Michael Illbruck wins Melges 32 Winter Tune-up

Red Approaches the Weather Mark at Melges 32 -
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Although somewhat of a rollercoaster ride of sorts for the Melges 32s in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida at the Winter Tune-Up regatta Michael Illbruck with tactician John Kostecki on 'Pinta' at his side won the overall event. Kip Meadows with Andy Horton on 'Roxanne' put on a spectacular performance coming in second followed by Joe Woods on 'Red' in third.

On Sunday, the Melges 32 fleet rallied for one more day of racing. Just two races were scheduled and light breeze prevailed again. The youth sailors could not get enough in just one day so they were back on all the boats for the final day. Again, many seen sailing the boats out to the race course. What a fantastic experience!

Winds never reached 10 knots so light with a bit more lump. This did not seem to bother the German boat as Michael
Illbruck and the 'Pinta' team took the first race which broke the tie between themselves and Joe Woods. Joe and Michael were all tied up heading into this heat. The 'Red' team was over the line in this first race of the day but fought hard to get back to nineth. Very impressive but in no way surprising as this team is top notch.

On the final race 'Ninkasi' and new owner John Taylor led from gun to gun. This was great to see as John just got into the fleet and this was his first event. No doubt, the tuning up each day and each night got him to be more competitive around the marks. They sailed an impressive race and are now fully dialed in for Key West and the Melges 32 Midwinter Championship.

Boat of the day honors really went to Steve Rhyne from Lakewood, Texas. Again, a new boat owner that just stepped into the program and this was their first event. The 'Mojo' team was certainly the most improved through the regatta and their result on the final day proved this. They had a 3-2 on
this last day to pull them up to eighth overall. Very nicely done. Another example of being Tuned UP!

As the fleet hit the docks at the Bahia Mar the awards table was set up and the ice cold beer was flowing. Sun, Melges 32 sailing, awards, cold beer, camaraderie, does it get any better?

Michael Illbruck all the way from Germany took top honors making him the official top-tuner! Kip Meadows finished a strong second overall, Joe Woods from the UK was third.

Jeff Ecklund and his 'Star' team were fourth overall. A special thanks specifically goes out to Jeff, the Lauderdale Yacht Club and Lang Ryder. This is the second year for this event and no doubt a 'do not miss event' for the future. Thank you Jeff, Lang and LYC for such a fantastic weekend of Melges 32 sailing and instruction!

Fifth overall went to Jim Swartz and the 'Q' team. Best graphics and the best battle flag by far! Nice job!

Melges 32 - Overall results

1st Pinta Illbruck, Michael Kostecki, John STFYC 24
2nd Roxanne Meadows, Kip Horton, Andy NYYC 31
3rd Red Woods, Joe Lenz, Dave Royal Torbay YC 36
4th Star Ecklund, Jeff Melges, Harry LYC 40
5th Q Swartz, Jim Worthington, Kimo NYYC, STFYC 54
6th Arkle Mulin, Kate Wohfs, Mike Port Credit YC 60
7th Taboo Pugh, Stephen Wijsen, Seadon STFYC 62
8th Mojo Rhyne, Steve Moon, Ben Lakewood 63
9th Bliksem Taselaar, Pieter Wilmot, Jeremy NYYC 63
10th Lake Effect Hesse, Bob Smith, Jud Youngstown 71
11th Summer Rental Carroll, Jason Doyle, Sean Larchmont YC 74
12th Ninkasi Taylor, John Smith, Ezra NYYC 76
13th Black River Racing Sole, Alejandro Lutz, jay Lakewood YC 83
14th Pied Piper Jennings, Jack Shriner, Dave LGYC 84
15th Fast Forward Fairbanks, Tad Dore, Pat Eagle Harbor YC 96
16th Unknown McSweeney, Terry Merriman, Rick Edgewater YC 102
17th Dark N'Stormy Tillinghast, Edward NYYC 118
18th Savannah Wells, Ben Britton, Terry KYC 127

Thank you to the official coach for the weekend. Morgan Reeser presented by Henri Lloyd helped the fleet out a ton and everyone improved one way or another. Thank you Morgan!

Key West baby – here we come! Next event on the agenda is ACURA Key West Race Week 2008, January 21-25 where potentially more than 30 boats are expected to compete. This is also the Midwinter Championship for the Melges 32, so definitely be on the watch for some of the most amazing and intense racing action this winter to be handed down personally — by the Melges 32!