Taselaar Riding High In Miami
7 March 2009
Pieter Taselaar (New York, N.Y) on USA-169 Bliksem sits atop the Melges 32 fleet with a firm lead of a healthy seven points ahead of John Kilroy (San Francisco, Calif.) on USA-188 Samba Pa Ti in second. Joe Woods (Torquay, UK) on GBR-700 Red is one of five international entries and seated in third overall.
The racing in the Melges 32 doesn't get much better than this. Fantastic sailing conditions prevailed, not to mention the high caliber competition. It was a beautiful day, perfect weather — sunshine, 10-15 mph of breeze, nice warm temperatures and relatively calm seas in comparison to previous days.
Race one of the day, race 6 in a series of 10 commenced with a clean start. Taselaar took an early lead rounding the mark in first, followed by Kilroy in second and Jason Carroll (New York, N.Y.) on USA-128 Argo in third. Marty Kullman and Mike Carroll (Tampa, Fla.) on USA-131 New Wave rounded fourth with John Taylor (Jupiter Island, Fla.) on USA-1315 Ninkasi getting in on a piece of the action in fifth. Kullman and Kilroy puts the moved on Taselaar downwind moving up to round the gates in first and second respectively. Taselaar took third, Carroll hanging on in fourth.
Back upwind Kullman strengthened his lead leaving Kilroy, Taselaar, Taylor, Carroll and Jim Swartz (Edgartown, Mass.) on USA-007 Q battle it out for second thru fifth. Kullman/Carroll took it to the finish with Kilroy coming in second, Carroll moved up to take third and in fourth was Taylor. Taselaar was fifth.
The second race was filled with some extracurricular excitement. About 100 yards out from the start, Bob Hesse (Buffalo, N.Y.) on USA-153 Dark Cloud unexpectedly took some of this team members for a swim when the starboard lifeline broke. The crew were immediately collected and returned to the boat unharmed.
In the meantime, Taselaar, Woods and Carroll each had great starts that ultimately helped put them to the front of the fleet. Taselaar had an instant lead, but not without viable challenges from Kilroy and Pugh. Pugh rounded the first mark in second with Kilroy in third. Taylor, Carroll and Kip Meadows (Rocky Mount, N.C.) on USA-77 roXanne put down a great chase for the lead as well. To no surprise, based on Taselaar's ability to generate great boat speed this week in Miami, his lead stood firm for the win, Carroll pulled forward to take second and Taylor gladly accepted third.
Race three provided Kilroy with the satisfaction he and his tactician Morgan Reeser had been seeking over the last two days. Reeser was quoted on Thursday, "we will get better." Reeser was right. Progressively, race by race Kilroy's Samba Pa Ti improved.
The racing today could probably be best described as brutal. The long, 2nm races required a good bit of endurance from the teams, the skipper's concentration included. With a consistent 10-15 mph of breeze and manageable seas, Taselaar jumped out early leading the first half of the race. Kilroy effectively took over at the second weathermark and held on downwind, crossing the finish line just a second or two ahead of Alex Jackson (Riverside, Conn.) on USA-174 Leenabarca, who had a phenomenal race as well. Jackson was right up there with Kilroy and Taselaar the entire time. Taselaar was third. Taylor came on strong on the final downwind leg to take fourth and in fifth went to Kullman/Carroll.
Looking ahead to Sunday's final two races, Taselaar has 14 points, a 7 point lead over Kilroy with 21, in third is Woods with 32. The real deal are positions fourth thru sixth. A mere 3 point spread separates Taylor, Swartz, Carroll and Kullman/Carroll.
TOP TEN RESULTS (After three races)
1. Pieter Taselaar, Bliksem; 1-1-1-2--1-3 = 14
2. John Kilroy, Samba Pa Ti; 2-6-3-4-3--1 = 21
3. Joe Woods, Red; 7-8-2-3-2--4-6 = 32
4. John Taylor, Ninkasi; 3--14-8-8-4-3-4 = 43
5. Jim Swartz, Q; 4-2-3avg1-5--14-7-9 = 44
6. Jason Carroll, Argo; 8-3-7-11-11-3-2- = 45
7. Marty Kullman/Mike Carroll, New Wave; -14-5-1-5-1-15-5 = 46
8. Alex Jackson, Leenabarca; 10-7-4-7-10--8-2 = 48
9. Carlo Alberini, Calvi Network; -4-6-9-1-6-12-11 = 49
10. Kip Meadows, roXanne; 5-5-9--6-7-6-13 = 51