A massive congratulations is extended to Marty Kullman and Mike Carroll (Clearwater, Fla.) on USA-131 New Wave. From early class beginnings, Marty and Mike have always been at the forefront of Melges 32 sailing. Today, they captured yet another major championship title, that of 2008 Melges 32 Gold Cup Regatta Champions! On board, making up this almost completely amateur team is Judah Rubin, Jay Kuebel, Steve Liebel, Ron Hyatt, Alex Shaffer and calling tactics was Scott Nixon. Nixon is no stranger to success as he just came off a victorious Melges 24 North American Championship with Terry Hutchinson a month or so ago in Annapolis, Md.
The day consisted of two dynamic races in which International Melges 32 Class President and reigning 2008 U.S. National Champion Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on USA-32 STAR really nailed the first. Overcast skies greeted the fleet down on the dock and again, it had everyone worried that gloomy conditions would prevail. Instead sunshine, warmth and most importantly breeze arrived even if it was short lived. The first start was clean with the exception of the big shift within a minute of the gun, jamming the pin end. Joe Woods (Torquay, UK) on GBR-700 Red took full advantage of room at the committee boat jetting out to the right. Peter Rogers (London, UK) GBR-121 Highlife went alongside, but the shifty conditions found John Kilroy USA-13131 Samba Pa Ti rounding the top mark in first, followed by Ecklund who had some serious speed. Gradually, Ecklund pulled away from the fleet, ever increasing his margin for the win. The battle for second was interesting between Stephen Pugh (Sausalito, Calif.) on USA-158 Taboo, Kilroy, Jim Swartz (Edgartown, N.Y) on USA-007 Q and Kullman/Carroll. Kilroy slipped further back to settle for sixth, while Pugh went on to take second, Swartz finished in third. One of two Italian entries Carlo Alberini (Pesaro, Italy) on ITA-186 Calvi Network took fourth while Kullman/Carroll were fifth.
Going into the last race of the day Kullman/Carroll and Swartz were dead even in the points. For Swartz, to win his first major Melges 32 championship title would be grand, but for the Kullman/Carroll team a victory would serve as a fixed reminder of just how strong a competitor the New Wave team really is, especially considering their last significant win was the 2008 Miami Grand Prix last March. A little after noon, the five leg race was conducted on comfortable seas and breeze pumping around 10-15 mph. From the start Kullman/Carroll punched the left side rounding the first windward mark in second behind Jason Carroll (New York, N.Y) on USA-128 Argo in first. Ecklund was determined still rounding third. It was tough but Kullman/Carroll worked their way to the front to edge the lead from Carroll; Kilroy and Ecklund followed closely. It was tight no doubt as Carroll and Kullman/Carroll split the difference at the first leeward gate. From there, Kullman/Carroll gained ownership of a solid lead, while Swartz suffered some six to seven spots deeper in the fleet with his hopes of a win fading fast. Carroll, although regularly challenged by Kilroy and Ecklund managed to hang on considering that at the last leeward gate Kilroy did occupy the second position, if only for a moment. Back upwind, Carroll regained his positioning and took the second place spot while Kullman/Carroll cruised across the finish line. Kilroy landed third, in fourth was John Taylor (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla,) on USA-1313 Ninkasi and in fifth was Ecklund.
FULL RESULTS (Final)
01.) Marty Kullman/Mike Carroll, New Wave; 3-13-1-2--4-5-1 = 28
02.) Jim Swartz, Q; 1-6-7-1--9-3-8 = 35
03.) John Kilroy, Samba Pa Ti; 9-2-3-5--7-6-3 = 35
04.) Carlo Alberini, CALVI Network; 10-3-2-6-3-13-4- = 41
05.) Jeff Ecklund, STAR; -1-10-10-[21/DSQ]-1-5 = 42
06.) John Taylor, Ninkasi; 11-12-5--7-1-8-4 = 48
07.) Kip Meadows, roXanne; 2-14-11-[21/DSQ]-4-2-15-7 = 55
08.) Joe Woods, Red; -7-4-7-6-12-10-11 = 57
09.) Edward Tillinghast, Dark n’Stormy; 4-4-19-3--8-14-16 = 65
10.) Pieter Taselaar, Bliksem; 7--6-4-14-11-7-17 = 66
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