The final stage of the 2016-17 M32 Series Bermuda takes place this weekend in Bermuda’s idyllic Great Sound with double points up for grabs at the fourth and final event of the series.
With teams weathering some tough Bermuda winter conditions at previous events with high wind and periods of heavy rain, the 5 boat strong fleet is reaping the rewards of a beautiful Bermuda spring and some perfect sailing conditions. The forecast is shaping up to be great for the weekend, which should allow for 15 hotly contested races, determining the event winner, as well as the overall series title.
Competing in his 4th winter series event, Don Wilson and his Convexity team are looking to bookend the series with another victory and secure the overall win. With limited training time, Wilson has done a fantastic job of jumping on the helm and flying on his signature blue and white M32, and will be pushing it hard to ensure those chasing him in the standings do not have any room for opportunity.
“Racing in Bermuda has been fantastic this winter, and we are excited to see the best of Bermuda’s conditions this weekend. Racing M32s in this venue…it doesn’t get much better. We will have to sail at our best to stay atop the standings,” commented Convexity tactician Keith Swinton.
Chasing Convexity and winning the third event with a tough fleet is Sally Barkow and an all-star female team on Team Magenta 32, sporting appropriate new pink sponsorship colours on their clothing and mainsail courtesy of Bermuda Tourism. Trailing Wilson by 1 point in the series with double points awarded for the final event, Barkow understands the final event will be a who beats who to take the title, and she and her team are more prepared than ever. “We have been able to spend a lot of time racing and training in the M32’s and have learned a ton about how best to race these boats. Winning the last event was huge not only to get back into the series, but our confidence as well. We are ready to do battle this weekend and see how it shakes out,” commented Barkow.
Deneen Demourkas and her famous Groovederci Team are looking to learn from their first event in March, and jump into the mix with some good races. With a brisk forecast, Deneen will be relying on her multiple Mumm 30 World Championships and years of Melges 32 Grand Prix racing to get her around the racecourse in decent fashion. Groovederci tactician Flipper Wertheim is anxious for the racing to get started, “We learned a lot at Event #3 and are excited to get the final event underway. These boats reward solid teamwork and punish for any little mistake, so we are looking forward to the challenge!”
No stranger to Bermudan waters, Mark Watson will be taking over the helm on 11th Hour Racing, and will rely on the experience of his crew of young rockstars led by Volvo Ocean Race veterans Charlie Enright and Mark Towill. While undoubtedly Mark will have some “learning moments”, the tight racing that the M32 fleet is known for should allow for some good racing for the greenhorn helmsman.
Rounding out the fleet is the man responsible for the worldwide M32 invasion, Håkan Svensson from Sweden. Not only is Håkan the founder of M32 World, but he also is one of the most enthusiastic competitors always wearing a smile on his face on and off the water, and reveling in the smallest improvements and gains on the race course. Coming off some great races in event #3, Håkan will look to continue his hike up the learning curve and take home some bullets this weekend.
The fleet enjoyed a solid day of practice racing yesterday with a full docket of racing scheduled today and tomorrow inside Hamilton Harbor. Regardless of how the standings shake out, the fleet is always welcomed back to the dock with a warm social reception at the Fairmont Princess Hotel in downtown Hamilton Bermuda. Stay tuned to see which team will emerge on top after this weekend’s final event and who will walk away as the 2016-17 M32 Series Bermuda Champion.
M32 Series Bermuda 2016
Event 1 8-10 January
Event 2 19-21 February
Event 3 11-13 March
Event 4 15-17 April