Kilroy's Samba Pa Ti Moves Into The Lead In Miami

7 March 2011

Miami, Fla. - The first day of racing at the 2011 Melges 32 Miami Championship, hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club, sponsored by Melges Performance Sailboats was filled with plenty of thrills, three races and three different race winners. Topping the leader board is John Kilroy on Samba Pa Ti (Nathan Wilmot, tactician) with a three point lead. In second overall, no stranger to Series success is Lanfranco Cirillo on Fantastica (Vasco Vascotto, tactician) and in third, Ryan DeVos on Volpe (Ed Baird, tactician).

The first race of the day delivered the harshest of conditions. Wind speeds of 18-20 and very gnarly seas took its toll as the race committee struggled to set the line. Once set, the fleet anxiously got off clean as the breeze was pumping full on at 20+ knots. Around the top mark in first was Japanese charterer and first time helmsman Makoto Uematsu (Tony Rey, tactician) on Yasha Samurai, followed by the very Italian Lanfranco Cirillo on Fantastica in second and Dalton DeVos' Delta in third. Making great strides in the first race, and taking full advantage of great breeze and pure pressure was Bob Hughes on Heartbreaker (Joe Ganldsfield, tactician). Hughes put Cirillo to the test, but Cirillo's tactician Vasco Vascotto outsmarted to take the win. Hughes was second, followed by D. DeVos in third.

For race two of the day, gorgeous conditions prevailed, and the monster sea conditions began to tame. This time, John Kilroy's Samba Pa Ti poured on the speed to win race two. "It was a pretty good day for us." said Nathan Wilmot, tactician aboard Samba Pa Ti. "The boat seemed really fast, crew work was good. It's going to be another great year in the Melges 32." Vincenzo Onorato'sMascalzone Latino pulled up for second place and in third, was Jason Carroll on Argo (Charlie Ogletree, tactician).

"It is so nice to see everyone here, and really, you can't ask for better than this." said Kilroy, post racing. "We are very excited to welcome everyone at the beer party tomorrow. It will be amazing. I think everyone will be quite excited about the entertainment we have planned."

The final race of the day featured a nice win by the young, and eager Ryan DeVos on Volpe. DeVos led from start to finish, holding off a heavy-duty assault from Kilroy and Rod Jabin on Ramrod (Chris Larson, tactician). "This was really fun. In the first race, the breeze was really blowing and we got a fifth. Which was pretty nice. We mainly just focused on going fast." said DeVos. Race three confirmed that winning in the Melges 32 class is no easy task. For America's Cup Challenger Onorato, race three was dissappointing to say the least. As if being called OCS at the start wasn't enough, on the first downwind run, Onorato limped around the course with no spinnaker after destroying the two he had declared. Kilroy claimed second and Jabin was third. 

"Today's racing was a real testament to our builder. Considering the conditions, these boats are really great." said John Taylor, North American Fleet President and owner of Ninkasi. "People did really well today. I think it shows just how far this fleet has really progressed since it was first introduced."

Saturday's forecast calls for a more civilized approach to sailing. A pleasant 80+ degrees and breeze in the 14-18 knots range - again, it should be another perfect day of sailing. Three points separate first from third and the DeVos' are tied with 17 point a piece. Tune in for some great conversation on Facebook at the official page for the Melges 32.

The Melges 32 class is the most popular sportboat in the world, and through the process of earning its reputation as an incredible, fun, fast competitive sportboat, it has also caught the attention of sailing's younger generation, perhaps the next generation. Ryan DeVos (20) on Volpe, his younger cousin Dalton (17) on Delta, and just recently, Jason Michas (19) on Zetiana are among the forming a league of young guns helming in the Melges 32 class. The Melges 32 class is already populated by some of the world's most exceptional amateur helmsmen, who have chosen to surround themselves with only the best sailors in the world. Now, the experience diversifies as these aspiring young sailors can be found taking a hold the tiller on a regular basis. "I love this boat, it's a great boat," explained Ryan DeVos, who just celebrated his birthday last Monday, and happens to be the class' reigning National Champion. "The Melges 32 is easy enough that you can jump into it, and do well, or a least do your best at it. It took us a little while to get up to speed, but it's starting to come together for sure."

Miami Championship Entry List (Owner/Tactician)
1.) Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy/Nathan Wilmot; 4-1-2 = 7
2.) Fantastica, Lanfranco Cirillo/Vasco Vascotto; 1-4-5 = 10 
3.) Volpe, Ryan DeVos/Ed Baird; 5-11-1 = 17
4.) Delta, Dalton DeVos/Terry Hutchinson; 3-6-8 = 17
5.) roXanne, Kip Meadows/Andy Horton; 8-7-4 = 19
6.) Full Throttle, John Porter/Jonathan McKee; 10-5-7 = 22
7.) Ramrod, Rod Jabin/Chris Larson; 13-10-3 = 26
8.) Heartbreaker, Bob Hughes/Joe Glandfield; 2-12-13 = 27
9.) Mascalzone Latino, Vincenzo Onorato/Francesco Bruni; 6-2-10 = 28
10.) Argo, Jason Carroll/Charlie Ogletree; 15-3-10 = 28

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Race reports, interviews and photo galleries will be posted each day at the official website of theInternational Melges 32 Class Association (IM32CA). If you are unable to attend 2011 Miami Championship, stay in touch by subscribing to the IM32CA RSS Feed. Friend the fleet on Facebook, follow it on Twitter and subscribe to the Official Melges 32 YouTube Channel.