Only 34 boats are registered just two weeks out from the 2011 Melges 24 World Championship, and after a seriously light Annapolis event a couple of years ago, there’s some serious soul-searching going on at the selection process for US-based Worlds. This one looks like it’ll top out in the thirties, making it the lightest-populated M24 Worlds in more than a decade. On one positive note, there’s more US M24 racing going on now than there’s been in five years, with a nearly fifty-boat fleet in Charleston, 20+ boats at the Florida-based and California Cup events, and a strong Pacific Northwest fleet that mostly keeps to itself. Maybe this will finally knock “local fleet-building” off the priority list when the IMCA selects a Worlds venue. Sure, the economy was better in 2005, but that’s not why 99 boats showed up in Key Largo for Worlds. They came because it was December, and South Florida is a great place to be in the winter. Can we please have 2015 be in Florida, or Charleston, or somewhere else we know people want to go racing?
On another positive note, there are at least three excellent stories shaping up for the May big-water event. The first is Dan Kaseler and his complete shoe-string “Team Velocitek Racing” crew from the Pacific Northwest. You might remember Dan as the windsurfing sail builder whose raptor sails crossed over to the Moth class with Dalton Bergan and Bora Gulari at the Oregon Worlds in 2009. Kaseler also crewed with Gulari to beat a 35 boat fleet in Charleston last year. Their ability to fight for the actual title notwithstanding (they can’t), Dan and his crew are great storytellers and they’re already doing a great job building up their quest for Corpus love in the Team Velocitek Blog here. This photo of an Osprey on the mainsail from their Seattle training and crew Josh Larsen’s camera.
The second story is our old friend Bora Gulari bringing another shoestring team to South Texas, though this time the poor folks are some of the sport’s top pros, sailing a brand-new M24 that Bora scraped together the cash to buy from friends, family, and other folks he’s been entertaining with his sailing antics for years. We’ll have more on them soon, but in the meantime, you can enjoy some HD training footage from windy Corpus Christie earlier this week. Here’s an edited reel, and this one is 8 minutes of pros showing you how survival conditions ain’t just about surviving.