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North Sails NEWS
DREW DOES IT AGAIN
Pacific Yankee Team Wins Second Consecutive Worlds
Drew Freides, Morgan Reeser, and Charlie Smythe have added themselves to the #NSVictoryList once again by winning the 2018 Melges 20 World Championship in Cagliari, Italy. A bullet in the final race moved them ahead of Brontolo Racing, securing the regatta win for these defending champions.
We caught up with Drew after he returned from Cagliari and he had a lot to say about how he got to where he is now.
“I’d be missing something if I didn’t thank North Sails because Tim Healy, Per Andersson, Vince Brun, and the One Design team have just been great. We would never have done what we did without their help along the way.”
“We owe a lot of our success to our coaches, too. Vince Brun was all about boat setup, Ed Adams was our weather and current guide, and having them both was really helpful. Ed also helped us with strategy and how that relates to how we sail, making him a great benefactor to our team.”
According to Drew, it all came down to the last jibe on the final downwind leg. “We were in second and we needed to put one point between us and Russian Bogartys. Meanwhile the Italians on Brontolo Racing were coming in strong so we had to keep passing boats. We jibed on the Russians coming into the finish line to move from second to first, a call made by our tactician Morgan Reeser. It was a last minute call, and Charlie wasn’t 100% ready but pulled it off; unfortunately it all happened so fast, Morgan got caught behind Charlie’s elbow. So in the end, the only thing we lost was Morgan’s nose.” Blood and sweat paid off in the end.
“In this fleet,” Drew continued, “you have to have the ability to dig back. It’s one thing to win a world championship, but it’s much harder to defend it because you’re in the spotlight and everybody is looking at everything you do and trying to match it.”
Asked what he likes about the Melges 20, Drew commented, “There is just no boat out there like the Melges 20. It sails like a skiff-dinghy. It takes about 12 knots to get on a full plane and just rip! Also they have really complicated rigs and there’s a lot of nuance to the rig setup. Thanks to Vince and everybody, we really had our settings down.”
Drew also likes the need for constant improvement.
“The competition keeps you on your toes. We’ve been doing everything we can, trying to develop the 3Di Sails with our North Sails experts, and it worked well. Our competition is close behind though, so we still have to keep pushing. Personally, I never feel like I am good enough.”
With sail purchases limited by year and activity level, sail selection is very important. “You want to have the best options. You start the season out with three sails, then after you’ve competed in four events, you get one additional button. Then you are permitted only two more for the Worlds.” Drew wanted to keep his options open, so he waited to pull the trigger on getting his sails measured in until he was 100% sure.
Brontolo Racing started the season with using the new Mi-2 3Di mainsail, so Drew matched them. He felt going into the worlds 100% matched to his prime competition would make it a fair match. Regardless of the match, he is pleased with 3Di and how it adds to the program.
“We can honestly say we love 3Di. You can definitely see they last much longer, and that shape will hold and never fail. It never distorts, it looks perfect, and sets up like a wing. It’s phenomenal.”
“No matter what, we can hang with the front of the pack upwind. As soon as we round the top mark we rely on our speed, which is unbelievably fast. Downwind we use the standard Melges 20 models: the R2 Runner and V4-2R Reacher. Some of our competitors think we use something special, but it’s just the standard inventory available to everyone.”
Drew has been sailing with the same team for a couple of seasons now and is proud of his program. “My motto has always been if you surround yourself with the best people, it gets a lot easier. We have the best team. We’ve got a good dynamic in the boat. We understand where the rig should be in any given wind conditions. From there, we go sailing and focus on sailing, not on anything else.”
“North Sails is good at making sails. They want to create the best products for everyone. I love the company and I believe the sail technology far exceeds the rest, by far. With all the support we’ve received, it’s made a huge difference and has made this massive commitment a lot of fun.”