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July 25, 2008 09:09 by www.melges32.com | 0 comments

After yesterday’s torrential downpours and line of brutal thunderstorms battered practice sessions, racing officially got underway for the 21-strong Melges 32 fleet. David Hoyt (Stowe, Vt.) also notoriously known as ‘JB’ (Junior Beast) on USA-184 Goat hammered the opening day with an impressive 1-1 finish, taking the overall lead at the 2008 U.S. Melges 32 National Championship held in conjunction with the NYYC Raceweek at Newport, presented by Rolex. In second overall is Jeff Ecklund (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on USA-32 Star and third is Stephen Pugh (Sausalito, Calif.) on USA-158 Taboo.

The first race started late as a very extended postponement was put into place from the onset of the day. Teams are excited to be in Newport, yet were quite anxious about going racing, so despite the AP many began the long travel out to the race course where the postponement continued until approximately 2 p.m. With a course bearing of 230 degrees and a 2-mile distance each way, the breeze stirred the left-over lumpy seas with a moderate 5-7 knots for a clean start. Hot off the pin was Joe Woods (Torquay, UK)on GBR-700 Red with Marty Kullman and Mike Carroll on USA-131 New Wave alongside making a nice sprint for the top mark.

Rounding first was Edward Tillinghast on USA-151 Dark N’Stormy challenged by Ecklund and Bob Hesse (Elma, N.Y) on USA-153 Lake Effect neck-and-neck for second place. On the downwind run, Hoyt found a winning groove. Coming into the gate, it was the ultimate takeover as he just barely slipped into first then headed to the right. Slowly but surely, he stretched his lead as he went around the final weathermark of the race in first still, Ecklund closed in fast. Hoyt, with a nice set took off for the finish, however Ecklund looked for pressure on the left hoping to get ahead. Impressively, Hoyt beat Ecklund by seconds right at the finish line. In third was Terry McSweeney (Chargin Halls, Oh.) on USA-126 Flat Stanley, in fourth was Pugh and fifth went to Kullman/Carroll.

Under continued sunny conditions and breeze fluctuating from 8-10 knots, the second race got underway almost immediately. Hoyt, despite another lack-luster start rebounded on the first upwind beat rounding a close second to Hesse in first. Woods got back in the game in third. Downwind, Hoyt clearly found a gear unknown to others putting him back out front of this incredibly competitive fleet. Hoyt took it to the finish for the win, followed by Hesse, then Pieter Taselaar (Scarsdale, N.Y.) on USA-169 Bliksem in third.

The Melges 32s go racing again tomorrow with predicted lighter conditions and cloudier skies.

01.) David Hoyt, Goat; 1-1 = 2
02.) Jeff Ecklund, Star; 2-7 = 9
03.) Stephen Pugh, Taboo; 4-6 = 10
04.) Bob Hesse, Lake Effect; 10-2 = 12
05.) Terry McSweeney, Flat Stanley; 3-10 = 13
06.) Marty Kullman/Mike Carroll, New Wave; 9-4 = 13
07.) Derek Campbell, Banshee; 5-8 = 13
08.) Pieter Taselaar, Bliksem; 13-3 = 16
09.) Ed Tillinghast, Dark N’Stormy; 7-9 = 16
10.) Joe Woods, Red; 11-5 = 16

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