Day two of the M32 World Championships in Biscayne Bay, Florida began with calm winds, bright skies and temperatures in the mid 70s. Race committee attempted an on time start, but squalls forced the fleet back to shore to await safe racing conditions.

M32 Worlds

A little after 3:30 they managed one exciting race in 20-22 knots of wind. Teams had to stay on their toes to get around the track. Midtown did well to stay clear of carnage and won the only race of the day moving into third position overall. Convexity padded their overall lead a few points by finishing 2nd in the race. Gravedigger, helmed by Jimmy Prendergast, and Inga From Sweden, driven by Richard Goransson, finished in 3rd and 4th respectively showing just how deep the fleet is. But, another squall forced the sailors back to the dock before the race committee could start any more races.

This World Championship showcases a world class fleet. In the extra downtime today some European teams shared how they got into the class and why this event was worth the trip. Bliksem, Pieter Taselaar's team has done more North American Regattas than any other European team in the last few years. He is drawn to the Miami winter series year after year because of the warm weather and great atmosphere, one that reminds him of some of the best M32 sailing venues in Europe. "For the European teams," Said Taselaar, "come down in January, February, March or April. 25 degree's celsius, 12 knot breezes, you can't ask for anything better and Miami is a great city."

This is Richard Goransson's third season in the class on Inga From Sweden. The M32 was his first multi-hull boat. "I was a bit intimidated at the beginning" Said Goransson, "but it works out pretty well, and I really really enjoy it. It's just a lot simpler than most other classes." Goransson started the Worlds strong with a 2nd and a 3rd place, but got caught over the line early in a couple of the races on day one and is now aiming to climb the leaderboard in the next two days of racing.

On the Vikings it is Hakan Svensson's first time back in Miami after a couple of years, but Hakan has been involved in the class since its inception in 2013 and is partly responsible for its recent growth. Leeloo is one of those new teams. Their helm, Harold Vermeulen, and his team of friends were drawn to the one-design competition of the M32 after trying the boat in Miami in 2019. "I was on the boat once and I was hooked." Said Vermeulen

The US fleet has been growing exceptionally fast over the last couple of years and all of the European teams commented that they were eager to get more experience racing in the big World Championship fleet. They will have two more days to do just that and you can expect the race committee to make the most of it. The first race of day three will be one hour earlier and the race committee is rumored to be planning 7 races on the day. The forecast is for a northeast wind blowing down over the towers on south beach. It's a shifty direction for Miami so no position is safe yet.

M32 World Championships at Miami - Day 1
Sailors – coffee in hand – trickled down to their boats at the Shake-A-Leg Miami waterfront center on day one of the M32 World Championships. They checked the final preparations on their boats, cleaned hulls, and hoisted gennakers. Biscayne Bay showed a steady 10-15 knots of breeze blowing down from Bear Cut Bridge in the east and a few glimmers of sun poked through the high cloud cover. Nineteen races have been scheduled over four days. And, with the potential for inclement weather late on day one, the race committee was eager to get on the water and take advantage of the conditions. They got right into position and managed 5 races on day one.

If the two days of pre-worlds racing Monday and Tuesday this week were any indication of the competition to come, you can expect a strong title fight from Don Wilson on Convexity, Pieter Taselaar on Bliksem, and Anthony Kotoun on Catapult. Convexity and Bliksem are no strangers to the top of the M32 podium, but Catapult is a dark-horse team. Kotoun has been more often a tactician than a helm.

At the end of day one, Wilson sat in first with Kotoun in second, only two points behind. Of course, as the old racing adage goes, it can be bad luck to win the pre-worlds. Ryan McKillen and his team Surge were out to prove that point today with 23 points across five races, a performance solid enough to put them in third place going into day 2 and striking distance from the top of the podium. “You can’t win on the first day, but you can lose it,” Said McKillen, “so we’re happy to be in the mix.”

Team Midtown, driven by Larry Phillips, made a statement today by winning race three to find themselves within reach of the podium (and only one point behind surge.) They sported a brand new Siren-themed livery on their bright orange bows, making them hard to miss on the racecourse. But, there is still no clear frontrunner at this point in the World Championships – 4 different teams won races today. Defending World Champion Convexity struck first by winning the first race. “In that race we got to the reach mark in first and stayed ahead and that’s obviously a great feeling.” said helm Don Wilson after the race. Catapult, Bliksem, and Midtown all took their own race victories before the day was done.

The sheer size of the fleet made congestion around the race course a tactical challenge and the teams whose drivers and tacticians guided them cleanly through traffic reaped the benefits. Andrew Campbell of Midtown said after racing: “If we could stay clean we were happy.” Pursuit, driven by Bill Ruh, was not so lucky and picked up a couple of penalty points early in race three when, tacking onto port in a tight space, they caught a piece of team Bliksem. On-the-water umpire Remy Donraadt was right there to make a quick judgement on the penalty. Pursuit tactician Rome Kirby now has his work cut out for him to put his team back on the right track over the rest of the weekend. It won’t be easy, but it’s too early to count this team out.

Alongside Donraadt, umpires Craig Mitchell, Brad Dellenbaugh, and Christine Accettalla are governing fair racing all weekend so sailors returning to the dock can be free to focus on enjoying the festivities with the rest of the fleet. At the end of the day sailors enjoyed a Mexican grill with Bacardi drinks to refuel for tomorrow – there is plenty of racing left.

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