Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kilroy Standing Firm To Lead The Melges 32 Fleet

Three days complete and two more days to go, John Kilroy furthers his lead at Premiere Racing's Key West Race Week 2010.

Key West, Fla. - Another eventful day of racing at Key West Race Week unfolded confirming John Kilroy (Malibu, Calif.) on USA-13131 Samba Pa Ti is still in charge of the fleet by a broad margin. Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on USA-32 STAR moves up into the second position overall after being provided redress for a mistaken OCS call in race five. In third, is Rod Jabin (Annapolis, Md.) on USA-206 Ramrod.

Beautiful, picture perfect weather greeted the fleet today as they anticipated two more challenging races. Lots of sunshine and warm temps returned with fleet newcomer Yukihiro Ishida (Tokyo, Japan) on JPN-203 Yasha Samarai charging for the early win under the brutally light air conditions, approximately 5-6 knots of breeze. Ishida came on strong extending his lead as the race progressed. More surprise results and new faces found their way to the front of the fleet such as Michael Dominguez (Newport, R.I.) on USA-184 Bronco claiming second place. Alex Jackson (Riverside, Conn.) on USA-174 Leenabarca held off Lanfranco Cirillo (Torri del Benac, Italy) on ITA-164 Fantastica in fourth coming on strong to take third.

The final race of the day was another spectacular showing of speed and tactical expertise from Kilroy and his Samba Pa Ti team comprised of Stu Bannatyne as tactician, Sam Rogers, Morgan Reeser, Eric Dorman, Shana Rosenfeld Phelan, Alan Nakanishi and Justin Smart. They withstood tough competition from Ecklund and his rival Marty Kullman (Tampa, Fla.) on USA-131 New Wave. Kilroy pulled off the win, Ecklund took second and Kullman maintained for third. Cirillo had a great race with a fourth. Rounding out the top five was Ishida.

With three days and six races in the bag, one should be hesitant to declare a winner. The Melges 32 is well-known for its highly competitive nature and Key West 2010 has proven just that — anyone can win in this class of boat!

Kilroy finds himself with a comfortable 13.4 point lead over Ecklund. As a multiple, previous Key West winner Ecklund cannot be under estimated. In addition to a solid crew core that includes Harry Melges, Scott Norris and Linsday Bartel he has also added Adam Burns, Peter Crawford, Sarah Callahan and current U.S. Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Bora Gulari to the mix. Jabin stand firm only .6 behind Ecklund in third. His arsenal features Gavin Brady on tactics, Joe Gibson, Mike Beasley, Ted Kaczmatski, Kate Torgerson and Ray Wulff.

Stay close as each day, the Official Melges 32 blog will be running with brief updates. Daily video uploads can be seen online at Offshore Rules.

Top Ten Results
1.) Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy; [14]-1-4-1-11-1 = 18
2.) STAR, Jeff Ecklund; 1-9-[15]-10-7.4RDG-2 = 29.4
3.) Ramrod, Rod Jabin; 3-3-11-4-[18]-9 = 30
4.) Calvi Network, Carlo Alberini; [12]-5-1-8-10-7 = 31
5.) Yasha Samarai, Yukihiro Ishida; 11-[16]-8-7-1-5 = 32
6.) New Wave, Marty Kullman; 2-13-13-3-[14]-3 = 34
7.) Red, Joe Woods; 9-6-[19]-6-5-10 = 36
8.) Heartbreaker, Robert Hughes; 5-12-6-2-12-[14] = 37
9.) Fantastica, Lanfranco Cirillo; [18]-8-12-9-4-4 = 37
10.) Leenabarca, Alex Jackson; [20]-2-7-11-3-15 = 38