Miami breeze crowns Duncan and Ratliff in a light air conclusion to Bacardi Winter Series Event no. 2
January 30, 2022 - Miami, FL, USA - All change in the weather on the final day at Bacardi Winter Series, January 28-30 2022, with sun and a chilly north north-westerly 7-12 knot breeze.
Teams were out on the race track really early to tune up in what was a stable and more even breeze across the course compared to Saturday. But, the breeze dropped away forcing the Melges 24s to head ashore after just one race, with the series discard intensifying the leader board shuffle for glory.
Race 6 featured a light 8 knot breeze, favouring the left side and with the pressure increasing to the windward mark, but it was those who chose middle left that came out on top.
By the second windward mark Laura Grondin’s control on the race was insurmountable. Her Dark Energy team extended to leave the pack in their shadow, with Peter Duncan’s Raza Mixta and Sandra Askew’s Flying Jenny toughing it out for 2nd and 3rd. John Bailey’s ‘Talisman’ found a window to slip through and finished in 3rd, 2nd for Duncan and 4th for Askew.
With the discard now in play and counting a top scorecard of all top 4 finishes, Duncan advanced to series leader from 4th going into the day.
A clean start for race 7 and by the second upwind the fleet was significantly spread out across the course, but it all ended with abandonment as the wind dropped to 3 knots. Disappointment for Talisman who at the point of abandonment held a significant lead on the fleet, but satisfaction with placing third overall.
Talisman helm John Bailey (USA) said, “We had an amazing time and it was a fantastic regatta. We saw very light winds, very shifty today and sunshine. The shifty conditions really kept the crew and all the boats on their feet and you had to constantly be playing the shifts or the velocity. The velocity was up and down, the shifts left and right and really rewarded tactically active sailing of the boat. Our crew did fantastic on the sail handling, adjusting, shifting gears. Mike Buckley did an amazing job in terms of tactics, making sure we were in phase and sailing fast and it was a lot of fun. We can’t wait to come back here for the March event.”
Melges 24 – Final Top 5 results after 6 races
1. RAZA MIXTA - Peter Duncan / Victor Diaz de Leon / Matt Pistay / Erik Shampain / Morgan Trubovich (USA 829) - 13 pts
2. WAR CANOE - Michael Goldfarb / Jonny Goldsberry / Morten Henriksen / Matteo Ramian / Emory Williams (USA 825) - 17 pts
3. TALISMAN - John Bailey / Mike Buckley / John Bowden / Beth Whitener / George Peet (USA 720) - 20 pts
4. ZENDA EXPRESS - Harry Melges IV / Finn Rowe / Ripley Shelley / Jeremy Wilmot / Kate O'Donnell (USA 866) - 27 pts
5. NEW ENGLAND ROPES - Bora Gulari / Kyle Navin / Norman Berge / Ian Liberty / Dave Hughes (USA 820) - 28 pts
Best Corinthian: DECORUM - Megan Ratliff / Hunter Ratliff / Katrina Williams / Halsey Richartz / Zac Hernandez - 41 pts (9th Overall)
Peter Duncan reminded everyone of his versatility whatever the weather, to close the opening three race day in first overall with his crew on Raza Mixta.
“We had a great day today,” said Duncan. “We had really nice crew work and a good tempo on board the boat.
“What we did right today was that we stayed in phase. We were tacking on shifts, and there were a fair amount of shifts going on out there, and we were lucky. The shifts are actually very interesting out on Biscayne Bay in a breeze like today, because the shifts are more dominated by the puffs and you need to stay in breeze. So we did a good job with that.”
Race 1 was all about Harry Melges IV, grandson of iconic sailing personality Buddy Melges, and his crew on Zenda Express who delivered a horizon job, leading race 1 from start to finish. Second to Raza Mixta and third to Sandra Askew’s Flying Jenny team.
Winner of last year’s Winter Series event 2 and the 2021 Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta, Bora Gulari on New England Ropes showcased his credentials in race 2, leading by around 6 boat lengths at the leeward gate. With all top 5 boats packed closely together and pushed hard by Peter Duncan, Gulari struggled to maintain his control in the neck and neck battle. On the final downwind, Duncan drove hard, securing his lane to extend over Gulari and take the win, with Michael Goldfarb on WarCanoe in third.
Onto race 3 and the breeze demanded a change of pace and a fully hiked crew, with the race again looking set to belong to Duncan’s Raza Mixta who led the first two legs. Heading back upwind, Peter Bergendahl’s Wardance optimized their attack to take the advantage, with Megan Ratliff’s Decorum close behind. As these two teams locked into their own battle, John Bailey’s Talisman claimed a tidy third place.
Melges 24 (20 Boats) - after 3 races
1. Raza Mixta, Peter Duncan / Victor Diaz de Leon / Matt Pitsay / Erik Shampain / Morgan Trubovick , USA – 2 -1 -4 ; 7
2. New England Ropes, Bora Gulari / Kyle Navin / Norman Berge / Ian Liberty / Dave Hughes , USA – 5 -2 -6 ; 13
3. Talisman, John Bailey / Mike Buckley / John Bowden / Beth Whitener / Bear , USA – 6 -4 -3 ; 13
4. WarCanoe, Michael Goldfarb / Jonny Goldsberry / Morten Henriksen / Matteo Ramian / Emory Williams , USA – 4 -3 -8 ; 15
5. Zenda Express, Harry Melges IV / Finn Rowe / Ripley Shelley / Jeremy Wilmot / Kate O’Donnell , USA – 1 -13 -5 ; 19
Michael Goldfarb and team on War Canoe checked out with the win from the first race of the day and advanced to 2nd overall, but not for long as their 4th place in the second race propelled them into pole position.
Climbs for some, drops for others and a big change for Peter Duncan’s Raza Mixta who unsettled their scorecard with a UFD penalty in the second race and crashed to 4th from first overall at the start of the day.
In the opening race, things were looking good for Duncan and Bora Gulari on New England Ropes, as the two teams won the pin end and took flight in a close fight to the windward mark. But, a big left shift unsettled the train and saw many over stand on the port tack lay line, which made for some interesting port/starboard challenges at the mark. The outcome, Duncan and Gulari lost their lead.
In the second race, the breeze delivered less consistency across the track with lots of isolated puffs and shifty conditions. The race belonged to Gulari, who knew he had to redeem his 10th place in the day’s opening race to stay in podium contention. Finding his groove, he led the fleet around the windward mark, with seconds between the top few boats, and kept control to race glory.
Peter McClennen on Gamecock had his eyes on Gulari, hunting him down and rounded the second windward mark in first, going on to play the left side downwind and seal 2nd place. McClennen’s best finish of the series so far pushed him from 12th overall at the start of the day to 5th at the end.
“Breezy, shifty, gusty conditions,” commented McClennen. “The key was staying in phase at all times, and staying fast all the time downwind. We got onto the right side and we probably spent 80% of the race on one tack downwind. Super fun, super-fast, Miami super delivered and the Melges 24 is wonderful!”
Melges 24 (20 Boats) - after 5 races
1. WarCanoe, Michael Goldfarb / Jonny Goldsberry / Morten Henriksen / Matteo Ramian / Emory Williams , USA – 4 -3 -8 -1 -4 ; 20
2. Talisman, John Bailey / Mike Buckley / John Bowden / Beth Whitener / Bear , USA – 6 -4 -3 -5 -5 ; 23
3. New England Ropes, Bora Gulari / Kyle Navin / Norman Berge / Ian Liberty / Dave Hughes , USA – 5 -2 -6 -9 -7 ; 29
4. Raza Mixta, Peter Duncan / Victor Diaz de Leon / Matt Pitsay / Erik Shampain / Morgan Trubovick , USA – 2 -1 -4 -4 -21 ; 32
5. Gamecock, Peter McClennen / Mike Marshall / Zeke Horowitz / Allie Grey / Wilson Stout , USA – 7 -9 -15 -3 -2 ; 36