After a brief morning rain shower, the skies parted and humidity rose quickly while PRO Blake Middleton and his army of volunteers from Coconut Grove Sailing Club (CGSC) headed out on Biscayne Bay for an on-time start. Typically holding the title of PRO for the Melges 20 fleet, Bruce Golison aboard Midlife Crisis is one of the competitors this weekend along with his brother Jay, and team member Riley Gibbs. Clearly they seemed to be the wisest about every nuance of the tricky breeze dominating opening day with a one – one – two scoreline.
Once to the racing area, the light Northwest drainage breeze began to fade, and after a brief postponement, Race One began in five – eight knots at 045 degrees. With a slight port favored line, the pin end was a popular place, but for the teams that were able to get onto port tack and stay patient in a right bending breeze, they were rewarded handsomely with a starboard tack angle and pressure into the first top mark. Golison did a nice job of digging into the rightie, led wire to wire with Jim Wilson’s Oleander and Cesar Gomes Neto on Portobello taking second and third respectively. Wilson’s second place was a solid finish and he chalked it up to getting good rest, ‘Well, getting my crew to bed before 9pm was a big key to doing well today!’ said a laughing Wilson.
Between races One and Two, a rain cloud developed over Key Biscayne and with it brought a Northeast breeze at eight – twelve knots. After a quick re-adjustment of the course, the fleet was off and those who were able to sink into the right side found themselves in a strong position at the first top mark. Again Jay and Bruce Golison led the charge and showed steady patience on the downwind legs to take the bullet, followed by Liam Kilroy’s Wildman and Drew Friedes Pacific Yankee.
Despite the right side paying big the previous two races, the majority of the fleet tried to make the left side work on the first upwind beat of Race Three, only to find that the right side was still the place to be. Wilson got right the farthest and after a nice tussle with the Golison’s, took the bullet. Golison was second and all the way from Russia, Yury Morozov’s Russotrans put together a complete race to finish third.
When asked what the secret of the day was to their success, Gollison summed it up with, ‘We always tried to focus on having a clean exit on the starts today. With any good class, if you can sail straight, or only tack once in the first five minutes, you will typically find yourself in good shape.’
Battle of the Corinthian
With a healthy lead in both the overall and Corinthian (all-amatuer) standings, Golisonleads the five-boat strong Corinthian division with Paul Curries’ Wild Deuces in second and John Brown’s Blind Squirrel in third.
The forecast for Day Two is for more wind out of the Northeast in the 13-16 kt range. It will be interesting to see if the right side of the race course continues to pay as much as it did today, or if it will be a more balanced race course.
Top Ten Results (Preliminary – After Three Races)
1.) Bruce Golison, Midlife Crisis; 1-1-2 = 4
2.) James Wilson, Oleander; 2-4-1 = 7
3.) Liam Kilroy, Wildman; 8-2-6 = 16
4.) Rob Wilber, Cinghiale; 6-9-4 = 19
5.) Drew Freides, Pacific Yankee; 7-3-10 = 20
6.) Paul Reilly, Red Sky Sailing; 9-5-11 = 25
7.) Cesar Gomes Neto, Portobello; 3-14-9 = 26
8.) Matteo Marenghi Vaselli, Raya; 4-17-5 = 26
9.) Jason Michas, Midnight Blue; 5-7-14 = 26
10.) Yury Morozov, Russotrans; 19-6-3 = 28
by Joy Dunigan