LONE AMERICAN IN THE 2016 HOBART RACE

TRIPLE LINDY (dark blue hull) leading her class just after the start of the 2017 Sydney Hobart Race.
Duff Paisley photo.

Joe Mele's Swan 44 Mk II TRIPLE LINDY, whose home port is across the street from the founding UK Sailmakers loft on City Island, N.Y., was the sole USA entry in the 2016 Sydney Hobart Race.

Mele is a New York physician whose office is about the same size as the aft cabin of his Swan design Triple Lindy, which finished 6th in IRC 4 and 27 overall in IRC. (In ORCi he moved up to 18th overall while staying 6th in ORCi 4)

Joe wears a black plastic Casio watch, but he wants a Rolex. Joe wants to win one, not buy one. “I’ve decided I don’t want to buy it outright so I am going to keep doing these races until I win it, so it may be the most expensive Rolex watch ever bought, but I’ll be damned if I don’t try to get it.”

To that end, he has taken a sabbatical. “We are halfway through a pretty exciting year-and-a-half of racing,” he said after finishing the Hobart Race. “It started out with the Newport-Bermuda Race in 2016. The boat was shipped down to Sydney for the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Now we’ll go to Europe for the (Rolex) Fastnet Race and then on to the (Rolex) Middle Sea Race.

Joe Mele all smiles after knocking the Sydney Hobart Race off his "bucket list."

This year's Hobart race did see the fleet get slammed with a southerly buster, upwind conditions his Swan revels in. Instead, Joe said, "It was more like a Transpac race and we were not sailing a sled. Wind conditions were atypically DDW for most of the race; at one point during the first night we poled-out the No. 4 with great success in 30+knot squall when it was too windy to carry a chute.

"We used most of our sail inventory even the windseeker during one middle of the night two-hour near windless bit, but the A3 was the workhorse.  Surprisingly we never put a reef in the mainsail.

"We lucked out in not seeing the worst the Bass Strait had to offer.  The seas were confused and waves about 10 feet, reminiscent of the Gulf Stream.  The end of the race was incredible.  After crossing the line in downtown Hobart under full spinnaker we were escorted along a quay and received a standing ovation from over 1,000 fans. Every boat gets the same welcome.    The Aussies are amazing."

As for the boat's name, “TRIPLE LINDY is named after a high dive in a Rodney Dangerfield movie called BACK TO SCHOOL," said Joe. “I used to do a version of that dive as a young man, but when I was about to get married, my father-in-law told me it was too dangerous for a married man to do. Diving was a big part of my life and I needed to replace it in some way, so I started buying progressively larger boats and calling them all TRIPLE LINDY.”

After the race, Joe went cruising with his 85-year-old father-in-law in the archipelago off the south east coast of Tasmania on TRIPLE LINDY.