2008 John Payne Photography2008 John Payne Photography

Illbruck Takes Charge In Miami

6 March 2008

Twenty Melges 32s went head-to-head on Wednesday — the first day of racing at ACURA Miami Race Week 2008. Taking the lead is Germany's Michael Illbruck on Pinta followed closely by Jeff Ecklund on STAR in second and Marty Kullman/Mike Carroll on New Wave in third. Ecklund and Kullman/Carroll head into day two tied with seven points each — now that's tight sportboat racing!

Michael Illbruck and John Kostecki have sailed together for nearly two decades in a series of different grand prix designs, even partnering to win the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001-2002. Illbruck, from Munich, Germany, recently jumped into the up-and-coming Melges 32 class and has enlisted Kostecki’s services in order to get up to speed.

Illbruck has named all his boats Pinta and the latest placed seventh in Key West. Less than two months later, Illbruck and crew showed vastly improved boat-handling in starting Acura Miami Grand Prix with a second and third.

“Obviously, Michael has learned very quickly. Those guys sailed two great races today,” said Michael Carroll, co-skipper of New Wave. “I would say that Pinta has established the new mark that we all need to meet.”

Jeff Ecklund steered STAR to victory in Melges 32 class at Key West, edging New Wave by a mere two points. Those two Florida rivals are duking it out again here in Miami and finished the opening day tied for second with seven points.

Carroll, a Clearwater resident, said helmsman Marty Kullman and the rest of the New Wave team worked wonders to rebound from an awful start and finish sixth in Race 1.

“We got caught in the second row and started slipping sideways in the current because we didn’t have enough momentum,” he said. “We wound up ducking the stern of 19 boats, but we had real good downwind speed and were able to work our way back.”

Things went a bit better in Race 2 as New Wave hit the start line at full speed and never looked back in taking first in the 20-boat fleet. Q, owned by Jim Swartz of Edgartown, Mass. with Kimo Worthington calling tactics, also posted two outstanding results and sits fourth with nine points.

Principal Race Officer Dave Brennan and Event Director Peter Craig delayed the start of racing by about an hour and that proved a wise decision. An 8-10 southeasterly developed for Race 1 then built to 14-16 for Race 2.

Results, photos and news: http://www.premiere-racing.com

JOHN PAYNE PHOTO GALLERY NOW ONLINE!
John Payne is the photographer that brought us the beautiful photos from the 2007 Melges 32 Winter Tune-Up Regatta. Check out these great photos!

ABOUT 2008 ACURA MIAMI GRAND PRIX
March 6 – 9, 2008
Acura has been the proud title sponsor and Official Vehicle of the Miami Grand Prix, Miami Race Week and the SORC for the previous 8 years. They are joined by supporting sponsors Mount Gay Rum (Official Rum) and SLAM (Official Technical Gear and Retailer).

The Miami Beach Marina is the Official Site for this 2008 grand prix event. The Avalon and South Seas Hotels are the Official Host Hotels.

Event details, entries and past results are available at www.Premiere-Racing.com

Shake-A-Leg Miami is the official charity of both the Acura Miami Grand Prix and Acura Key West. For information about them please visit: www.ShakeALegMiami.org

Acura Key West 2008 and the 2008 Acura Miami Grand Prix are US Sailing sanctioned events.

Thirty-five Industry Partners bring their support through a program that is now in its 7th year.

Learn more about the Industry Partners and the Program on the event web site.

ABOUT ACURA
Acura offers a full line of technologically advanced luxury performance vehicles through a nationwide network of more than 260 dealers throughout the United States. The 2008 Acura lineup features five distinctive models, the RL luxury performance sedan, the TL premium performance sedan, the TSX premium sport sedan, the turbo-charged RDX premium sport CUV and the award-winning MDX premium performance CUV. For more information about Acura vehicles, please visit www.acura.com. For media inquiries, please go to www.acuranews.com.

For more information on Premiere Racing, 2008 Acura Grand Prix, and its Sponsors and Partners:

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Tel: (781) 639-9545 Fax: (781) 639-9171
Email: Info@Premiere-Racing.com
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