American 69F Squad Leads Miami Series

A winter worth of training in South Florida is serving the New York YC's Youth America's Cup team prospects well.
69F Select Series
The 69F Select Series continued in Miami in January with the second event of the Bacardi Winter Series. Alejandro Cruz/69F

Fresh from contesting the Youth Foiling Gold Cup 2023 Act 1 on Biscayne Bay, the foiling 69F line-up joined the Bacardi Invitation Winter Series Event 2 in Miami for three days of racing. Descending on the racecourse for 18 races over three days, in what marks the first event of the US Select Series, were six teams spanning North America and the Caribbean, representing Antigua and Barbuda, Canada and the United States.

Stunning conditions had the 69Fs flying around the track every day, with Rocco Falcone, Teresa Romairone and Filippo Amonti starting with a standout performance to secure Antigua Rhum Runners day one leaderboard glory. The following day, there was a switch between first and second in the ranking, as NYYC American Magic Team 1 dominated on the water, with outstanding teamwork and strategic brilliance from the USA’s Harry Melges IV, Severin Gramm and Ripley Shelley.

“Being here in Miami for the Bacardi Winter Series Regatta is always great,” commented Ripley Shelley, flight controller on NYYC American Magic Team 1. “I mean who doesn’t love a little of this?”

Putting speed in perspective, NYYC American Magic Team 1 clocked a max 28 knots on Day 2, averaging 25 knots downwind. Reflecting on the pressure of high-speed racing and closing speeds of 50 knots, Shelley added, “There is usually a lot of screaming and it gets intense out there.”

Severin Gramm, Harry Melges IV and Ripley Shelley
69F US Select Series No. 1 winners Severin Gramm Harry Melges IV and Ripley Shelley. Alejandro Cruz/69F

A mixed format for the last day featured six one-lap windward/leeward races, followed by three races on the quadrilateral course with a reaching start, downwind leg and reach upwind to the finish. It was another remarkable day for NYYC American Magic Team 1 as they scooped up five more wins.
“It feels awesome to come on top this weekend,” Melges said. “We had a really nice three days of racing. It was pretty windy the whole time, so we had some really good speed runs and tons of fun.” 

Commenting on what made the difference to their path to victory, he continued, “We were able to practice a bunch before this event, which was great, and the guys I am sailing with I have sailed with most of my life so that is pretty easy,” he added in reference to teammates Severin Gramm and Ripley Shelley. “I think our manuevers were really strong this weekend, so that really helped us.”

There was no change on the leaderboard order for second and third, with Rocco Falcone, Filippo Amonti and Teresa Romairone on Antigua Rhum Runners and Charlie Hibben, Ford McCaan and Cam Farrah on NYYC American Magic Team 3 holding firm.

The next US Select Series event will also be at Bacardi Invitational Winter Series, from February 9th to the 11th, always in Miami, Florida.