Thursday, February 18, 2010

Round Two — Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series

February 17, 2010 (Miami, Fla.) - The Audi Melges 20 fleet gathers once more this weekend in Miami, Fla. for number two of three 2010 Miami Winter Series events hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club, supported by Shake-A-Leg Miami and Melges Performance Sailboats. Fourteen teams have assembled for yet another beautiful regatta filled with warm weather and some of the hottest sportboat competition around.

"We are really looking forward to the return of the Audi Melges 20 racers,' said Regatta Chair Ron Rostorfer. "We had a really great time hosting the fleet in December and hope to have another great event. Both sailors and Melges officials alike have been outstanding to work with. This fleet has generated a lot of interest around Biscayne Bay. Once again, we’ll provide a spectator boat for both days of racing and expect that a number of locals will be out in their own boats to watch the racing unfold."

Obvious fleet favorites most likely to do well are series leader (after one event) Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on STAR and reigning National Champion Eric Wynsma (East Grand Rapids, Mich.) on Superfly. Ecklund won the first event over Wynsma on countback. "I'll be sailing with a completely different crew this time. I've never sailed the boat in light air before so, we're just going to try and sail the best we can,' says Ecklund. His crew will consist of long-time friend and tactician Harry Melges and fleet newbie Bar Batzer. Sure to add in a little extra excitement is Robert Wilber (Stoney Creek, Conn.) on Cinghiale seated in third overall.

The vast majority of the fleet has traveled from the Midwest. Michael Kiss (Macatawa, Mich.) on Bacio, John Arendshorst (Holland, Mich.) on Blink, and Jim Hilgard (Godfrey, Ill.) on Crystal Spirit have all returned for more Miami action. New to the series, but not to the fierce Audi Melges 20 competition is Chuck Holzman (Farmington Hills, Mich.) on Flyer. Traveling from further north of the border are Canada’s Erwyn Naidoo (Toronto, Ontario) on Bohica, Peter Kozicz (Oakville, Ontario) with Chris Dold at the helm on CAN-142. Other representation comes from lady helm Mary Anne Ward (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) on M&M Sailing and David Hammett (Annapolis, Md.) on Simplified Sophistocation.

Competing for the very first time is brand new owner John Lucas (Charleston, S.C) on Fu and commonplace scow sailor Joel Ronning (Excelsior, Minn.) will give the Audi Melges 20 a try at the helm of USA-148. Welcome to the fleet!

A very cool practice and tune-up session with Melges’ Andy Burdick will warm up the fleet on Friday, February 19 kick-starting the planned pre-race activities. Racing takes place on Saturday and Sunday. Burdick will lead a tech talk session and post-race press conference on Saturday, February 20.

1.) Michael Kiss, Bacio
2.) John Arendhorst, Blink
3.) Erwyn Naidoo, Bohica
4.) Peter Kozicz, CAN-142
5.) Robert Wilber, Cinghiale
6.) Jim Hilgard, Crystal Spirit
7.) John Lucas, Fu
8.) Joel Ronning, USA-148
9.) Mary Anne Ward, M&M Sailing Team
10.) David Hammett, Simplified Sophistication
11.) Jeff Ecklund, STAR
12.) Eric Wynsma, Superfly
13.) Erik Post, Vaya Con Dios
14.) Chuck Holzman, Flyer

Official Event Website