Marty Kullman & Mike Carroll Ride New Wave to Lead Melges 32 Gold Cup Regatta

6 December 2008

Long-time class veterans Marty Kullman and Mike Carroll (Clearwater, Fla.) on USA-131 New Wave have gladly taken the overall lead at the Gold Cup Regatta. Seated next to Kullman is none other than Scott Nixon calling tactics with co-owner Carroll, Steve Liebel, Alex Shafer, Judah Rubin, Ron Hyatt and Jay Kubel forming the winning crew. Trailing by one point in the overnight standings is Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on USA-32 STAR in second place, and tied with equal points in third is Carlo Alberini (Pesaro, Italy) on ITA-186 Calvi Network.

The Melges 32 fleet experienced yet another astounding day on the water at the 2008 Gold Cup Regatta. Not only did the three races and optimum conditions exceed everyone's expectations, but the level of competition was to the max. Making the day even more monumental was the Take A Junior Sailing Day aspect of the event. The Lauderdale Yacht Club (LYC) is known for its high-caliber league of youth sailors, America's best are home grown right here in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The International Melges 32 Class delivered today what no other class of boats has before. Exclusively, these young guns had the opportunity to sail against and with the greatest yachtsman and women in the world. Each Melges 32 carried a junior sailor aboard for the ride of a lifetime — an experience we are sure they'll never forget. This was the equivalent of playing a round of hoops with Michael Jordan; taking a few laps around the track with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or throwing a few passes with Tom Brady. They arrived at the docks this morning and outfitted immediately with the essential team gear — hats and shirts, etc. Instantly they were official members of the crew. Some were even provided the chance to helm the boat going out to the course and others in to the docks after racing. "It was really cool, and a lot of fun," said Alex Fox who was onboard with Alberini. "I didn't understand a word they said the entire time." says Fox of the Italian all-star team." Christopher Williford was teamed with Stuart Simpson (London, UK) on GBR-84845 Team Barbarians, "It was a lot of fun. Going into the mark roundings was cool, my favorite moment was putting up the chute," said an ecstatic Willford following racing.

Gorgeous, bikini-type weather prevailed for day two with breeze out of the south at 5-8 mph and calm seas. The first race kicked-off on time. With a clean start, the fleet was tight and the pressure on the course was really quite nice. Overnight regatta leader, Jim Swartz (Edgartown, N.Y.) on USA-007 Q assumed the lead immediately, with Kullman/Carroll in second followed by Edward Tillinghast (New York, N.Y) on USA-151 Dark n'Stormy in third followed by Alberini, then John Kilroy (San Francisco, Calif.) USA-13131 Samba Pa Ti. Swartz continued his winning crusade downwind, through the top mark and back for the finish to take the win. The Kullman/Carroll team launched an all out assault on Swartz, but the effort was not enough to better a result than second place. Tillinghast took third.

Race two commenced exactly one hour later with again Swartz loving the pin end of the starting line, while Kullman looked for an advantage near the committee boat. The first start resulted in a general recall. With as much as a 20 degree wind shift the pin and windward mark was reset for the second start. The second start was clean still with some crowding at the committee boat. The right side paid big upwind. Swartz was shut out on the right with Stephen Pugh (Sausalito, Calif.) on USA-158 Taboo taking the lead with Ecklund charging down the spreader leg, then blasting past Pugh on the left. Ecklund had speed. The breeze was improving with each passing minute and continued to build as the beginning fringes of an overnight front began to move through. At the gate Ecklund took over the lead. Pugh challenged as did Alberini, who gradually took over second. Ecklund took the win. Pugh regained second place, then Alberini finished in third. Kip Meadows (Rocky Mount, N.C.) on USA-77 Roxanne had a great race taking fourth, in fifth was Savino Formentini (Italy) on MON-1999 Bitipi.

The third race of the day, race six in a scheduled series of eight, the wind built to 10-12 mph and the start was wild with Pieter Taselaar (New York, N.Y) on USA-169 Bliksem coming across the starting line on port narrowly missing a couple of boats. Taselaar gave an immediate penalty turn, also making out like a bandit on the right with some nice speed. Coming into the top mark, intensity was the game with LYC's own John Taylor (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on USA-1315 Ninkasi rounding first, then Meadows and Ecklund in third. Ecklund was fully launched for the first downwind leg. The power and experience behind Ecklund's team was evident as once he passed Meadows, he then took the lead from Taylor and refused to relinquish the lead for another incredible win. Taylor took second and Meadows took third.

Sunday is the last day of racing and for the twenty teams competing the points are so very close. Only four points are spread between first and fifth place, and eighteen points separate the top ten teams. Two more races are on tap for the fleet. The breeze is expected to be 10-15 mph so, the best is yet to come!

TOP TEN RESULTS (Preliminary Results after six races)

  1. Marty Kullman/Mike Carroll, New Wave; 3-13-1-2-[17]-4 = 23
  2. Jeff Ecklund, STAR; [14]-1-10-11-1-1 = 24
  3. Carlo Alberini, CALVI Network; 10-3-2-6-3-[14] = 24
  4. Jim Swartz, Q; 1-6-7-1-[11]-10 = 25
  5. John Kilroy, Samba Pa Ti; 9-2-3-5-[10]-8 = 27
  6. Kip Meadows, roXanne; 2-[14]-11-8-4-3 = 28
  7. Edward Tillinghast, Dark n'Stormy = 4-4-19-3-[16]-9 = 36
  8. John Taylor, Ninkasi = 11-12-5-[19]-7-2 = 37
  9. Joe Woods, Red; 16-7-4-7-6-[13] = 37
  10. Alex Jackson, Leenabarca; 13-5-9-[13]-8-6 = 41

Full Results

PHOTO GALLERIES. There is a wealth of photo galleries now online for the 2008 Melges 32 Gold Cup, in particular Sharon Green, Lauderdale Yacht Club photographer John Payne and class photographer Joy Dunigan. Also, Sail22's Ed Fury has delivered the goods as well. A very special thanks to Protector Boats that has made the Gold Cup Photo Galleries possible.

VIDEO. Chris Love with Sailgroove.com has now uploaded plenty of video from today's Gold Cup races.

IM32CA BLOG. On the water reporting was conducted today. Racing highlights, photos and videos are all online. Catch-up on all things Melges 32 at the Official Blog of the International Melges 32 Class Association. Special thanks to onsite Melges 32 Class European Correspondent Justin Chisholm with Offshore Rules. Visit Offshore Rules for Justin's full reports.

ON THE WATER ANARCHY. Sailing Anarchy's famous On-The-Water Anarchy provided coverage on Friday with guest commentator Andy Burdick, president of Melges Performance Sailboats. Photos, video and more are also available online at sailinganarchy.com