Melges 32 Tune-Up Regatta: Day Two of Racing, First Day of 'Take A Junior Sailing'

3 December 2007

<><>We all know how exciting the Melges 32 is — sleek looking, easy to sail with a lot of comfortable cockpit room, fast and stable. This is what the media and spectator fleet will see on the water. Youth sailors see speed, they see great sailors and close racing. The youth sailors at Lauderdale Yacht Club received the chance to see all of this up close, first hand, on the boats! Wow!  

The final two days of the Melges 32 Winter Tune-Up Regatta, each boat has a youth sailor sailing along with the team. On the dock that morning each youth received an official Melges hat and hopped on for an experience of a lifetime. Fun racing, in race chatter with some of the best sailors in the world and the opportunity to see one of the most exciting boats in the world up close and personal. Very cool! Out to the race course, in between races and on the sail-in you could find these youth sailors actually steering the boat getting instruction from the teams. Now this is how to grow the sport!

Four races on Saturday in wind conditions of 7-10 mph. Sunny, warm and really ideal conditions. With the coach boat being on the water all three days you could see the improvement in the fleet. Morgan Reeser presented by Henri Lloyd and Andy Burdick with Melges Performance Sailboats helped to tune up the fleet while racing, before each race and post race. The end result – a more even and faster Melges 32 fleet! While racing, the coach boat focused on sail set-up and rig tune, video proof of mark roundings and take downs kept the fleet honest, the coaches wanted to show where the sailors could improve. So, on the big screen each night there was visual evidence and lots of learning. Sail shape, mark roundings, rig set-up, vang tension, sheet tension, proper tacks, proper jibes, crew weight movement, outhaul tension, jib lead placement and so on. A complete synopsis of how to race these boats at a peak level and the fleet development was apparent.

Race Winners on this day were the following:
Race One: Bob Hesse who sailed a fantastic race from gun to gun. Congratulations to his team! Great to see.
Race Two: Kip Meadows
Race Three: Michael Illbruck
Race Four: Jeff Ecklund

The evening sessions gathered at the Lauderdale Yacht Club at 6:30 each night. The drinks were flowing and the post race chatter was high. The coaching session began around 7pm each night immediately following a Lauderdale Yacht Club tradition. Nothing starts until each race winner comes up to the podium and receives their bottle of champagne. Nothing like getting the party started right!

Morgan Reeser then debriefed the days racing. Focusing on one boat at the start showed how to get good starts or show examples of how not do to it. Showing the boat with the best tacks or the best jibes allowed the other boats to see how to do it. There would be a “break down” of each maneuver by Morgan and Andy in order for the entire fleet to see the best way to perform the basics. The team talked about takedowns at the leeward mark and how to set up well in advance for the leeward gates. The instruction really dialed in the fleet for the next days racing.  Overall:  Major improvement by every boat. Talk about getting tuned up!