Jeff Ecklund Leads The Melges 32 In Key West
19 January 2009
Day one of ACURA Key West 2009, presented by Nautica for the Melges 32 fleet was quite spectacular, and no one could agree more than Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on USA-32 STAR who placed two bullets in his bag to take the overall lead. In second place is Derek Campbell (Seattle, Wash.) on USA-138 Banshee and in third is Joe Woods (Torbay, UK) on GBR-700 Red.
The first race of the day, needless to say was interesting. The predicted weather forecast had everyone concerned that high winds might disrupt racing, however conditions produced just quite the opposite. Two solid races were conducted, with constant breeze delivering some really tight racing. From the very start of race one, Ecklund seemed to have the fleet in control as he turned the weathermark in second, right behind Jason Carroll (New York, NY) on USA-128 Argo. It was a proud moment for Carroll as he carries the only total Corinthian crew in the Melges 32s in Key West. Carroll's lead was short lived as ominous clouds loomed over the race course producing heavy rains and virtual white out conditions. With an apparent drop in temperature, a big shift was responsible for most of the fleet overstanding the mark. Ecklund stayed on track taking the lead for the win from Carroll who dropped to third, behind Woods in second.
After the rain passed, the skies opened up with plentiful sunshine and a breeze bearing of 275. The wind fluctuated for more than an hour before the race committee was satisfied. Eventually they set the marks and the fleet went racing once again, this time five times around for an upwind finish. Another great start for Ecklund put him back out front with some of the fleets favorite picks not doing as well as expected. It was a tough day for Marty Kullman and Mike Carroll (Clearwater, Fla.) on USA-131 New Wave as they just could not seem to get off the line fast enough. Kullman has said many times that the starts in this fleet are critical, and today was proof of how important that is. From start to finish, Ecklund held his own, barely challenged by Campbell. Monaco's Savino Formentini wound up third, followed by John Taylor (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on USA-1315 Ninkasi in fourth and Italy's Carlo Alberini on ITA-186 CALVI Network.
TOP TEN RESULTS (After two races)
1. Jeff Ecklund, STAR; 1-1 = 2
2. Derek Campbell, Banshee; 4-2 = 6
3. Joe Woods, Red; 2-8 = 10
4. Carlo Alberini, CALVI Network; 8-5 = 13
5. Peter Rogers, Highlife; 7-6 = 13
6. John Taylor, Ninkasi; 10 RDG, 4 = 14
7. Alex Jackson, Leenabarca; 6-9 = 15
8. Jason Carroll, Argo; 3-13 = 16
9. Stuart Simpson, Team Barbarians; 9-7 = 16
10. Savino Formentini, Bitipi; 17-3 = 20
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