The pressure is on at the 2016 Melges 32 Lauderdale Cup, the final act of the 2016 Melges 32 Blue Water Series (BWS) hosted by the Lauderdale Yacht Club (LYC) at Bahia Mar Marina.
Big breeze ushered in the day, pouring rain provided an unanticipated interruption that eventually gave way to some very unstable air, ultimately turning the tables and shuffling the field of players.
Leading the pack after six races (and one discard), Dick DeVos aboard Volpe leads the championship by two points. Jason Carroll on Argo is seated second, and Morgan Kiss on Team Hydra is third.
Racing conditions were pretty epic for the start of Race Four. Overcast skies invaded from the get-go, with Dick DeVos putting the hammer down for a wire-to-wire win. “The first race was great,” said DeVos post racing. “We got off the line ok, but the difference was finding that fast lane out on the right. The breeze was great and our position just got better and better as the race progressed.”
“We haven’t had an extended lead like that in a while, so it felt really good,” continued DeVos. “It was nice to just get out front, and sail a great race.”
Carroll had an awesome race to finish second and Chris Wientjes on Stormvogel earned a well-deserved third.
Almost immediately after the finish of Race Four, the Race Committee decided to wait out the imminent rain showers looming in the distance, delaying the start for over an hour.
Around 1:30, teams got back to racing and this time, charging the top mark hard was Kiss and Ed Tillinghast’s Dark n’ Stormy side-by-side. Downwind, Dick DeVos overtook the lead at the gate just moments ahead of Kiss. Carroll rounded third, then Tillinghast and Rick DeVos on Delta. The racing was super tight and Kiss proved Team Hydra was fast upwind by beating Dick DeVos to the top for the final run to the finish. Rick DeVos was third and Andre LaCorte’s Vitamina Amerikana got in on the action for fourth, just ahead of Tillinghast in fifth.
It was a downwind dogfight between Dick DeVos and Kiss. Only a few yards out from the finish, Kiss called success adding another bullet to Team Hydra’s building collection of wins.
The last race of the day was almost a birthday win for Rick DeVos (who was greeted by a fantastic flying banner above the race course in Race Four) on Delta. From the moment PRO Clyde Wright said go in about 10-12 knots of breeze, Rick DeVos and Grant Hood’s Quest took to the left side, versus the earlier predictable, fleet-favored, fast right. Playing the left paid big as Rick came into the top mark with a more than comfortable 10+ boat length lead. Hood rounded second, Wientjes followed in third, LaCorte was fourth and Tillinghast in fifth. Downwind, Rick DeVos held on passing through the gate first, then Grant, Wientjes and Tillinghast.
All things changed on the final upwind run, as the breeze shifted as much as 100 degrees (some said more in other places) shuffling the entire field of competitors. A massive shift sent a shockwave of confusion and frustration through the fleet. It was too late for the Race Committee to abandon as teams were so close to rounding.
The shift played to Tillinghast’s advantage as he moved into the lead position for a single-file procession to the finish line. Tillinghast took top honors, Rick DeVos maintained to finish second, while Wientjes had yet another successful win to take third.
Today, Melges 32 teams enjoyed having junior sailors aboard for sailing, thanks to the Lauderdale Yacht Club Sailing Foundation (LYCSF). Some of the world’s most aspiring junior sailors returned to the docks this afternoon with smiles plastered from ear-to-ear. They learned so much and have been truly inspired.
With the final Blue Water Series event almost complete, the overall rankings become more and more finalized. With the completion of six races and one discard, the tide turned for overnight leader Jason Carroll on Argo. Dick DeVos on Volpe claimed a big win on Day Two to now move into first with a one point advantage over Carroll. Rick DeVos on Delta remains in third. With one final day of racing left, this ain’t over, ’til it’s over.
Sunday will mark the final day of racing at the 2016 Melges 32 Blue Water Series. Two heats are planned with an 1100 warning.
Day Two Standings (Top 5 of 9, 6 races, 1 discard)
1.) Dick DeVos/Mark Mendleblatt, Volpe; 2-3-3-1-2- = 11
2.) Jason Carroll/Cameron Appleton, Argo; 3-1-2-2--5 = 13
3.) Morgan Kiss/Alex Post, Team Hydra; 1-5-1--1-7 = 15
4.) Rick DeVos/Morgan Larson, Delta; -4-4-4-4-2 = 18
5.) Ed Tillinghast/Chris Larson, Dark n’Stormy; 4-6-5-7-[10/OCS]-1 = 23
more info …. yachtscoring.com
2015-16 Melges 32 Blue Water Series:
Event No. 1: U.S. National Championship – December 4-6, 2015
Event No. 2: Gold Cup – February 12-14, 2016
Event No. 3: Lauderdale Cup – April 1-3, 2016
by Melges 32 class