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Twice as Nice, Ecklund Crowned 2008 Melges 32 U.S. National Champion

27 July 2008

Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on USA-32 Star with his friend/crew and tactician Harry Melges, III (Lake Geneva, Wisc.), Scott Norris (Newport, R.I.), Sam Rogers (Lake Minnetonka, Minn.), Lindsay Bartel (Annapolis, Md.), Clay Bartel (Annapolis, Md.), Jamey Randall (Lake Minnetonka, Minn.) and Peeter Must (New York, N.Y.) have been named 2008 Melges 32 U.S. National Champions for a second time. In second overall is Pieter Taselaar (Scarsdale, N.Y.) on USA-169 Bliksem, and in third is Marty Kullman and Mike Carroll (Tampa, Fla.) on USA-131 New Wave.

'It has been a really good year for Star. It's always great to sail with an incredibly talented group of individuals. We had a lot of fun this week," said Ecklund after receiving his award. "Harry is a star, I couldn't do it without him. We've sailed together for years and have a really good time, on and off the water. Scott Norris is a great trimmer and wonderful to have on the team. We are very lucky to have him on the boat. Lindsay is awesome on the bow, one of the few lady sailors in this fleet and has sailed with us now for a year and a half. I can't say enough about having Sam, Peeter, Clay and Jamey on board. Everyone did such a great job."

"I would specifically like to thank Henri Lloyd. They have been very supportive of our team by keeping us comfortable and dry, especially in conditions like today. We really appreciate their support," Ecklund concluded.

Going into Sunday's final races, Ecklund commanded the fleet by three points over David Hoyt (Stowe, Vt.) on USA-184 Goat in second overall. Following in third was Kullman/Carroll.

The first race of the day was very much like the first race on Saturday. A multiple of lead changes occurred with the fleet being greeted by overcast skies and winds building at 12-14 knots blowing out of the east-southeast. With a three o'clock cut-off the race committee, as well as the competitors were anxious to get in as many races as possible, especially with the pending weather report calling for strong afternoon thunderstorms.

The start was clean, Hoyt taking the middle with Ecklund choosing the left initially. Jason Carroll (New York, N.Y.) on USA-128 Argo, Bob Hesse (Elma, N.Y.) on USA-153 Lake Effect and Taselaar found another winning upwind groove as they were among the leaders around the top mark first. Downwind to the gate and back upwind to the closing mark of the race Hesse and Kullman/Carroll turned on the heat with Hesse ultimately making the move for the lead. With a nice set Hesse took off, Kullman/Carroll fumbled the spinnaker set, Taselaar took advantage of the situation getting ahead almost immediately. Carroll followed, then Ecklund.

Taselaar chased Hesse the entire final downwind run. It wasn't until the two were moments away from crossing the finish that Taselaar took the lead and won. Hesse settled for second and Kullman/Carroll maintained speed to take third. Carroll was fourth and Ecklund took fifth.

The second race was started shortly thereafter with a treacherous start at the pin end. An aggressive assault by the fleet resulted in four individual recalls — among them, previous race leaders Taselaar and Hesse. As the fleet progressed upwind a violent squall moved in, pelting the fleet with extremely high winds, brutal seas and torrential rain. Just before the fleet reached the top mark, the race committee called for abandonment, asking all competitors to return to the starting area while the force of nature passed. With another ferocious storm brewing on the horizon, all racing was called for the day and everyone basically ran for cover as it approached. On the way back in, teams were hit once again with higher winds and harder rain.

Congratulations to Jeff Ecklund and his team on a job well done. The class would like to thank all the competitors especially those that traveled long distances to be in Newport. A very special thanks to the New York Yacht Club for a fantastic party on Saturday night, especially to Brad Dellenbaugh and to Barby McGowan at Media Pro International.

TOP TEN RESULTS

  1. Jeff Ecklund, Star; 2-7-2-1-5 = 17
  2. Pieter Taselaar, Bliksem; 13-3-1-5-1 = 23
  3. Marty Kullman/Mike Carroll, New Wave; 9-4-6-2-3 = 24
  4. David Hoyt, Goat; 1-1-4-9-12 = 27
  5. Derek Campbell, Banshee; 5-8-3-3-9 = 28
  6. Bob Hesse, Lake Effect; 10-2-12-7-2 = 33
  7. Jason Carroll, Argo; 8-21-5-6-4 = 44
  8. Joe Woods, Red; 11-5-7-18-6 = 47
  9. Terry McSweeney, Flat Stanley; 3-10-8-19-10 = 50
    Stephen Pugh, Taboo; 4-6-14-11-15 = 50
  10. John Kilroy, Samba Pa Ti; 6-12-17-10-11 = 56

Full Results

Photo Gallery Day 01

Photo Gallery Day 02

MORE GREAT MELGES 32 RACING TO COME
The next event for the Melges 32 happens in Chicago at the 2008 Verve Cup on 15-17 August. This event, hosted by the famous Chicago Yacht Club promises to be terrific. Circolo Velico Santa Margherita Ligure takes place on 5-7 September and is the fourth of five Audi Sailing Series events for the class in 2008. Then, all eyes turn to beautiful San Francisco, Calif. for the prestigious Rolex Big Boat Series on 11-14 September.

These events and others rev up the fleet for 2009 including the first Melges 32 Gold Cup Regatta, hosted by the Lauderdale Yacht Club on 5-7 December. As in years past, the Lauderdale Yacht Club is really looking forward to hosting this first class event, where early expectations put the attendance number in upwards of more than thirty-boats. This is a dedicated Melges 32 event with great facilities, world class race management, racing and parties. Look to see some of the world's most high-profile teams to be there, many coming from Europe. Stay tuned to the official website of the International Melges 32 Class Association as more info will be posted soon.

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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.