by Joy Dunigan
The 2012 Melges 32 East Coast Championship commenced under very light and shifty conditions. Three challenging races resulted in three different race winners giving way to a very interesting overnight leaderboard.
Melges 32 East Coast Championship
A three-way tie for first in points include twenty-two year old Ryan DeVos on Volpe, Alex Jackson on Leenabarca and Ryan's cousin, Dalton DeVos aboard Delta. They are first, second and third respectively.
After a brief on-land postponement, PRO Hank Stuart took a stab at Race One around noon. With two beats and run on the board, Stuart abandoned the effort as the breeze shifted more than 70 degrees. Finally, the east wind arrived and Stuart was able to put in a full day of bona fide racing.
The first race win of the day was awarded to R. DeVos after a fierce fight against 2012 Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series leader Lanfranco Cirillo on Fantastica coming on strong finishing second while, D. DeVos claimed third.
West Palm Beach Regatta 2012. Melges 32 East Coast Championship
Races two and three were equally shifty and intense as the Race Committee 'walked the course' to compensate for the obnoxious current. At the top, it was rippin', adding further emphasis on the importance of laying the mark.
Mark Plaxton on INTAC lead Race Two from start to finish taking top honors at the line just ahead of Jackson in second and Jason Carroll on Argo in third. North American Fleet President John Taylor on Ninkasi had a spectacular day finishing fourth and Cirillo finished fifth.
Simply put, the last race of the day was crazy. 2009 Melges 32 World Champion Pieter Taselaar on Bliksem wowed the crowd taking the initial lead at the top mark. Taselaar held on for the win, while R. DeVos had another great run claiming second, Jackson came third.
As for some of the fleet favorites, Friday proved to be disappointing most especially for Alec Cutler on Hedgehog who suffered two OCS's that carried heavy scoring penalties. John Kilroy's Samba Pa Ti failed to find the wheels up position ending the day in fourteenth.
Without a doubt, Saturday will deliver equally interesting racing as a little more breeze is expected, adding to the spectacular current-driven, Palm Beach conditions.
Mojo - Melges 32 US Championship 2012
Top Ten (After three races)
1.) Ryan DeVos, Volpe; 1-14-2 = 17
2.) Alex Jackson, Leenabarca; 12-2-3 = 17
3.) Dalton DeVos, Delta; 3-10-4 = 17
4.) John Taylor, Ninkasi; 6-4-9/ZFP = 19
5.) Mark Plaxton, INTAC; 8-1-13 = 22
6.) Jason Carroll, Ninkasi; 5-3-14 = 22
7.) Roberto Tomasini Grinover, Robertissima; 10-7-5 = 22
8.) Lanfranco Cirillo, Fantastica; 2-5-16 = 23
9.) Pieter Taselaar, Bliksem; 9-17/RAF-1 = 27
10.) Jim Grundy, Element; 11-8-8 = 27
2012 US Sailing Series after 3 races - Results here
Melges 32 Class Association website