by Joy Dunigan
The 19-strong Melges 32 fleet rallied back into action on Thursday at Quantum Key West 2012.
Melges 32 big fleet starting line action - Key West 2012 - Melges 32
After having the day off on Wednesday due to lack of breeze, they fleet managed to complete three more races.
John Kilroy and tactician Lorenzo Bressani aboard Samba Pa Ti now standa at the top of the leaderboard.
In second overall, only four points behind, is Benjamin Schwartz and tactician Ed Baird on Pisces. Bob Hughes’ Heartbreaker with Tovar Mirsky on tactics is third.
Benjamin Schwartz, Pisces - Key West 2012 - Melges 32
After a short, yet expected on-the-water postponement, PRO Peter 'Luigi' Reggio sent the fleet racing under warm temps, sun-shiny conditions and a light breeze. Over time, an approaching cold front ushered in more wind making for the perfect start to Race One of the day. At the top, with about 8-10 knots of breeze, Steve Howe's Warpath took the lead, followed by Hughes in second and Kilroy third.
Terry McSweeney's Flat Stanley and Schwartz rounded fourth and fifth respectively. Downwind Hughes gained on Howe to take the lead. Howe and McSweeney split the difference passing through the gate dead even with one another for the second and third positions. More breeze pumped in helping the fleet zoom back upwind with Kilroy acquiring the lead for the final mark of the race, Hughes and Howe hot on his heels. Back downwind to the finish, Hughes came on strong once again to overtake for the win, Kilroy landed second and McSweeney had a great race to finish third.
Alec Cutler's Hedgehog got the upper hand in Race Two for their very first race win competing in the fleet. Cutler got a great start punching the line hard, rounding the top mark one short step behind Hughes. Vincenzo Onorato's Mascalzone Latino rounded third. Downwind, Cutler turned up the speed a notch to overtake the lead position. He extended just enough to secure the lead for the remainder of the race and ultimately, the win.
Hughes rounded the final mark in second, but downwind Onorato challenged him, stealing second place from him right at the finish line. Kilroy maintained position to finish fourth, behind Hughes in third. Joel Ronning's Catapult grabbed fifth.
After an initial general recall at the start of Race Three, Reggio handed down a black flag to restart the third heat. Howe found himself back out front to turn the top mark in first, with Schwartz alongside and Kilroy close behind.
Approaching in from the right, Kilroy took the lead and held on through the top mark, with Howe and Schwartz in hot pursuit. All things changed on the final downwind stretch as Howe forged ahead to take the win, Schwartz took second and Kilroy finished third.
John Kilroy, Samba Pa Ti - Key West 2012 - Melges 32
Friday’s conditions are expected to be a bit more breezy than Thursday's, with two final races scheduled.
Top Ten (after 8 Races, 1 Discard)
1.) John Kilroy/Lorenzo Bressani, Samba Pa Ti; 1-1--3-4-2-4-3 = 18
2.) Benjamin Schwartz/Ed Baird, Pisces; 3-3-1-1-6-6--2 = 22
3.) Bob Hughes/Tovar Mirsky, Heartbreaker; 10--6-8-2-1-3-4 = 34
4.) Steve Howe/Morgan Larson, Warpath; 12-5--5-3-4-6-1 = 36
5.) Alec Cutler/Richard Clarke, Hedgehog; 4-2-8-4-7--1-13 = 39
6.) Vincenzo Onorato/Gabriele Benussi, Mascalzone Latino; 2-4-2--9-11-2-9 = 39
7.) Steve Rhyne/Johnny Lovell, Mojo; 6-12-10-6-8-9--6 = 57
8.) Keisuke Suzuki/Jesper Radich, Swing; 11-9-4-12-5-10-7- = 58
9.) Joel Ronning/Chris Larson, Catapult; 5-6-13--13-12-5-7 = 61
10.) Terry McSweeney/Seadon Wijsen, Flat Stanley; 15--12-9-12-3-9-8 = 68
Full results here
International Melges 32