Saturday, May 16, 2009

Light And Tricky: Melges 32 East Coast Champs

Light And Tricky Conditions Place Swartz's Q In Charge At 2009 Melges 32 East Coast Championship

Rye, N.Y. (May 15) - Despite the brutal weather conditions on Thursday, seven Melges 32 teams prepared for racing at the 2009 East Coast Championship, hosted by the American Yacht Club. Friday's racing conditions were a complete opposite, placing Jim Swartz (Edgartown, Mass.) on USA-007 Q in first with a comfortable 5 point lead in front of Alex Jackson (Riverside, Conn.) on USA-174 Leenabarca, in third was Kip Meadows (Rock Mount, N.C.) on USA-77 roXanne. Light air and flat seas took control of the course for a remarkable, first day, resulting in four races.

Race one greeted the day with a general recall and extremely unsettled wind for the first start. As the fleet went into the second start sequence the breeze shifted to the right and a new course was set. Swartz's Q led the pack around the top mark in next to no breeze with John Taylor's (Jupiter, Fla.) USA-135 Ninkasi in second, followed by Jackson in third. Downwind the breeze continued right and the course was shortened for a finish at the leeward gate with only two laps completed. Swartz's Q went on for the win, Jackson moved into second as Taylor was hung out to dry on the left. The right paid big as Meadows took third. Taylor dropped to a disappointing sixth place behind Jason Carroll (New York, N.Y.) on USA-128 Argo in fourth and Geoff Pierini (Bernardsville, N.J.) on USA-178 Shakedown in fifth. Ed Tillinghast (new York, N.Y.) on USA-151 Dark n' Stormy was sixth.

A reasonable breeze piped in for race two with a bearing of 100 degrees, 1.2 nm for four legs. Light and very shifty conditions prevailed with calm seas and only about 5 knots of breeze for the start that was clean. Another astounding performance from Swartz's Q produced another race win. Meadows put down a great chase from the very start, but his efforts were futile settling for second and in third was Jackson.

Despite another win for Swartz in race three, race four finally proved to be the great challenge as local knowledge such as Tillinghast was put to the test and accepted the win. It was a clean sweep for Tillinghast as with each leg he extended his lead just a little bit more. Jackson did his best to catch Tillinghast, but settled for second, Pierini had a great race taking third overall.
More racing continues on Saturday with 'Take A Junior Sailing Day'.

Full Results (After Four Races)1.) Jim Swartz, Q; 1-1-1-4 = 72.) Alex Jackson, Leenabarca; 2-3-5-2 = 123.) Kip Meadows, roXanne; 3-2-4-6 = 154.) Geoffery Pierini, Shakedown; 5-6-3-3 = 175.) Edward Tillinghast, Dark n'Stormy; 7-5-6-1 = 196.) John Taylor, Ninkasi; 6-7-2-5 = 207.) Jasonc Carroll, Argo; 4-4-8/DSQ/7 = 23