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Ecklund Leads The Melges 32 Nationals After Two Days of Racing

27 July 2008

Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on USA-32 Star put his best moves on the Melges 32 fleet competing at the 2008 National Championship being held in conjunction with the NYYC Race Week at Newport, presented by Rolex. Ecklund went into the second day of racing seven points behind overnight leader David Hoyt (Stowe, Vt.) on USA-184 Goat. With a great deal of perservering speed and smooth boat handling, Ecklund and his team go into the final day of racing ahead by three.

Day two of the 2008 Melges 32 U.S. National Championship started off with beautiful, warm sunshine, blue skies and a light breeze of 5-6 knots. The first race of the day was all about old rivalries being rekindled mixed in with a lot of new fleet members getting their chance to shine at the top! Race one began on time under glorious conditions with a bearing of 210 degrees and distance of 2 nautical miles. On the start, it was fast as the entire fleet punched the starting line with speed. The breeze was pleasant, now up to 8-10 knots and a much calmer sea state, the right side of the course was favored on the first beat. At the mark Marty Kullman and Mike Carroll (Tampa, Fla.) on USA-131 New Wave rounded first, followed closely by Ecklund and Hoyt.

Downwind it was a feisty battle between Kullman/Carroll and Ecklund with Hoyt constantly creeping in for a piece of the action. Right at the last moment, Ecklund took the lead at the gate, then went right. Kullman/Carroll and Hoyt followed just the same. On the left, Pieter Taselaar (Scarsdale, N.Y.) on USA-169 Bliksem, Jason Carroll (New York, N.Y) on USA-128 Argo and Derek Campbell (Seattle, Wash.) on USA-138 Banshee all gambled on the left side and it paid off. At the final mark of the race, Taselaar jumped into the lead, Carroll rounded second with the Kullman/Carroll team managing to squeeze into third. Next in line was Campbell, then Ecklund. It was a heated race to the finish as Ecklund tried to get ahead of Taselaar on the final run. Taselaar eventually pulled away for the win leaving a four-way fight for second. Hoyt found himself back in the hunt along side of Ecklund, Campbell, Carroll. In the end, Ecklund's speed served him well as he took second, just ahead of Campbell in third. Hoyt was fourth and Carroll got fifth.

Race two was started immediately with a new course of 225 degrees and the wind on the increase. Soon it settled in at a more ideal 10-12 knots. With another clean start Taselaar, Ecklund, Hoyt, Bob Hesse (Elma, N.Y.) on USA-153 Lake Effect and Kate Mullin helming for John Sherlock (Mississauga, Canada) on CAN-134 Arkle all took to the left looking for that shift that would put them out front.

The racing was tight from start to finish with Carroll taking the lead at the first mark, closely followed by Campbell, then Ecklund. Downwind a new rivalry was established between Campbell and Carroll as they match raced into the leeward gate. Carroll took honors going right, Campbell rounded second and Kullman/Carroll split the difference with Ecklund on the right rounding third. For the final upwind beat Ecklund got the best of the fleet as he rounded the top mark in first, followed by Kullman/Carroll in second and Campbell in third. It was a tough battle downwind, but Ecklund pulled ahead for the win. Kullman/Carroll and Campbell finished second and third respectively. Kip Meadows (Rocky Mountain, N.C) on USA-77 roXanne had a fantastic race grabbing a fourth place finish followed by Taselaar in fifth.

Sunday is the final day of racing, where two more races are anticipated.

TOP TEN RESULTS

01.) Jeff Ecklund, Star; 2-7-2-1 = 12

02.) David Hoyt, Goat; 1-1-4-9 = 15

03.) Derek Campbell, Banshee; 5-8-3-3 = 19

04.) Marty Kullman/Mike Carroll, New Wave; 9-4-6-2 = 21

05.) Pieter Taselaar, Bliksem; 13-3-1-5 = 22

06.) Bob Hesse, Lake Effect; 10-2-12-7 = 31

07.) Stephen Pugh, Taboo; 4-6-14-11 = 35

08.) Terry McSweeney, Flat Stanley; 3-10-8-19 = 40

09.) Jason Carroll, Argo; 8-21-5-6 = 40

10.) Kip Meadows, roXanne; 14-14-9-4 = 41

Full Results

Photo Gallery Day 01

Photo Gallery Day 02

Full race reports, interviews and photo galleries will be posted online each day at the official website of the International Melges 32 Class Association.

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Visit the Official Event Website of 2008 Melges 32 U.S. National Championship, held in conjunction with the NYYC Race Week at Newport, presented by Rolex. Also, see the official website of the International Melges 32 Class Association.

For media photos and additional information about the 2008 Melges 32 U.S. National Championship please contact Joy Dunigan, International Melges 32 Class Press Officer on e-mail, or via phone at +1 (912) 398 5776.