Lovell Takes The Lead At Melges 32 Worlds In San Francisco
23 September 2010
San Francisco, California - The first day of racing at the 2010 Melges 32 World Championship, hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club is complete, revealing Andy Lovell on Rougarou, alongside of his brother, tactician Johnny Lovell in the overall lead. In second place, from New Zealand is Stefan Goldwater with tactician Andrew Wills on Tirade and in third, is Alex Jackson and tactician Rob Greenhalgh on Leenabarca.
Although the top three are certainly more than worthy of winning, they were the least likely of candidates everyone thought would occupy the top three positions after a full day of racing. For Lovell, this is a homecoming of sorts as last year, about this same time, he won the 2009 Melges 32 U.S. National Championship that was held in conjunction with the Rolex Big Boat Series. He's only competed once since. This is Goldwater's third regatta after taking delivery of his brand new Melges 32 in Harbor Springs, Mich. last July. Alex Jackson just came of age this past May becoming the East Coast Champion in Rye, N.Y. All three are the very best of opponents and now share a 10 point spread as the top three, in a field of 32.
Three races were held under plentiful sunshine and building, perfect breeze-on conditions. First around the mark was Doug Douglas' Goombay Smash with the efforts of tactician Russell Coutts, with Goldwater on his heels. "It was a lot of fun." said a cool, calm and collected Goldwater. "I think we got lucky." Regardless, luck wielded its way and played in Goldwater's favor for an incredible first race win. Goldwater finished miles ahead of second place finisher Lovell. Comeback of the day goes to John Porter on Full Throttle. At the start of the race, Porter was OCS but worked it out beat-by-beat, played the fleet and the breezy conditions to take an incredible third place position. Yukihiro Ishida on Yasha Samurai was fourth and in fifth was North American Champion Don Jesberg on Viva.
Race two introduced more breeze, the waves grew larger and the intensity of racing increased as well. Coutts called the shots putting Goombay Smash in all the right places to win. Rod Jabin, with tactician Chris Larson on Ramrod, took to the right side of the course then played the center to keep up with Douglas' speed, only to settle for second. It was his best effort of the day. Goldwater had another great race taking third.
The last and final race of the day was all about endurance. After two races at a distance of 2.0 nm, PRO John Craig ordered a five-legger as the breeze built to a pleasant 22-23 knots. Larger seas and square chop led the fleet into an initial first start resulting in a general recall. Craig clearly knows how to handle this fleet, immediately putting the Z-Flag penalty into effect. Italy's Luca Lalli on B-lin Sailing battled the entire race to hold off both Lovell and Jackson for a win. "The red boat is really fast (referring to Rougarou). This was very difficult. Very good racing, but very difficult. The waves made the sailing very challenging. The strong breeze made for really fun downwind sailing." said the young Lalli. "The competition here is really tough." Reigning World Champion Pieter Taselaar on Bliksem finally found a groove to take second and Lovell was third.
At the end of the day, tactician Lovell commented. "We kind of felt things were pretty straight forward. We looked to the committee boat end almost ever time, tacked, then went right. We had good boat speed and really good boat handling downwind. We just tried to make as few mistakes as possible."
Racing continues on Thursday with at least two more races.
Special thanks to everyone who tuned in to Watch LIVE from the course, presented by Velocitek. Sail Groove's Chris Love and commentator, St. Francis Yacht Club Junior Director Mike Kalin kept everyone entertained. Everyone is encouraged to tune in as the racing in San Francisco is by far, the most incredible Melges 32 competition ever seen. Updates will also be made available on the official Melges 32 Facebook and Twitter pages. Live Tracking is also available by Kattack.
Top Ten Results (After 3 Races)
1.) Andy Lovell/Johnny Lovell, Rougarou; 2-4-3 = 9
2.) Stefan Goldwater/Andrew Wills, Tirade; 1-3-8 = 12
3.) Alex Jackson/Rob Greenhalgh, Leenabarca; 10-5-4 = 19
4.) Luca Lalli/Lorenzo Bressani, B-lin Sailing; 16-6-1 = 23
5.) Robert Hughes/Torvar Mirsky, Heartbreaker; 11-8-7 = 26
6.) Doug Douglas/Russell Coutts, Goombay Smash; 13-1-14 = 28
7.) Joe Woods/Paul Goodison, Red; 7-20-5 = 32
8.) Jeff Ecklund/Harry Melges III, STAR; 6-19-9 = 34
9.) John Porter/Jonathan McKee, Full Throttle; 3-23-10 = 36
10.) Yukihiro Ishida/Tony Rey, Yasha Samurai; 4-21-11 = 36
Visit the official website of the International Melges 32 Class Association. If you are unable to attend the 2010 Melges 32 World Championship, stay in touch by subscribing to the IM32CA RSS Feed or visiting the Official Melges 32 Blog. The Melges 32 can also be found on Facebookand Twitter.