©2010 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association©2010 JOY | International Melges 32 Class Association

Melges 32 fleet at Miami Grand Prix: A bruising personal return to action...

9 March 2010

From Justin Chisholm, Offshore Rules - I guess I should have known that returning to competitive sailing for the first time in eight months would be a major challenge. Spending most of that time in press boats watching the some of the world’s best sailors plying their trade, apparently counted for absolutely nothing and my return to racing last week at the Miami Grand Prix left me seriously questioning if I had ever set foot on a raceboat before. I was acting as a stand-in aboard the British Melges 32 ‘Team Barbarians’ crew and although we demonstrated reasonable crew work and generally good straight-line speed, in the end our results were quite frankly less than sparkling and we were left scratching our collective heads over what we needed to do to get ourselves up to the required level.

Whilst this regatta has left me aching in unfamiliar places and peppered with colourful bruises, the sheer pleasure of sailing a high-performance one design raceboat against some of the best sailors in the world and at a classic venue like Miami, far out weighs the physical pain. The blue skies, azure seas and predominantly windy conditions we enjoyed last week made for fantastic racing and reminded me once more just how much fun racing in the Melges 32 fleet really is. Over and above the excitement of the close quarter action on the starts and mark roundings and putting aside the pain of the upwind hiking, there really is no substitute for ripping downwind, on the edge of control in one of these boats. Once I had remembered which way round to face and which order to pull the ropes in, I was actually able to enjoy the experience of taking an active part in a regatta.

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