Sunday, September 6, 2009

Melges 32: Kilroy In The Lead

2009 Melges 32 North American Championship Underway With Kilroy In The Lead
Sausalito, Calif. (September 6) - The first day of racing at the 2009 Melges 32 North American Championship, hosted by the Sausalito Yacht Club was nothing short of phenomenal. Absolutely gorgeous conditions prevailed as the International Melges 32 Class Association’s first intercontinental regatta got underway with three races at the top of Olympic Circle on San Francisco Bay.

Out front overall with a 4 point lead is John Kilroy (San Francisco, Calif.) on USA-13131 Samba Pa Ti over second place Don Jesberg (San Francisco, Calif.) on USA-162 Viva. In third, is Stephen Pugh (Sausalito, Calif.) on USA-158 Taboo.

Teams were treated to plentiful sunshine, a comfortable, breezy 15-20 knots and a steady course bearing of 195 degrees with a distance of 1.3 nm.

After a clean, fast start, race one delivered Pugh around the first weather mark in the lead, followed by Jim Swartz (Edgartown, Mass.) on USA-007 Q and Andy Lovell (New Orleans, La.) on USA-136 Rougarou. Lovell’s team, which also features his brother, Olympic medallist Johnny Lovell, looked good initially, however got a full dose of Melges 32 reality downwind as they fell off the pace struggling with their spinnaker.

Kilroy, with Morgan Reeser acting as tactician blasted forward, just catching up to Swartz. Pugh held on to the top spot through the gate, but Kilroy wanted more. Pugh held on to the lead around the last weather mark of the race, Kilroy close behind. Downwind, Kilroy found a gear that no one else seemed to possess. He beat Pugh right at the line by less than a boat length. Swartz held on for third, Jesberg placed fourth and Philippe Kahn (San Francisco, Calif.) on USA-166 Pegasus 32 was fifth.

Kilroy continued to dominate in race two, but not without some exciting and bizarre mark rounding occurrences. In particular, the first rounding had Kilroy with a clear lead at the weather mark. Happening simultaneously, to leeward, near the offset, Pugh and Derek Campbell (Seattle, Wash.) on USA-138 Banshee seemed to be waging their own war. Campbell forced Pugh above the offset, then tacked literally head-on into Kilroy and the rest of the fleet making their way down the spreader leg. Kilroy, Lovell and Swartz frantically dodged to avoid a major collision with Campbell. Adding insult to injury, Campbell hit the offset mark as well, officially sending him to the end of the line. Kilroy had a huge lead going on to win the race adding another bullet to his bag. Kahn finished second, Jesberg was third and Pugh managed a nice recovery to finish fourth. Swartz finished fifth.

Race three gave new life to the championship with the spectacular, all-Corinthian effort of Jesberg’s Viva. Assuming the lead from the very start, Jesberg sailed smart and progressively increased his lead with every leg of the race, winning by a minimum ten boat lengths ahead of Kilroy. Pugh was third, Kahn fourth and Lovell rounded out the top five.
Racing continues on Monday, Labor Day, September 6. Three more races are scheduled with equally exceptional conditions.

EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRYCompetitors are reminded, immediately following racing on Monday, the Sausalito Yacht Club will host a Melges 32 NAC, Labor Day Bar-B-Que! Great food, lots of beer and drink will be available well into the evening. Everyone is invited!
Full Results (After 3 races)1.) John Kilroy - 1-1-2 = 42.) Don Jesberg - 4-3-1 = 83.) Stephen Pugh - 2-4-3 = 94.) Philippe Kahn - 5-2-4 = 115.) Jim Swartz - 3-5-7 = 156.) Derek Campbell - 6-6-6 = 187.) Andy Lovell - 7-7-5 = 19View The Full Crew Lists : 2009 North American Championship