November 30, 2011
Once again, the turkey, gravy, cheesy mashed potatoes and other Thanksgiving delights were limited to a single fist-sized helping at this years holiday, and as we departed the in-laws, saying “no” to the bounty of leftovers was not an easy task; like we actually wanted yogurt and granola instead of the above listed items for breakfast the next morning. Just like previous T-days since 2007, a weigh-in has loomed for the Melges 32 Gold Cup, and while Melges 32 sailors watch their family members ravish stuffing and pumpkin pie like hungry Pilgrims, we are left to put our heads down and mutter the words, “no thanks, I’ll pass. I’ll try your home-made pie next year Grandma.”
Prior to gaining official ISAF status in 2008, the Melges 32 class began hosting the Gold Cup which often serves as an unofficial World Championship until a class can gain status by having a presence on 3 or more continents. Despite having an official Worlds in 2009, the Gold Cup is still an annual event, has remained as a top draw and continues to attract the best Melges 32 teams from around the globe. This event also serves as the kick-off to the 2012 racing season, with many teams pinning this as the start of their 2012 Worlds campaign coming to Newport, RI in September. Its hard to imagine that another Worlds is just around the corner, and the full effort of practicing, sail selection, rig tuning and staying on top of the latest gear and hardware changes to the boats is about to begin anew.
I typically sound like a broken record when talking about the high level of talent that participates in these events, and this years Gold Cup is no different. Each event it seems like more of the common names from the world of sailing trickle into the class and most are able to make the transition into smaller boat racing, succeed like they have in most classes and instantly make the fleet tougher. With a crew list that does not have any signs of a weak team, winning this years Gold Cup will require sailing clean, taking care of all the basics, and having a bit of luck.
After suffering a black flag in the final race of the 2010 edition of this event and taking third overall, our team on Volpe is looking to have a stronger finish. There will be a bit of rust to shake off, and the well-seasoned teams who are fresh off this years Worlds in Palma will be ready to rock and roll. The big plus of this event is that the regatta is hosted out of the Bahia Mar hotel and Marina, and while the hotel is used mainly by touristos departing on cruises the next day and the rooms could use a bit of updating, nothing beats being able to hop out of bed and basically have an elevator ride down to the boat. The parking between the dock and the hotel is also a great aspect as a few teams get into full tail gate mode with BBQ’s and music while John Taylor and his Ninkasi team annually supply an endless amount of cold Heinekens to all of the competitors. Stay tuned…racing begins Friday…up to date results can be found here.
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