Monday, 17 May 2010

Melges 32 US East Coast: Alex Jackson Takes The East Coast Championship Lead

Three-way battle to the finish on Saturday's race two. Image copyright JOY/Melges 32.

by Joy Dunigan

It was another beautiful day in Rye, N.Y. at the 2010 Melges 32 East Coast Championship, hosted by the American Yacht Club Saturday. Four additional races were added to the scoreboard instating Alex Jackson on Leenabarca in first place by one slim point. Kip Meadows on roXanne occupies the second place position, while Pieter Taselaar on Bliksem maintains third.

Melges 32 Fleet Action. Image copyright JOY/Melges 32.

The first race of the day was won by Michael Dominguez on Bronco with a solid performance. Dominguez came onto the Melges 32 scene in early December 2009, debuting at the Gold Cup Regatta. Since that time, he has progressed tremendously and today displayed the fruits of that labor with an astounding win. Rod Jabin on Ramrod took a nice second, while Geoff Pierini on Shakedown seemed to be able to find gears and take advantage of shifts for a third place finish.

Melges 32 fleet action. Image copyright JOY/Melges 32.

Breezy, shifty conditions tested the fleet all day long. Plentiful sunshine and a steady 15-17 knots produced perfect racing conditions for race two. Taselaar finally found his groove for the win, while Phil Lotz’s Arethusa wound up with a wonderful second place finish. It was a carbon copy result for Pierini as he claimed another third.

Malcolm Gefter's Celeritas. Image copyright JOY/Melges 32.

For race three, several attempts for a start were made, but a couple of general recalls and a black flag really straightened things out. Those that suffered the most were Jabin and Bob Hughes on Heartbreaker. For race winner Jackson, things could not have worked out better. He clawed his way up and out for the win. Taselaar finished in second and Lotz placed third.

Melges 32 East Coast Championship Race four start. Image copyright JOY/Melges 32.

The fourth race of the day, number eight in the championship series, was possibly the most critical race of all. At that moment, Taselaar and Meadows were respectively first and second with 25 points. Jackson was third and Lotz was fourth sharing 26 points each. It was Jackson that seized the moment and punched off the line with speed and aggression, quickly taking the lead and the win. This pivotal moment in the championship shuffled the results again leaving Jackson in charge, over Meadows and Taselaar.

Alex Jackson's Leenabarca. Image copyright JOY/Melges 32.

Adding to the excitement of today’s racing was the Take A Junior Sailing aspect of the event. Thirteen juniors experienced the awesome power and acceleration of the Melges 32. Teams showed up early this morning at AYC to pick-up their special, guest crew members.

Geoff Pierini's Shakedown. Image copyright JOY/Melges 32.

Alex Jackson & Rob Greenhalgh. Image copyright JOY/Melges 32.

Top Five Results
1.) Alex Jackson/Rob Greenhalgh, Leenabarca; 8-3-[12]-3-5-6-1-1 = 27
2.) Kip Meadows/Andy Horton, roXanne; 6-2-3-2-8-4-[9]-3 = 28
3.) Pieter Taselaar/Jeremy Wilmot, Bliksem; 4-9-2-[11]-7-1-2-4 =29
4.) Phil Lotz/Russ Salvestri, Arethusa; [10]-6-4-5-6-2-3-6 = 32
5.) Michael Dominguez/Anthony Kotoun, Bronco; 3-7-7-6-1-9-6-[10] = 39

Phil Lotz's Arethusa. Image copyright JOY/Melges 32.

Melges 32 US East Coast