Melges 32 Outshines All The Rest At 2010 Miami Grand Prix
Miami, Fla. - For a second consecutive year, the Melges 32 fleet is the largest in attendance at Premiere Racing’s Miami Grand Prix with 23 entries, up four from 2009. Taking place March 4-7 in sunny, breezy and warm Miami, Fla., four days of some of the best racing conditions in the world are on tap for another 'who's who of sailing' field of competitors. Wednesday is slated for registration and weigh-in, racing takes place Thursday thru Sunday.
By glancing up and down the list of entries, it is obvious that this game could be won by a number of candidates. However, picking an absolute winner is pretty much impossible. Clearly, there are several who have won past major championships and can win again, such as defending Miami champ and reigning Melges 32 World Champion Pieter Taselaar (New York, N.Y.) on Bliksem with tactician Jeremy Wilmot. Fresh off of victory and obviously packing a lot of power and energy, is John Kilroy (Los Angeles, Calif.) on Samba Pa Ti with Stu Bannatyne on tactics. Kilroy’s victory crusade has been anything but short-lived, making him a potential major player this week. Jeff Ecklund on STAR with long-time friend and tactician Harry Melges, is another strong contender in Miami. Recently, he has been seen sailing, and very successfully honing his skills on the all new Audi Melges 20. Ecklund raced the new sportboat at the class’ Inaugural Miami Winter Series Events 1 and 2, hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club, winning both.
It would be no surprise to see 2009 Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series Champion Carlo Alberini (Pessaro, Italy) on Calvi Network at the forefront of the fleet. 2009 North American Champion Don Jesberg (Belvedere, Calif.) on Viva and Joe Woods (Torquay, UK) on Red may very well find their way to the podium. In addition, expect great things from teams such as Jason Carroll (New York, N.Y.) on Argo, Alex Jackson (Riverside, Conn.) on Leenabarca, Bob Hughes (Macatawa Bay, Mich.) on Heartbreaker, Stuart Simpson (London, UK) on Team Barbarians and Yukihiro Ishida (Tokyo, Japan) on Yasha Samurai.
The International Melges 32 Class Association (IM32CA) would like to extend a warm welcome to brand new owner John Porter (Lake Geneva, Wisc.) on Full Throttle. Porter has participated in the past only as a charterer and in fact, won the very first Melges 32 Miami Grand Prix in 2006. This is the first appointment for his world famous Full Throttle nomenclature as a bona fide owner with Jonathan McKee on tactics. Also, new to the Melges 32 scene is Carlo Perrone (Genova, Italy) on Atlantica 19 who first raced last month at the Primo Cup in Monaco. He returns to the course with famed tactician Lorenzo Bodini.
RED ALERT! JOE WOODS LEADS MIDWINTER RANKING
As the fleet awaits the commencement of the 2010 Miami Grand Prix, other hopes of success and triumph are also in the cards beyond this prestigious event. In the spotlight and leading the 2010 Midwinter Championship Series Ranking by five points is Woods. Two second runner-up finishes, one at Gold Cup and the other in Key West proves that this team can very well pull off victory. Second in the rankings is Rod Jabin (Annapolis, Md.) on Ramrod. Jabin came out swinging at Gold Cup with a win, finished eighth in Key West and sadly, is not present in Miami for the final heat. In third overall is Lanfranco Cirillo (Italy) on Fantastica. This amazing Italian ensemble put the fleet on alert that they are a strong force to be reckoned with. They are only six points out of the overall lead. Kilroy is in fourth, Ecklund is fifth. View The Full Midwinter Rankings.
Miami Grand Prix Entry List
1.) Argo, Jason Carroll/John Baxter
2.) Arethusa, Philip Lotz/Richard Clarke
3.) Atlantica 19, Carlo Perrone/Lorenzo Bodini
4.) Bliksem, Pieter Taselaar/Jeremy Wilmot
5.) Calvi Network, Carlo Alberini/Gabriele Benussi
6.) Celeritas, Dan Holloway/John Mollicone
7.) Dark n' Stormy, Ed Tillinghast/Charlie Enright
8.) Delta, Dalton DeVos/Brian Hutchinson
9.) Fantasticaaa, Lanfranco Cirillo/Michele Paoletti
10.) Full Throttle, John Porter/Jonathan McKee
11.) Heartbreaker, Robert Hughes/Charlie Ogletree
12.) Lake Effect, Bob Hesse/Jud Smith
13.) Leenabarca, Alex Jackson/Rob Greenhaigh
14.) Ninkasi, John Taylor/Anthony Kotoun
15.) Red, Joe Woods/Paul Goodison
16.) Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy, Jr./Stu Bannatyne
17.) Taboo, Stephen Pugh/Seadon Wijsen
18.) Teasing Machine, Jean-Francois Cruette/Christian Pontieux
19.) STAR, Jeff Ecklund/Harry Melges
20.) Team Barbarians, Stuart Simpson/Nigel Young
21.) Viva, Don Jesberg/Zarko Draganic
22.) Volpe, Ryan DeVos/Scott Nixon
23.) Yasha Samarai, Yukihiro Ishida/Charlie McKee