Andy Burdick checked in with Kevin Neal, Corinthian leader of the 2022-23 MC Triple Crown Series after the MC Midwinters on Lake Eustis. Neal shared his thoughts on the southern venue and why he enjoys competing in the Triple Crown. He also shares some strategies that have helped him stay consistent and perform well in a highly competitive field.
Andy Burdick: Kevin, Congratulations on Winning the MC Triple Crown – Corinthian Division! You sailed great in all three winter events – winning Races and consistently being near the top. What keeps you coming back to the Triple Crown and Lake Eustis?
Kevin Neal: Thank you, Andy. Living in South Florida, Lake Eustis is the closest MC regatta venue to my house and it has become the lake where I sail most frequently. We are fortunate to have three big regattas there every winter each with between 50-90 boats and great competitors. I always want to compete against the best sailors and it was fun to have you back at the Triple Crown events this year sailing with us. Lake Eustis is a terrific lake for racing with a big sailing area, hardly any motorboats, and the people at Lake Eustis Sailing Club host fantastic regattas. Growing up sailing on Geneva Lake, I’m able to compete best at regattas with big fleets, on big lakes, in big breeze. When the wind blows during the Triple Crown, Lake Eustis checks all of those boxes, so I look forward to these regattas every year.
AB: What are your favorite aspects of the Quantum Sails Powerzone Main?
KN: I’ve been able to compete at the top of the fleet with this sail in medium and heavy air. I can flatten out the sail enough when it’s windy to keep the boat on a consistent heel but still with enough power to cut through the waves.
AB: You have been to a lot of regattas through the years. What does it mean to have the support of the Melges Team on site?
KN: You and I have been sailing MCs together at regattas for over 25 years. At one of the races in the Southeast Regional this season, we both sailed well and finished first and second in the race. You were the first to congratulate me when we got off the water and we chatted about the race. I’ve always enjoyed the competition on the water but the camaraderie and friendships off the water are very meaningful. The MC fleet strikes a good balance between these aspects of regatta sailing. You and the Melges team understand this about our fleet and reflect it. Also, it can be a lifesaver to have the Melges team on-site at a regatta when something breaks on your boat and you need a quick repair to get back out on the racecourse.
AB: The MC class has a big year planned with some fun venues. What events do you plan to attend and will you gear up again for the 2023-24 Triple Crown Series?
KN: I’m looking forward to competing at the MC Nationals at Rush Creek Yacht Club, where I have actually never sailed, and I’m hoping to sail in the ILYA Championship on Geneva Lake. The Triple Crown starts up again with the Southeast Regional regatta in November, and I’m planning to be back at Lake Eustis for all three regattas in the 2023-24 series.
This content was originally published on Melges.