Photo by J H PetersonPhoto by J H Peterson


10 March 2007

Only one word best describes the Melges 32 Class in Miami, Florida over the last four days especially if you look at the results — WOW! In true Italian style, Claudio Recchi on-board 'ITA-093 Let's Roll' maintained the even strain that was required to win. What is more impressive is that this is the second time Recchi has jumped on his Melges 32 and consecutively on top.

No boat did better in the Acura Grand Prix Championship than the Melges 32 'Let’s Roll'. The Italian entry, scorched the fleet in Key West then put forth an equally impressive performance winning Miami as well. “It’s a great class, a great boat and great competition. We are honored to have won two of the biggest events in the United States,” said Recchi, who owns a construction business based in Torino and Rome. “We faced a high level of competition here in Miami. There were five boats that were sailed very well. Our strategy was to sail conservatively, not too aggressively. We stayed out of trouble, relied on our boat speed and succeeded in being consistent.” That would be an understatement. Let’s Roll finished no worse than third in the nine-race series, posting back-to-back bullets at the end as an exclamation point.

Over the last two days and final four races of Premiere Racing's Miami Grand Prix nine race series, Recchi's results show he deserves the win. Heading into the final day of racing 'Let's Roll' commanded a slim two point lead over Jeff Ecklund from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on 'USA-32 STAR' and was four points ahead of Marty Kullman and Mike Carroll on 'USA-131 New Wave' from St. Petersburg, Florida. For any Melges 32 sailor having both of these successful teams on their tails would be a daunting experience. Recchi's flawless first race on Sunday was the product of an amazing start speeding off the pin end, then taking full advantage of a large left shift and extended each leg. The speed displayed by this team really set the standard for the fleet. None of the other fifteen teams were able to match his 2-1-1-2 score in races 6-9 deeming Recchi and his Italian army the 2007 Melges 32 Miami Grand Prix Champions! In addition, Recchi and his team are the first recipients of the highly coveted ACURA Grand Prix trophy — a prestigious award presented to the boat with the lowest combined score from Key West Race Week and Miami.

Saturday and Sunday's racing proved to be competitively tight and very tough to handle, even for the experienced Ecklund. A miserable 13th finish in race six really applied the brakes to his overall first place position going into Saturday's racing. Despite the hiccup Ecklund bounced right back scoring a fourth in race seven, then a 5-1 on Sunday resulting in second place overall. “Claudio is a very good sailor and he has a great team. They had very good upwind speed on the rest of the fleet and always sailed smart. They deserved to win,” said Ecklund. Stepping out again was Kullman/Carroll — another team that is sensational in skill and speed. Although their efforts were well credited they struggled on Sunday, Kullman/Carroll rounded out the top three finishers. Class newcomer Peter Rogers from Hamble, UK on 'GBR-121 Highlife' slipped to fourth after a tremendous start to the regatta — a bullet in race one on Thursday. Concluding the top five was Simon Williams from Newport, Rhode Island on 'USA-142 Fresh Guidance'.

Next stop for the Melges 32 fleet is fantastic Annapolis, Maryland for the Annapolis NOOD and the the class' very first East Coast Championship on April 27-29. Expect to see a big fleet and the best of the best, back on the line doing it one more time in the Melges 32 — the ultimate, the maximum in ultra high performance racing!