Molly Baxter from the Melges 32 "Argo" continues with the great reporting she did from Italy, this time at the Gold Cup. Racing begins at 11, check out the forum for photos, videos and live commentary all weekend long, and the SA Media page for live tracking from Kattack.
It was pretty cool seeing everyone filter into the Bahia Mar hotel bar last night. A reunion of great friends – many new faces have joined the Melges 32 class this event. We have Mark Ivey, Terry Hutchinson, Andy Horton, Chris Larson, Andy Lovell; the list goes on and on. Certainly this fleet is every bit as deep and talented as that which gathered for the Worlds in Porto Cervo. Overall the level of the fleet has definitely gotten way better – fast.
Today was the last practice day before the event and it seemed like every boat was out there. We got out on the water about 10 and were met with big waves and breeze around 15-18 from the South which eventually died down to 10-12 by the end of the day. Everyone lined up upwind and tuned against each other with top coaches like Morgan Reeser offering solid advice. Team Argo felt pretty fast today, although the practice weekend we did with Star two weekends ago definitely helped get the kinks out. We first set up with Ninkasi and then later tuned with Samba Pa Ti and Red. Everyone seemed very even, it was more about boat handling and tactics to make the difference.
Morgan Reeser ran practice starts and races in the afternoon. We did 4 practice starts which devolved into a bow out contest with most of the fleet over at every start. In the practice race Argo had a horrible start, but we tacked out right away and hooked into a sweet puff. We tacked while we could cross some of the boats who tacked later in less breeze and then got hooked up again with a lift on the left side and ended up rounding the weather mark in 4th. The weather mark is where you saw the biggest gains and losses – plenty of boats struggled with getting the kite up clean, some kites were in the water… it was a bit messy. We ended up finishing 2nd in that race, right behind the Italian boat Fantasticaaa. We headed back to the dock around 2 so we could put our good main on and finish prepping the boat.
The highlight of the night was when an anonymous person took a plunge in the water while docking our Protector. We were laughing so hard when he crawled out of the water with a wet cell phone and one flip flop.