Vincenzo Onorato has skippered Mascalzone Latino to victory in the last two Farr 40 World Championships. With the 2008 Worlds one month away, the Italian team seems to be rounding into top form. All 4 classes in are in tight competition after Day One.
Onorato had a brilliant opening day at Acura Miami Grand Prix, winning both races to take the early lead in the deep, talented and highly-competitive Farr 40 class. British America's Cup veteran Adrian Stead called tactics aboard Mascalzone Latino, which made a great move at the leeward gate to take control of Race 1 then caught a favorable wind shift in Race 2.
'We had two good starts and liked the left on the first beat. For the most part, we stayed out of trouble and made good decisions,' Stead said.
Barking Mad led the 28-boat fleet around the first windward mark and was still ahead on approach to the leeward mark. However, Mascalzone Latinogybed first and was able to push Barking Mad below the gate. 'When we came back together at the second windward mark, we had starboard advantage,' Stead said.
Barking Mad, skippered by Jim Richardson of Newport, R.I., won the start in Race 2 as well and held the early lead. However, tactician Terry Hutchinson decided to stay on the right side with the majority of the fleet while Stead took the left and the gamble paid off.
Despite losing an early lead in both races, it wasn't a bad day for Barking Mad with a pair of runner-up results. Richardson had three changes in the amateur portion of the crew since capturing class honors at Acura Key West 2008.
'I feel pretty good about how things went today. We had strong starts, the crew work was solid and the boat was going well,' Richardson said. 'Terry is kind of kicking himself a bit, but I thought he made some great calls out there today.'
The father-son team of Fred and Steve Howe took delivery of a brand new Warpath about a week before the regatta and the U.S. Watercraft build showed well right out of the box. Renowned professional Paul Cayard is calling tactics for the San Diego entry, which posted a fifth and a sixth and is tied with Nerone (Massimo Mezzaroma, Italy) for third overall.
Michael Illbruck and John Kostecki have sailed together for nearly two decades in a series of different grand prix designs, even partnering to win the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001-2002. Illbruck, from Munich, Germany, recently jumped into the up-and-coming Melges 32 class and has enlisted Kostecki's services in order to get up to speed.
Illbruck has named all his boats Pinta and the latest placed seventh in Key West. Less than two months later, Illbruck and crew showed vastly improved boat-handling in starting Acura Miami Grand Prix with a second and third.
'Obviously, Michael has learned very quickly. Those guys sailed two great races today,' said Michael Carroll, co-skipper of New Wave. 'I would say that Pinta has established the new mark that we all need to meet.'
Jeff Ecklund steered Star to victory in Melges 32 class at Key West, edging New Wave by a mere two points. Those two Florida rivals are duking it out again here in Miami and finished the opening day tied for second with 11 points.
Carroll, a Clearwater resident, said helmsman Marty Kullman and the rest of the New Wave team worked wonders to rebound from an awful start and finish sixth in Race 1.
'We got caught in the second row and started slipping sideways in the current because we didn't have enough momentum,' he said. 'We wound up ducking the stern of 19 boats, but we had real good downwind speed and were able to work our way back.' Things went a bit better in Race 2 as New Wave hit the start line at full speed and never looked back in taking first in the 20-boat fleet. Q, owned by Jim Swartz of Edgartown, Mass., also posted two outstanding results and sits fourth with nine points.
Principal Race Officer Dave Brennan and Event Director Peter Craig delayed the start of racing by about an hour and that proved a wise decision. An 8-10 southeasterly developed for Race 1 then built to 14-16 for Race 2. 'The race committee made the right call because the wind filled in quite nicely after noon,' Flash Glove owner Colm Barrington said.
Barrington, from Dublin, Ireland, was happy on the dock afterward because he steered his Judel/Vrolijk-designed TP52 to a first and a second to take the early lead in IRC 1. Numbers, the JV 66 owned by Daniel Meyers that is scratch boat in the class, is one point behind in second. 'It's interesting racing because Numbers is way out in front while the four TP52s all sail in fairly close proximity,' Barrington said.
Complicating matters further is the fact the TP52 entries are all slightly different in configuration and thus do not rate exactly the same. Flash Glove and Windquest (Doug DeVos) have both been fitted with a bow sprit, which makes them different from Rusal Synergy and Mayhem.
Robin Team was uncertain how his J/122 finished in IRC 1 on corrected time and was thrilled to learn that Teamwork won both races on Thursday. Jonathan Bartlett of the North Sails-Chesapeake loft in Annapolis is calling tactics on Teamwork, which leads the Swan 45 Bandit (Andy Fisher) by four points. 'Not to use a play on words, but our teamwork was outstanding all day long. Everything just clicked very nicely,' Team said.
Team was impressed that the time difference between the first and sixth place boats in IRC 2 was a mere one minute and 17 seconds in Race 1. 'It's good, tight racing and great competition,' Team said. 'Today's conditions favored our boat, but the wind is supposed to pick up tomorrow and we're looking forward to seeing how we do.' Acura Miami Grand Prix - Provisional Results after 2 races Farr 40 (28 entries)
1, Mascalzone Latino, Vincenzo Onorato, Napoli, Italy, 1-1=2
2, Barking Mad, James Richardson, Newport, R.I., 2-2=4
3, Nerone, Massimo Mezzaroma, Punta Ala, Italy, 7-4=11 Melges 32 (20 entries)
1, Pinta, Michael Illbruck, Munich, Germany, 2-3=5
2, New Wave, Mike Carroll/Marty Kullman, Clearwater, Fla., 6-1=7
3, Star, Jeff Ecklund, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., 5-2=7 IRC 1 (6 entries)
1, Flash Glove, J/V 52, Colm Barrington, Dublin, Ireland, 1-2=3
2, Numbers, J/V 66, Daniel Meyers, Newport, R.I., 3-1=4
3, Windquest, TP52, Doug DeVos, Holland, Mich., 2-5=7 IRC 2 (6 entries)
1, Teamwork, J/122, Robin Team, Beaufort, N.C., 1-1=2
2, Bandit, Swan 42, Andy Fisher, Newport, R.I., 4-2=6
3, Thin Ice, Aerodyne 38, Stuart Hebb, 2-5=7
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