Dave and Buzz who served as the OTW support crew.

As would befit such an informal bunch, the format was simple: 2 days of racing, mixed up between match racing round robins and fleet racing, and all I have to say about the first day is ‘dust bowl indeed’.  Even the 10 AM dock out was a bit aggressive considering our combined ‘dustiness’, and much of the crew of both ARGO boats were, let’s say, wounded.  As we entered the box for the first match against BAR-GO, it became clear that Jason hadn’t match raced much.  Charlie looked at Jase and said “perhaps we should have had this chat yesterday, or at least on the sail out.”  A wave of laughter went across the deck as we picked up our first penalty for an early entry.  BAR-GO didn’t need any more than that to smoke us in the first race, getting a big enough lead to add a drinking penalty to ARGO’s score by completing their own spin before the finish.  Ouch.  BARGO clearly came to play,  and they easily beat Delta to sit on 2-0.  We knocked Delta down and got our first point, but next up was a two-lap fleet race — something we’re quite good at — and we won that one.  Back to match racing, though things got sort of fuzzy, memory-wise, and I do vaguely remember getting better as the day wore on, dropping two drinking penalties on BAR-GO compared to the one we copped, and we led the day, followed by the B’s and then the D’s.  Penalties were exonerated on the dock promptly upon landing, and they didn’t cancel out.  We won that battle, too.

Dust Bowl CrewA massive group dinner that night at Steak 954 got the ball rolling pretty good; Sam and the restaurant staff even granted me a fake birthday. Sorry to all of you that thought it was actually my birthday, but blame Sam, not me.

Day 2 dawned and somehow I think most everyone felt better than on day 1, we actually felt dusty as opposed to downright filthy. Same set up; match racing followed by fleet racing, after it was all said and done, it was a 3-way tie going into the final race, a fleet race to crown the first ever King of the Dust Bowl. Clearly Delta cheated by feeling better than we all did and easily schooled us to take the win, and the chip carrying BAR-GO got the best of us and took second, but hey we still got a podium spot! All jokes aside, Delta sailed great on the final day and deserved the Crown.

All in all, while it was a shame that nobody else came to play, we had an amazing, competitive, and very enjoyable weekend of racing in classic Lauderdale conditions: big waves, and big breeze.  We all really hope things are headed in the right direction for the M32 Class, with some changes coming down the pike including a scheduled 2014 Winter Circuit, Miami getting some traction, and summer in Newport.  It’s one of the most exciting production raceboats ever built, and we’re looking to show the world that the Melges 32 is still at the very top of the heap when it comes to great one-design action.

Petey Out.

November 28th, 2013 by admin

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Jason Carroll’s 5-year journey to win the Melges 32 World Championship is over, and a huge congratulations to the party-loving anarchists aboard the good ship Argo on a brilliant performance in the world’s toughest owner/driver fleet.  We’ll have a more detailed report from one of the war horses aboard later this week, but one thing is for certain in the M32 Class – if you want to win a Worlds, you start with Morgan Reeser as your coach.  Joy Dunigan photo with a bit of freaky editing by Clean to make it a little more like the movie poster the shot brings to mind.  More shots here, and check out more great work from Argo mastman Petey Crawford starting tomorrow as live video producer (and shooter/editor/a dozen other jobs) at the Little Cup.

UPDATE:  Coach Reeser lays out his ‘roadmap to success’ and a word or two about the Argo program, from somewhere over the Atlantic in a very large non-commercial jet.  Rough life, Morg!

The Argo Worlds was a pleasure to be involved with as they deserved a World Championship in ’11 and ’12!  I’m so thrilled that they go it this time.  They are a great team that needed to realize how good they were and what was required win a Worlds.

Goals:

1) Average first mark rounding (top 30%)

2) Always passing boats after mark 1.

3) Save your drop race for the final fleet race

Team Argo had more fun than anyone else at the event (ie. they did not change what they normally did just because it was the Worlds!)

A great team, a great class, and a great boat to sail with so many other fantastic owners and their teams. 

I can’t wait till Miami 2014!

-Morgan

 

 

September 22nd, 2013 by admin

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Update: Argo (fuck yourself) has taken a nice little 6 point lead after 4 races…

Richard Goransson’s Inga From Sweden is off to a good start at the Melges 32 Worlds even if the week isn’t.  A nasty Mistral has seen two of the first four days shortened or cancelled with winds recorded up to 74 knots.  Below is the report from Inga trimmer Richard Mason’s report after a single race yesterday, and the video is above.  UPDATE:  Argo leads after three more races today…latest results here and you can watch the Worlds streaming live on the Melges website here.

With no racing yesterday the pressure was on to get racing underway today. The forecast was for the breeze to start the day at 25knots plus and drop from there. Racing got underway on time at 11.00, with the wind gusting up to 30 knots.

The first race was a survival test. Just keep it cool and don’t make the mistakes. Race one proved to be a big payoff for Helly Hansen Inga from Sweden, for the time we have spent on the water over the past year getting to grips with this tricky, overpowered boat.

The first race in the 2013  saw us starting at the pin with Team Argo winning the start a half boatlength to weather.  A long port tack in building breeze saw us on the left side of the track. We were third around the first top mark, with it all on for the run. We managed to survive a couple of on-the-edge gybes to make it around the bottom mark in 2nd hot on the tail of Bombarda Racing. Looking back upwind at the fleet there were some major wipeouts, with quite a bit of damage to the fleet on the first run.

Bombarda Racing lead up the second beat showing some serious speed on the wind, and led around the top mark with us about 20 seconds back.  A wild second run followed, and the deciding maneuver for the race was the final gybe, just 200 meters from the finish.  Bombarda missed theirs while we thankfully nailed ours, and that was the race.

So a great start for the Helly Hansen Inga form Sweden team. An attempt was made at a second race, but the breeze was gusting over 34 knots, which saw the fleet return to the dock, postponing racing for the day.  It is going to be a long 3 days!  The pressure  is on to keep the consistency in the results required to stay at the top of this fantastic fleet.

We look forward to getting back on the race track tomorrow.

-Richard & The Helly Hansen Inga from Sweden Team.

 

September 20th, 2013 by admin

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With the Sec General of the IODA demanding answers and more facts coming to light over the Opti dodge ‘em in Lake Garda, we were glad to see Brontolo skipper Filippo Pacinotti issue a public apology last night for his actions on the lake.  An unapologetic Marco De Antonio from Bribon gives a more defensive take on it and bitches about “an American blog” here.  But most laudable is the no-nonsense statement from Melges and the M32 Class.  From Class Prez Hank Stuart to the IODA and the world:

Thank you for your note expressing deep concern over the incident on Lake Garda this past weekend. Rest assure that the International Melges 32 Class Association (IM32CA) was equally upset by the video footage of the two Melges 32s racing through the Opti fleet on Saturday afternoon.

Needless to say, this footage has prompted us to proactively investigate further the actions of many including, but not limited to the Yacht Clubs (Circolo Vela Torbole and Fraglia Vela Riva), both event PROs, the members of the International Jury as well as all Melges 32 teams present.

Our findings thus far have revealed unfortunate circumstances in which were truly beyond our control. For example, despite our numerous complaints that specifically addressed safety if the race courses overlapped was completely ignored on multiple occasions. Additional concerns were also voiced by many of our owners as well as sponsor representatives, and they too were disregarded as unimportant.

Looking to the incident, the two teams highlighted in the video chose to navigate, what we now know was a dangerous path to the leeward gate. This combined with what we perceive as poor decision making in regards to where races were ran was where we have found the problem to be.

We realize that a higher level of situational awareness and a more conservative approach should have been exercised by several of the Melges 32 teams, honoring and giving right of way considering the breezy conditions. Do know that many of the competing teams did just that.

Since the incident, please know that both teams featured in the video have already, very sincerely issued public apologies regarding their actions on Facebook and through other media sources. We believe this is a step in the right direction on their part. The IM32CA is also reviewing internally what other measures may be taken to further correct the situation and prevent it from ever happening again.

We will be publishing their apologies along with this letter online at melges32.com.

You also mentioned that there were Melges 32 owners or crew that possibly spoke in disrespect to some of the young Opti sailors. Please know through our process to get to the bottom of just what exactly happened, we have not heard anything regarding this at all. Considering the caliber and league of sailor commonly found on a Melges 32, such behavior is highly unacceptable.

As we move forward, we hope that we can work with you collectively in resolving this matter peacefully and respectfully. All of our owners are regular contributors to youth foundations and sailing programs, and we know how important it is to emphasize the value of youth sailing and support the future of our sport. This is something that we hold with the highest regard.

We agree that best next step for our classʼ is to file a joint report to ISAF in accordance with rule 69.3 to see if any Melges 32 team breached rule 69.1(a) and that under The Racing Rules of Sailing, ISAF has the ability and authority to review this matter properly.

Kind regards,
Hank Stuart, President
International Melges 32 Class Association (IM32CA)

July 16th, 2013 by admin

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Is there anyone with a brain still defending the boneheaded moves by the Melges 32 Torbole fleet as they slashed and burned their way through the Optimist Pre-Worlds on Lake Garda this past weekend?

Yes, we know it was the last event in the prestigious Audi series.  We realize the cliffs over there have a sweet acceleration and 5 knots more breeze, and that was the fastest way to the mark.  We know no one got hurt or protested.  We can see they might have made it through without incident but for a puff or two.  We understand that Lake Garda can get crowded.  We realize your PRO could have re-set, abandoned, or finished when he saw the M32 fleet going through the Optis upwind.   We even understand the power struggle, dick-swinging machismo, and terrible communication level between the Circolo Vela Torbole (M32 Host) and the Fraglia Vela Riva (Opti hosts).

And you know what? None of that fucking matters.

Video, photo, and eyewitness reports all prove that the Melgi forced Optis to alter course all over the place.  At least one Opti had his burgee snapped off by your kites.  A couple more knots of breeze or a tiny bit more bad luck and it could have been a very, very bad day for sailing in Italy and the world.  Yet there were no exoneration turns, no apologies, not even an acknowledgment of what happened anywhere.

We’re told that some of the IODA folks have forwarded the matter up the food chain, and our understanding is that, while ISAF could institute Rule 69 proceedings, the FIV would be the most likely group to discipline the M32.

Raise your hand if you think that Italy is going to discipline some of Italy’s top M32 racers.

Photo from French coach “Seb” scavenged from the thread; already hundreds of posts and plenty of discussion on this hot topic here.

July 15th, 2013 by admin

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Clean Report

For the first year ever, the 100+ boat San Juan Yacht Club’s 12th International Regatta has added a handicap big boat section, and local sailing cheerleader Jaime Torres has a new Smile and Wave in his stable to go and beat up on the local boats.  Then again, he’s got me trimming front sails, and other than long time Melges ace Marty Kullman as our pro, the crew is entirely made up of amateur Puerto Ricans, so this ain’t a ‘victory-at-all-costs’ program; it’s all about having a good time and helping to grow Puerto Rican sailing, and that means fun.

You can check out the entry list here, and check the front page for photos and results.  SnW’s Facebook page will have some more info as well.  I’ll be sailing the whole Caribbean season with the team from PR, including 3 one-design Melges 32 events.  Good stories guaranteed!

 

February 1st, 2013 by admin

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