Samba Pa Ti edges ahead

Melges 32 Miami Championship sparks up

Friday March 4th 2011, Author: Joy Dunnigan, Location: United States

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 producing three different winners. Topping the leaderboard after day one 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 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's Mascalzone 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 of Record 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.

Miami Championship Entry List (Owner/Tactician)

Pos Sail no Boat Owner R1 R2 R3 Tot
1 USA 13131 Samba Pa Ti John Kilroy, Jr. 4 1 2 7
2 USA 212 Fantastica Lanfranco Cirillo 1 4 5 10
3 USA 180 Volpe Ryan Devos 5 11 1 17
4 USA 1215 Delta Dalton DeVos 3 6 8 17
5 USA 77 roXanne Kip Meadows 8 7 4 19
6 USA 49 Full Throttle John Porter 10 5 7 22
7 USA 206 Ramrod Rodrick Jabin 13 10 3 26
8 USA 201 Heartbreaker Bob Hughes 2 12 13 27
9 ITA 2121 Mascalzone Latino Vincenzo Onorato 6 2 20 28
10 USA 128 Argo Jason Carroll 15 3 10 28
11 USA 1315 Ninkasi John Taylor 16 8 11 35
12 USA 134 Catapult Joel Ronning 9 9 17 35
13 USA 151 Dark N'Stormy Edward Tillinghast 17 14 6 37
14 USA 203 Yasha Samurai Makoto Uematsu 7 16 15 38
15 USA 211 Arethusa Phil Lotz 11 19 12 42
16 GBR 040 Dawn Raid Oscar Strugstad 19 18 9 46
17 USA 178 Shakedown Geoff Pierini 18 13 16 47
18 USA 153 Lake Effect Bob Hesse 14 15 19 48
19 USA 208 Celeritas Malcolm Gefter 12 20 18 50
20 USA 162 Zetiana Alexis Michas 20 17 14 51

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