Friday, December 4, 2009

Lovell Takes The Gold Cup Lead

©2009 JOY International Melges 32 Class Association
Reigning U.S. Melges 32 National Champion Andy Lovell aboard Rougarou assumes the lead at the 2009 Melges 32 Gold Cup after three races.

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. - The first day of the 2009 Melges 32 Gold Cup Regatta supported by Henri Lloyd and hosted by the Lauderdale Yacht Club has revealed reigning U.S. Melges 32 National Champion Andy Lovell (New Orleans, La.) on Rougarou as the overall event leader after three races, a slim four points ahead of second place finisher John Taylor (Jupiter Island, Fla.) on Ninkasi. "I think we did a good job today, made a lot of adjustments constantly all day and I think it paid off. Our tactician did a great job today too." said Lovell after racing. "This is a lot more challenging than anything we've ever raced before." In third is Rod Jabin (Annapolis, Md.) on Ramrod.

Race one of the day began almost two hours after the original start time due to the lack of breeze. Under mostly cloudy skies, increasing lumpy seas and light breezes the twenty-three teams lined up for the first start around 1 o’clock with an initial general recall. The light air conditions toyed with the fleet as they sailed tightly into the windward mark with Jabin assuming the early lead. Once out front, he managed to hold off the likes of Bob Hesse (Elma, N.Y.) on Lake Effect, the youthful Ryan Devos (Harbor Springs, Mich.) on Volpe and Jason Carroll (New York, N.Y.) on Argo. As the race progressed, Lovell looked to get in on the action challenging Hesse, Devos and Carroll but Jabin came out on top to take the win in first, Hesse was second and Lovell settled for third.

For the start of race two, Jabin punched off the pin end of the starting line with Kip Meadows (Rocky Mount, N.C.) on roXanne and Alex Jackson (Riverside, Conn.) on Leenabarca alongside. Again, Jabin took full advantage of the right shifts to take the lead at the top mark, followed by Lovell and Stuart Simpson (London, UK) on Team Barbarians in third. It was a three way battle into the gate with Simpson just barely reaching the right-hand gate first. He struggled with the douse leaving Jabin and Lovell to round the left gate neck-and-neck, Lovell eventually got the upper hand assuming the lead. Lovell went on to cross the finish line first, Jabin took second and Taylor moved up to third.

The last and final race of the day featured John Kilroy (San Francisco, Calif.) on Samba Pa Ti with an aggressive lead right from the beginning, a charge he continuously extended throughout the race. The sun decided to make an appearance with the breeze building to a nice 8-10 knots. Making the move of the day was Lanfranco Cirillo (Tori, Italy) on Fantasticaa, just sliding into the second position at the top mark gaining big on Kilroy downwind to almost overtake the lead at the gate. Kilroy showed his strength never giving Cirillo the chance to advance. Cirillo finished in second to Joe Woods (Torquay, UK) on Red in third.

The regatta is young and two more days of high-powered racing are scheduled. Surely this event is far from over. Saturday beholds the Gold Cup’s famed Take A Junior Sailing Day.

Top Ten Results
1.) Andy Lovell, Rougarou - 3-1-9 = 13
2.) John Taylor, Ninkasi - 6-3-8 = 17
3.) Rod Jabin, Ramrod - 1-2-16 = 19
4.) Kip Meadows, roXanne - 10-6-4 = 20
5.) Lanfranco Cirillo, Fantasticaaa - 16-4-2 = 22
6.) Bob Hesse, Lake Effect - 2-15-5 = 22
7.) Jason Carroll, Argo - 4-8-12 = 24
8.) Stuart Simpson, Team Barbarians - 17-5-6 = 28
9.) Jeff Ecklund, STAR - 8-7-15 = 30
10.) Joe Woods, Red - 9-19-3 =

Full Results -