by Joy Dunigan
West Palm Beach Regatta, hosted by the Sailfish Club of Florida, is the fourth in a series of six North American Melges 32 events scheduled in 2012 and also serves as the class' East Coast Championship.
West Palm Beach Regatta 2012
Melges 32 Class is sporting 16 high-powered machines, locked and loaded, amidst the towering mega yachts of Rybovich Marina in West Palm Beach, Florida, which are ready to race just off the shore.
Rybovich's south dock is a star-studded sailing walk of fame populated with the likes of Jonathan McKee, Cameron Appleton, Eric Doyle, Dave Armitage, Andy Horton, Bill Hardesty, Skip Baxter, Hayden Goodrick, Michele Paoletti, Tom Burnham, Peter Holmberg, Charlie McKee, Johnny Lovell, Charlie Ogletree, Jeff Madrigali, Vasco Vascotto, Lorenzo Bressani and Ed Baird, just to name a few.
2012 Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series leader and winner of Marina di Loano, Lanfranco Cirillo on Fantastica is expected to fair well.
'We try to do every regatta in the US and Italy,' says Cirillo. 'The competition here is very tough. We were happy to win Marina di Loano, but now, the time has come to really focus on doing well at Worlds and race as much as we can against the boats that will be there.'
Other front-runners include 2011 US National Champion Jason Carroll and his tenacious Argo team, 2012 Key West division winner John Kilroy on Samba Pa Ti and most recently crowned Miami Champion Alec Cutler on Hedgehog.
Wednesday and Thursday rounded out the preparations for battle including final crew weigh-in, boat prep and practice. At the skipper's meeting, PRO Hank Stuart briefed competitors on what was to be expected of the event — plentiful sunshine, warmth and a potential eight terrific races.
Full entry list:
1. Phil Lotz, Arethusa
2. Jason Carroll, Argo
3. Pieter Taselaar, Bliksem
4. Michael Dominguez, Bronco
5. Joel Ronning, Catapult
6. Dalton DeVos, Delta
7. Jim Grundy, Element
8. Lanfranco Cirillo, Fantastica
9. Alec Cutler, Hedgehog
10. Mark Plaxton, INTAC
11. Alex Jackson, Leenabarca
12. Steve Rhyne, Mojo
13. John Taylor, Ninkasi
14. Roberto Tomasini Grinover, Robertissima 1
15. John Kilroy, Samba Pa Ti
16. Ryan DeVos, Volpe
For results click here
Melges 32 Class Association website