After the first day of racing, only 4 points separate the top three teams in the seventeen boat Melges 24 fleet, who kicked off racing at 11.20 hours with a shifty breeze and short wave chop for their windward/leeward races.
Bacardi Invitational Regatta 2021 - Thursday
This massively competitive fleet saw different teams claim mastery of the track to seize the three wins, with race glory going to defending champion Bora Gulari and his team on New England Ropes, Laura Grondin’s team on Dark Energy and Bruce Ayres’ Monsoon.
Gulari opened with a win, but his DNF (did not finish) score in race 2 was not quite the follow-up game plan. Opting for a pin end start, a misjudgement pushed them into a scuffle with the pin boat anchor line and after eventually freeing themselves the fleet had done a horizon job. Even the worst happens to the best!
Ayres stepped it up a notch from a 5th in the opening race, to score 2-1 and edge into the overall lead by 3 points over Travis Weisleder on Lucky Dog with Grondin and her team on Dark Energy in third.
Ayres is racing with three new team members, so first up they were working on team dynamics, but there is no shortage of pedigree with Ayres winning the Melges 24 Worlds in 2017, placing 2nd in 2019 and 3rd in 2018.
“It is really great to be back in Miami,” said Ayres. “The last regatta I sailed was last year here in March. Through the covid, working at home with the hotels has been brutal,” he added in reference to his professional career with Ayres Hotels, “So, it is really good to get out in the boat. These guys are all really strong sailors, so I am getting the rig right and it makes my job a lot easier. The biggest thing is that we have fun.”
2019 Corinthian U.S. National Champion Steve Suddath at the helm of 3 1/2 Men have the early lead in the all-amateur division in Miami. Megan Ratliff’s Decorum and Roger Counihan’s Jaws are running a very close second and third.
Melges 24 Class – Provisional Results after Race 3
1. Bruce Ayres / Jeremy Wilmot / Tomas Dietrich / Ted Hackney / Chelsea Simms (USA 851) - 8 pts
2. Travis Weisleder / John Bowden / Mark Mendelblatt / Haide Goodrick (USA 858) - 11 pts
3. Laura Grondin / Taylor Canfield / Rich Peale / Scott Ewing / Cole Brauer (USA 864) - 12 pts
4. John Brown / Jeff Bonanni / Mike Buckley / Charlie Smythe / George Peet (USA 856) - 13 pts
5. Bora Gulari / Kyle Navin / Norman Berge / Ian Liberty / Micheal Menniger (USA 820) - 21 pts
Full Results (Open and Corinthian): https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eid=13063