Ecklund Wins Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series Event No. 1

14 December 2009

13 December 2009 (Miami, Fla.) - On close, competitive Biscayne Bay, the 2010 Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series Event No. 1 concluded with Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on STAR, and crew members Bora Gulari and George ‘Bear’ Peet as champions. Trying to fill Ecklund’s superstar-size, top-notch helmsman shoes was substitute-helm, good friend and fellow Lauderdale Yacht Club member Tom Lihan. Ecklund won the event on count back after Saturday’s solid performance. Tied for first in points, occupying second place overall is Eric Wynsma (East Grand Rapids, Mich.) on Superfly and in third was fleet newcomer Robert Wilber (Stone Creek, Conn.) on Cinghaile.

Two more amazing races were held with the breeze ever so slightly shifting for the first start of the day. Under gorgeous blue skies, plentiful sunshine and light, but decent breeze two general recalls resulted in resetting the line for a course 4, bearing of 150 at a distance of .6. Once off the line it was Jim Hilgard (Godfrey, Ill.) onCrystal Spirit and Wynsma fighting for the mark, dueling to the gate, back around and to the finish. Wynsma clinched the win by a foot. Dave Hammett (Washington Grove, Md.) on Simplified Sophistication rebounded after a tough Saturday only to burst on the Sunday scene with at third place finish for race one.

The last race of the day and final in the race series brought on more of the light and tricky stuff. Wynsma came on strong again, but just could not pull off the better than needed score to beat the STAR team. Wilber poured on the speed putting him well ahead of the fleet for the win. Wynsma took second. Hammett, again found himself in third.

A very special thanks to everyone that made this event extraordinary. Regatta Chair Ron Rostorfer did an outstanding job of simply making sure everyone was taken care of, the Coconut Grove Sailing Club was the absolute perfect host with an awesome line-up of knowledgeable and hospitable volunteers. Bruce Golison and his hard-working race committee did everything right. They managed the shifts making this one of the very best, well-run regattas ever!

Many kind thanks to Melges Performance Sailboats as both Harry Melges and Andy Burdick were right there assisting and supporting racers with anything and everything they needed! Thank you MELGES!

All Audi Melges 20s should plan to attend Miami Winter Series Event No. 2 on February 19-21 - same place, same great Melges sportboat racing.

1.) Jeff Ecklund, STAR - 1-1-1-1-[6]-6 = 10
2.) Eric Wynsma, Superfly - 2-3-[4]-2-1-2 = 10
3.) Robert Wilber, Cinghaile - 7-2-[9]-6-5-1 = 21
4.) Marc Hollerbach, Fu - 6-4-2-4-7-[8] = 23
5.) Mary Anne Ward, M&M Sailing - [8]-5-5-5-4-4 = 23
6.) Jim Higard, Crystal Spirit - [9]-6-7-7-2-5 = 27
7.) Peter Kozicz, CAN-142 - 5-7-3-3-9-[10] = 27
8.) Joe Williams, Lift Ticket - 4-8-6-[9]-8-7 = 33
9.) Erwyn Naidoo, Bohica - 10-9-8-8-12-[13] = 47
10.) David Hammett, Simplified Sophistication - [14/DNF]-14/DNC-14/DNC-14/DNC-3-3 = 48

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Press releases, race reports and photos will be issued daily. Stay tuned to the Official Audi Melges 20 Web Site, the Official Audi Melges 20 Blog, Melges.com and Melgeseurope.com for all the details. You can also follow the Audi Melges 20 on Twitter. Join, bookmark and subscribe today to stay on top of all things Audi Melges 20.

The Inaugural Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series is hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club, Shake-A-Leg and supported by Melges Performance Sailboats. The series, comprised of three regattas spanning December through March, offers Audi Melges 20 sailors a great escape from the cold and snow to enjoy the Florida
sunshine, top flight competition, the very best in sportboat sailing conditions and high-level race management.

• SERIES EVENT NO. 1 - December 11-13 (Saturday, Sunday racing)
• SERIES EVENT NO. 2 - February 19-21 (Saturday, Sunday racing)
• SERIES EVENT NO. 3 - Bacardi Miami Sailing Week, March 10-13 (Thursday, Friday and Saturday racing)

The Inaugural Miami Winter Series leads off the eight high-powered events on the 2010 Audi Melges 20 USA Sailing Series schedule.