While 17 boats were getting their heads beaten in by a powerful mistral at the M32 Euro champs in Cagliari, 13 of the little rockets were mixing it up in tricky conditions on Long Island Sound. Even with aggressive restrictions on pro sailors in the fleet, it’s likely that the actual talent assembled for the Sardinia and Rye events exceeded that on display in Cascais at the TP52 event – except for the drivers, of course! The times they are a changin’…
After Bliksem’s domination of the first Audi event in Scarlino last month, we expected big things out of the team with their brand new boat here in the states – and that’s when a mooring mushroom ended things for Taselaar, Wilmot and friends. In a charted depth of 13 feet, Bliksem’s keel speared the shaft of the mooring, which tried its hardest to tear the bulb right off the boat. The boys worked all night to get the boat in sailing shape, but knew she needed major repairs, so they sailed the regatta as a practice after that, trying out different sails and checking tuning as much as they could during the second day of racing. Imagine their surprise when they’d pulled into third place by the end of the day!
Regardless, Bliksem didn’t follow sail measurement rules during their sail testing/racing, and withdrew at the end of the day, packing up before the final race so the boat could go to the shop. We don’t really expect to see it again this year though, Taselaar and Troll seem to be far more confident in the European boat, and we hear she’s already getting packed up, bound for a US port soon.
Alex Jackson finally seems to have gotten the wheels on his M32 ‘Leenabarca,’ after almost a year in the class, our pommie pals Rob and Peter Greenhalgh helping lead the one-time college all-american helm and ‘Speedboat’ owner to his first-ever Melges 32 regatta win. Swan 42 dude Phil Lotz came out of nowhere to get second – after sailing Vipers at Charleston and now getting the podium in a 32, does anyone really think this guy’s going back to the land of the piggy 42s? Meanwhile, guys like Jeff Madrigali, Charlie Ogletree, Max Skelly, Harry Melges, and so on could barely get their owners into single digits – have we mentioned how hard this fleet is? Meanwhile, Joe Woods’ ‘Red’ took the Europeans with Laser superstar Paul Goodison standing behind him. Just a few weeks and these fleets converge, and the battles should be something to watch.