30 November 2006

29 NOVEMBER 2006 The Melges 32 is definitely a hot ticket this winter. Multiple Mumm 30 World Champion Claudio Reechi and Federico Michetti (Melges 24 World Champion, double M24 European Champion) from Italy on Let's Roll have opted to skip the Worlds and race in Ft. Lauderdale this weekend. Glenn Darden and partner Reese Hillard from Ft. Worth, TX on board Hoss (2004 J.105 North American Champion and 2006 J.80 World Champion) will also be in attendance. "The Melges 32 has a lot of horsepower which makes it very fun to sail," commented Darden after participating at the National Championship this past July in Newport, Rhode Island.

Famous for his involvement at many top levels of sailing including the Chicago to Mackinac Race and the Farr 40 Class, Tom Neill from Chicago, IL on Nitemare has acquired a brand new, simply gorgeous Melges 32 as well. Others attending are Doug Croker from Easton, MD on Canvasback; David Hoyt from Stowe, VT on Nose Dive; Caleb Everett from San Francisco, CA on Stewball; George Gamble from Pensacola, FL is tag-teaming the event with two Melges 32s Evil Woman and Wicked Woman; Tom Ripley from Annapolis, MD on Badfish; Robbie Wilkins on Varoom and local favorite, 2006 Melges 32 National Champion Jeff Ecklund from Ft. Lauderdale, FL on Star.

Racing is scheduled to begin Friday, 01 December and continue through until Sunday, 03 December. Evening socials will be hosted at the Lauderdale Yacht Club. There are several key things to note about this event. First and foremost, the Melges 32 offers the highest level of competitive one design racing and to compliment, this is a tune-up regatta a ramp up to big fleet racing in Key West, FL at Race Week this coming 2007 January 15-19. Key West is a week's worth of guaranteed fun, but there is lots to experience and prepare for especially the endurance required to do well at a five day event. In a Melges it always comes down to that last race, the last leg. Mistakes are not as easily forgiven in a challenging class such the Melges 32. That's were this tune-up regatta comes in. It is part of preparing, learning how to sail the boat well and win!

To add another unique spin on the event, Sunday is "Take A Junior Sailing Day" where each of the Melges 32s will have a designated junior sailor aboard racing. The Lauderdale Yacht Club has a very strong youth sailing development program. What an incredible opportunity this will be for youth sailors to race alongside of legendary sailing greats, but also experience performance racing at the highest level. Peter Commette, a Laser World Champion himself, will be in charge of qualifying and assigning sailors to each Melges 32. Don't be surprised to see LYC Junior sailing all-stars such as Sarah Lihan (2006 top female junior sailor in the USA in the Laser Radial) and Opti-Sailor as well as 2005 Melges 24 World Champion (crewed for Luna Rossa's James Spithill) Mac Agnese potentially participating.

Stay tuned to as daily stories and reports will be posted.