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Audi Melges 20 Holiday Heat

12 December 2014

Miami, FL - With most of the world preparing for mistletoe, eggnog and Santa Claus, the International Audi Melges 20 Class Association (IAM20CA) is dropping marks, slapping on sunscreen and tipping em’ back, in preparation for the first event of the 2014/15 Winter Series hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club (CGSC). An annual pilgrimage now in its sixth season, thirty-one Audi Melges 20 teams have settled in and are dialed for a legendary week of sailing on the crystal blue waters of Biscayne Bay. The only reminders of the frozen north are the faux pine garland and wreaths hanging from the hotels and restaurants dotting the strip in Coconut Grove.

With many longstanding veterans of the class returning for yet another season, it is not a mystery as to why the Miami Winter Series (MWS) is so successful. With a big smile, longtime owner and Canadian class energizer Rhonda Joyce on Grinning Streak explains her reasons for attending her fifth Winter Series, “It’s the boys really (laughing). Seriously, I love the people in this class. And on top of it, when the wind is blowing these boats are fantastic. And who wouldn’t want to get away from Toronto in the winter!"

Sailing in every Winter Series thus far, current North American Fleet President Rob Wilbur at the helm of Cinghiale has found his winter haven and is not planning on making any changes, “It really comes down to the camaraderie with all the owners. Being part of the CGSC and the friendships I have developed over the years is really special. And on top of it, the sailing has become more competitive and fun each and every year."

For the first event of the Winter Series, thirty-one teams have registered and confirmed their spot on the starting line, and with a forecast out of the Northwest throughout the weekend, there will be some serious action on the race course. PRO Bruce Golison has posted a civilized noon starting time for both Friday and Saturday which will allow for some extra relaxation in the mornings before the real battles take place on the water.

LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD
In an effort to ensure all teams have an opportunity to learn and improve their performance throughout the weekend, Audi Melges 20 class leadership and Melges USA secured longtime pro sailor and coach Tom Burnham to work with the fleet prior to and during the regatta.

Despite the light wind on Thursday prior to racing, there was a very solid turnout with many teams looking for any nugget of information that could improve their result. Joyce commented more on the coaching, "The coaching initiative from the class is incredible. I am thrilled as we need an extra set of eyes, and really want the coaching help. Even with the light air we were able to learn some solid lessons to apply to our racing."

A morning briefing with Coach Burnham is planned prior to racing which should help give the fleet some solid advice to approach the first day of racing, and ensure that the level of racing is high.

MEDIA AND RACING COVERAGE
As with other Audi Melges 20 events around the world, racing updates as they are available will be posted online at the Official Audi Melges 20 Facebook Page. Be sure to also follow the fleet on InstagramTwitter and YouTube. Tune in for the latest racing information, results, video interviews, and photos. Race reports, press releases and photos will also be available online each day post racing at melges20.com.

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