Ecklund Holding Onto First Place After Two Days Of Racing In Key West
20 January 2009
Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on USA-32 STAR is still holding on to first place in the Melges 32 fleet competing at ACURA Key West 2009, presented by Nautica. Joe Woods (Torbay, UK) on GBR-700 Red trails Ecklund by five points, and in third is Derek Campbell (Seattle, Wash.) on USA-138 Banshee.
The first race of the day took place under overcast skies, lumpy seas and the breeze ever increasing throughout the day from the Northwest. For the start, the fleet experienced 12-15 mph of wind right at the gun. The start resulted in a several individual recalls including Marty Kullman and Mike Carroll (Clearwater, Fla.) on USA-131 New Wave. It was already a tough regatta for this champion team and the set back of being OCS just made it tougher. Fleet newcomer Jean Francois Cruette from France onFRA-158 Taboo; Jason Carroll (New York, N.Y.) on USA-128 Argo were among those that had outstanding starts off the pin end. The first upwind leg produced Woods rounding first, followed by Cruette and Stuart Simpson (London, UK) on GBR-84845 Team Barbarians. As the race progressed Woods found himself defending the top spot from Cruette on more than one occasion, only to find right at the finish line Campbell storming in from right field totally launched, blasting across the finish line just in front of the Woods and Cruette dual. The comeback of the day came from Kullman/Carroll as they came in from the left for a second place finish. Woods won out over the 2006 Melges 24 Corinthian World Champion Frenchman by just a short length with Cruette in fourth.
Race four in the series and final race of the day, found another great start for the Melges 32 fleet, again Carroll delivering the right punch line at the pin as he led the fleet initially out to the left. At the top mark, Steve Rhyne (Seabrook, Tx.) on USA-157 Mojo led the pack around first followed by the only lady helm in the fleet, Kate Mullin aboard the Canadian entry CAN-134 Arkle in second and Savino Formentini in third on MON-1999 Bitipi. Not far behind was Ecklund and Kullman/Carroll both clawing their way to the front.
Tuesday's races produced some of the tightest racing ever, the fleet incredibly compact as it went around the marks. With the breeze up to 20 mph, Rhyne was chased by Carroll, Kullman/Carroll and Alex Jackson (Newport, R.I.) on USA-666 Leenabarcawith Dave Ullman calling tactics then Carlo Alberini (Pesaro, Italy) on ITA-186 CALVI Network and Woods. Ecklund stole the show and the race in the last few hundred yards of the final beat putting him ahead of Formentini and Mullin finishing respectively.
Looking to the mid-point of the regatta, the Melges 32 Class heads into Wednesday with Ecklund ahead by five points.
TOP TEN RESULTS (After four races)
1. Jeff Ecklund, STAR; 1-1-10-1 = 13
2. Joe Woods, Red; 2-8-3-5 = 18
3. Derek Campbell, Banshee; 4-2-1-15 = 22
4. Jason Carroll, Argo; 3-13-5-4 = 25
5. Savino Formentini, Bitipi; 17-3-8-2 = 30
6. Carlo Alberini, CALVI Network; 8-5-13-6 = 32
7. Marty Kullman/Mike Carroll, New Wave; 13-10-2-9 = 34
8. John Taylor, Ninkasi; 10 RDG-4-7-16 = 37
9. Kate Mullin/John Sherlock, Arkle; 10-20-6-3 = 39
10. Alex Jackson, Leenabarca; 6-9-17-7 = 39
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