Woods Challenges Ecklund For The Key West Lead
21 January 2009
The Melges 32 fleet encountered not only another two great races off the shores of Key West, Fla., they also took cooler temperatures and heavy air in stride as ACURA Key West 2009, presented by Nautica completed a third day of racing. Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on USA-32 STAR delivered another strong result by winning race one of the day. Joe Woods (Torbay, UK) on GBR-700 Red demanded their share of the spotlight by taking honors in race two.
Woods' challenge began early. In race one of the day, under partly cloudy skies and lumpy seas, Ecklund took the lead, but not without a challenge from Alex Jackson (Newport, R.I) on USA-666 Leenabarca with Dave Ullman aboard calling tactics who for the first time in the regatta seemed to get things dialed in on the boat. Woods and his Red team was right behind Jackson the entire time, never letting him or Ecklund think that they had the win totally secured. It was as tight leeward mark rounding as Ecklund took more of a firm lead with Jackson holding his own, and Woods maintaining the third place position. The three finished respectively.
Race two brought welcomed excitement to Woods. His start was right on putting him out front of the fleet almost immediately. Shifty conditions added to the challenge as Ecklund, Mike and Marty Kullman (Clearwater, Fla.) on USA-131 New Wave, Carlo Alberini's (Pesaro, Italy) ITA-186 Calvi Network vied for position and longed to catch Woods. As the race progressed, Woods simply pulled away from the fleet maintaining a comfortable lead to take the win. The Kullman/Carroll team got back in the game finishing second and in third was Ecklund.
With three days down and two to go, the incredible range in sailing conditions have certainly made ACURA Key West very intense. Even more intense is the very tight and calculated competition happening every day in the Melges 32. The slim point spread among the top five provides every indication that this regatta is far from over.
TOP TEN RESULTS (After six races)
1. Jeff Ecklund, STAR; 1-1-10-1-1-5 = 19
2. Joe Woods, Red; 2-8-3-5-3-1 = 22
3. Derek Campbell, Banshee; 4-2-1-15-18-3 = 43
4. Jason Carroll, Argo; 3-13-5-4-8-11 = 44
5. Carlo Alberini, CALVI Network; 8-5-13-6-5-7 = 44
6. Alex Jackson, Leenabarca; 6-9-17-7-2-4 = 45
7. Marty Kullman/Mike Carroll, New Wave; 13-10-2-9 = 34
8. Savino Formentini, Bitipi; 17-3-8-2 =
9. Jean Francois Cruette, Taboo; 18-12-4-10-6-6 = 56
10. John Taylor, Ninkasi; 10 RDG-4-7-16-9-10 = 56