'Melgina’ makes waves as new contender on opening day of BACARDÍ Winter Series 2

Miami, FL, U.S.A. - January 26, 2024 -  The three-day Bacardi Winter Series Event 2 opened today, Friday, January 26, on the stunning waters of Biscayne Bay, Miami.

Fifty-six teams have descended on Shake-A-Leg Miami for the three-day series. As well as boasting a record sized fleet, the boat park rocks a line-up of sailing legends, with numerous Olympians and World Champions adding to the competitive mix.

Friday opened with three windward/leeward races, showcasing Paolo Brescia’s Melgina as a formidable force in the Melges 24. Brescia took control of the fleet in what marked their first outing as a new team.

The day opened warm, though overcast, with a breeze of 10-15 knots. Following race 2 as the breeze dwindled, the Race Committee opted to postpone on the water in anticipation of improved wind. The wind stabilized but remained light, setting the stage for a challenging battle in the lumpy sea.

Hosted at Shake-A-Leg-Miami, the Bacardi Winter Series upholds the legendary hospitality of every Bacardi event, with post-race cocktails and shoreside fun.

After a general recall for race one, the day served up three different winners in the twenty-one boat Melges 24 fleet. As the wind eased, it was a struggle for power in light air, with teams constantly working hard to power up.

Bruce Ayres on Monsoon won the opening race with a convincing lead, race 2 went to Paolo Brescia on Melgina, and Laura Grondin’s Dark Energy team took the race 3 victory.

Opening day glory for Melgina, who unlocked the Melges 24 go-fast setup to score 2,1,6 and sit on top of the leaderboard. Superb consistency rewarded them as the only team to count single-digit results. 

Melgina is packed with Italian talent, including Jas Farneti, a 470 Junior World and Junior European Champion, along with fellow former Olympic campaigner Giulio Desiderato.

“Today was great, was a great day of sailing in Miami,” commented Desiderato. “We are super happy as a team because it is our first regatta together – we just started our journey. We can only be happy about the day that we had.”

Speaking on their teamwork he continued, “All the guys onboard did a great job. Paolo, he performed very well, he steered very well. We were fast, and from my side, I am calling tactics, it was much easier you know if the boat is fast it is easier in the water.

“We talked before the regatta and just to have fun because it was our first event together, so avoid trouble, clear line and it worked!”

On why they travel over from Italy, Desiderato smiled saying, “This is one of my favourite regattas. It is always great to be here, and we are always happy to come from Italy and sail the Bacardi.”  

Six more races are scheduled over the weekend. Tomorrow, Saturday, January 27, racing is scheduled to start at 1100 hours for the Melges 24.

Bora Gulari on Kingspoke scored a consistent 5,3,3 to place in second, with Grondin’s Dark Energy in third.

Bombarda of Andrea Pozzi was hoping for a repeat of the opening series, which saw them romp home ahead of the fleet in the single race face-off. But they end the day outside the top 10, with scores of 8,12,12.

Whilst the pro-teams battle it out at the top of the leaderboard, Dan Berezin's Surprise from Canada leads the Corinthian teams in 14th place.

Full Results
Text Credit: Luissa Smith
Photo Credits: Hannah Lee Noll

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MELGINA ITA of Paolo Brescia with Giulio Desiderato / Stefano Orlandi / Jas Farneti / Andrea Chiappe

Melges 24 fleet in Bacardi Winter Series event 2 - January 2024