West Palm Beach, Fla. – The second day of racing in Palm Beach at the 2012 Melges 32 East Coast Championship was nothing short of dramatic. Three more races, a near perfect 12-15 knots of breeze, overcast skies and big seas put a wild spin on the leaderboard. Jason Carroll on Argo now leads the 16-strong fleet, ahead by three. Lanfranco Cirillo’s Fantastica shuffled back to finish the day second overall. Ryan DeVos on Volpe tumbled from second overnight to finish the day in third. Five points now separate the top three.
The first race of the day was chaotic to say the least. Joel Ronning’s Catapult and Pieter Taselaar on Bliksem rounded the top mark together, simultaneously snagging a line attached to a boat acting as the offset mark. Like an opening scene from the Daytona 500, Taselaar and Ronning struggled to free themselves as teams dodged the tangled boats. Cirillo sailed right by, but it was Carroll that would gradually pull to the forefront and win the game. Taselaar recovered very well to finish second. Alex Jackson’s Leenabarca, Alec Cutler’s Hedgehog and Cirillo rounded out the top five.
Race two proved to be equally challenging. The breeze and an unforgiving current continued to be a factor at the top mark. Prior to the start of Race Two, PRO Hank Stuart went through the proper procedure for altering the Sailing Instructions on the course. The offset mark was removed from the scheme of things leaving teams only one windward obstacle before setting the kites downwind. Steve Rhyne’s Mojo extended early taking the lead, R. DeVos slid around the outside avoiding the calamity of Phil Lotz’s Arethusa catching the anchor line off the bow of the windward mark boat. Rhyne held his own to finish in first, Cutler did well to finish second, just ahead of John Taylor’s Ninkasi.
Things improved for the final race of the day and so it appeared everyone was beginning to master the relentless monster current. Ronning nailed the top mark in first, followed by Roberto Tomasini Grinover on Robertissima, Michael Dominguez’s Bronco followed closely with no incident. Carroll pulled ahead once more at the second weather mark to lead the race, ultimately taking the win. R. DeVos had another great race as did Rhyne to claim second and third.
After six races and one discard Carroll moved into the overall lead. Based on the last two days of racing, it is impossible to predict who will come out on top after Sunday’s scheduled final two races. With the points spread so tight, the title of 2012 East Coast Champion is still very much up for grabs.
The camaraderie in the Melges 32 Class is second-to-none and après racing activities have been planned for each day. On Friday, teams enjoyed a very nice barbeque held at the Palm Beach Sailing Club. It was a perfect, first-day casual affair with great food and friends. Upon arriving at the docks on Saturday, complimentary beer from Ninkasi Racing was on hand as well as a lovely spread of foods to round out an eventful day.
TOP TEN RESULTS (After six races, one discard)
1.) Jason Carroll, Argo; 5-3--1-10-1 = 20
2.) Lanfranco Cirillo, Fantastica; 2-5--5-6-5 = 23
3.) Ryan DeVos, Volpe; 1--2-11-9-2 = 25
4.) Steve Rhyne, Mojo; 4-12-[13/ZFP]-7-1-3 = 27
5.) John Taylor, Ninkasi; 6-4-9/ZFP-5.5/RDG-3- = 27.5
6.) Alex Jackson, Leenabarca; 12-2-3-3--12 = 32
7.) Roberto Tomasini Grinover, Robertissima; 10-7-5-6--8 = 36
8.) Dalton DeVos, Delta; 3-10-4-[17/RAF]-16-4 = 37
9.) Mark Plaxton, INTAC; 8-1-13-7.5/RDG-8- = 37.5
10.) Pieter Taselaar, Bliksem; 9-[17/RAF]-1-2-11-16 = 39