Thursday, March 11, 2010

Audi Melges 20 At Bacardi Miami Sailing Week

Joy Dunigan
An Incredible Start For The Audi Melges 20 At Bacardi Miami Sailing Week

March 11, 2010 (Miami, Fla.) - With breeze on conditions forecasted, 15 Audi Melges 20s made their way out on to the race course for the first day at Bacardi's Miami Sailing Week, hosted in part by Coconut Grove Sailing Club (CGSC), supported by Shake-A-Leg Miami and Melges Performance Sailboats. Leading the field of fierce competitors is 2010 Miami Winter Series leader Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on STAR, followed closely by Peter Keck (Lake Geneva, Wisc.) on M & M Sailing. In third, is Michael Kiss (Macatawa Bay, Mich.) on Bacio.

Three great, short and sweet (1.0 nm), Course 4 races were held under mostly cloudy skies. Racing commenced on time with Marc Hollerbach (Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.) on Fu and Kiss rounding dead even at the first mark challenging one another for the lead. Hollerbach won the offset with Kiss in tow, then Ecklund, Eric Wynsma (East Grand Rapids, Mich.) on Superfly and Joel Ronning (Excelsior, Mn.) on Catapult in fifth. Ecklund slowly but surely advanced to the front, overtaking the lead position for the win. Wynsma came on strong to take second with Hollerbach holding in to finish third.

Race two presented another pretty aggressive start with Keck and Ronning having great starts. Ronning surged to round the first mark in the lead with Ecklund and Wynsma looking to get in on the top spot action. Keck made great progress all race long, eventually working his way into the third position. It wasn't until the last beat and run to the finish that Ecklund found a fast lane to beat Ronning to the finish, taking his second bullet of the day. Ronning, with Bill Hardesty calling tactics held on for second, and Keck took third.

The last and final race of the day witnessed peeks of sunshine and a lot lighter air than what the fleet originally started with. Race three was all Keck. It was a stellar performance as he placed himself, with Sam Rogers as tactician and Bill Ward aboard, miles ahead of the fleet to take an indisputable win. Hollerbach, who started along side of Keck at the pin end, also had a great race to finish in second. Despite a poor start, Ecklund fought back with great conviction to take the third spot, allowing him to capture the first place overall lead.

Post race, Melges Performance Sailboats' Andy Burdick presented another informative tech-talk episode featuring Steve Hunt, tactician aboard Hollerbach's Fu, Marc Hollerbach; Morgan Reeser and Scott Nixon, tactician aboard Chuck Holzman's Flyer. Video uploads of all the discussions will be made available shortly via the Official Audi Melges 20 Class YouTube Channel.

More great racing continues on Friday, with three more races scheduled and anticipated big breeze conditions. Ecklund is the overall leader with Keck in second, only behind three slim points. Kiss is in third, with a total of 13 points.

TOP TEN RESULTS (After 3 Races)
1.) Jeff Ecklund, STAR; 1-1-3 = 5
2.) Peter Keck, M&M Sailing; 4-3-1 = 8
3.) Michael Kiss, Bacio; 5-4-4 = 13
4.) March Hollerbach, Fu; 3-9-2 = 14
5.) Eric Wynsma, Superfly; 2-5-7 = 14
6.) Chuck Holzman, Flyer; 6-6-5 = 17
7.) Joel Ronning, Catapult; 9-2-8 = 19
8.) Erwyn Naidoo, Bohica; 7-8-6 = 21
9.) Robert Wilber, Cinghaile; 10-7-10 = 27
10.) Chris Dold/Peter Kozicz, CAN-142; 8-10-11 = 29

Full ResultsView Photo GalleryOfficial Event Website