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For Immediate Release – March 9, 2008

 

Hot International Competition at the Acura Miami Grand Prix

--- Barking Mad Takes Boat of the Week – Illbruck, Barrington and Fisher Also Triumph

   

 There was no slam dunk choice for the Boat of the Week honoree at the 2008 Acura Miami Grand Prix. That’s because all four classes were hotly contested throughout the regatta.

 

 Colm Barrington and his crew aboard Flash Glove counted all first and second place finishes and did not need to sail the final race en route to winning IRC 1 class in convincing fashion.

 

   Andy Fisher skippered Bandit to a hard-earned victory in IRC 2, which had four different leaders over the course of the four-day regatta.

 

   Michael Illbruck and the Pinta team led at the end of each day in Melges 32, an amazing feat considering it was the German skipper’s second regatta in the highly-competitive class.

 

   Ultimately, the three-part criteria that officials with Premiere Racing use to select the Acura Trophy winner favored the Farr 40 Barking Mad, owned by Jim Richardson of Newport, R.I. won three of 10 races and overcame some double-digit results to capture what proved to be the closest, most competitive class at Acura Miami Grand Prix.

 

   Barking Mad was one of three entries to hold the daily lead in the 28-boat class. Richardson’s team was second after Day 1, fell to fifth after Day 2 then regained the overall lead after Day 3.

 

   Barking Mad had to work right up until the bitter end to hold that lead, clawing its way back from 25th to 17th in the last race in order to secure a four-point victory over Mascalzone Latino. Warpath, sailed by the father-son team of Fred and Steve Howe, took third just one point behind Mascalzone.

 

   The Italian entry, skippered by Vincenzo Onorato, put the pressure on by placing second in Race 10 and was winning the regatta when Barking Mad rounded the last downwind mark at the tail end of the fleet.

 

  “Going down the last run I told the team ‘We’re not winning” and I ask (trimmer) Skip Baxter what he thought I should do,” Barking Mad tactician Terry Hutchinson said. “Skip said ‘If I were you, I’d get some leverage to that right side. We went hard right, passed about seven boats on the last beat and breathed a huge sigh of relief.”

 

  Richardson and company are hot, having won all three winter regattas in Farr 40 class. The part-time Boston resident got a gorilla off his back by winning both Key West and Miami for the first time in 11 trips to capture the Acura Grand Prix Championship in Farr 40. That trophy goes to the boat with the best combined score at the two international events organized by Premiere Racing. 

 

 “We have been on a bit of a roll and hopefully it will continue through the worlds,” said

Richardson, referring to the Farr 40 World Championship being held off Miami in mid April. “I’ve been second in Key West and Miami several times so this is a bit of vindication. We’ve been knocking on the door so it feels good to finally open it and walk in.”

 

  Onorato, the two-time defending world champ, said following Saturday’s racing that Barking Mad was the most “mentally tough” team in the fleet. Hutchinson agreed with that assessment after the crew shrugged off an 18th in Race 4 by winning Race 5.

 

  “From the front of the boat all the way back to Jim, everyone focused on their job and did a great job of sailing the boat. There was never a lapse in concentration,

 

   Illbruck is a newcomer to the up-and-coming Melges 32 class, taking delivery of his boat just prior to Acura Key West 2008. The German skipper did not steer as Pinta placed seventh in that regatta. He made his debut as helmsman in Miami and performed admirably, winning four races and second or third in five others in totaling 16 points – 10 better than runner-up New Wave.

 

  “We learned a lot in Key West that we were able to apply to this regatta. It was a challenge because of the heavy air and high seas, but the crew did an outstanding job,” Illbruck said.

 

  John Kostecki, who skippered Illbruck’s victorious entry in the 2001-2002 Volvo Ocean Race and is now with the BMW Oracle America’s Cup syndicate, called tactics aboard Pinta. Ross Halcrow of BMW Oracle and Dan Cowie of Emirates Team New Zealand served as trimmers.

 

  “In my biased opinion, John Kostecki is the best sailor in the world. He is incredibly competitive and always puts you in the right spot,” Illbruck said. “However, it takes more than one man to make a boat go fast. This was a team effort and every member of the crew did a fantastic job. We’re all good friends who enjoy each other’s company and that is very important for chemistry.”

 

 New Wave, co-owned by Michael Carroll and Marty Kullman of Clearwater, Fla., took home the Acura Grand Prix Championship for Melges 32 after placing second at both Key West and Miami. 

 Barrington was runner-up in IRC 1 class at Acura Miami Grand Prix last year, placing three points behind the TP52 Samba Pa Ti. The good-natured Irishman was sailing a Ker 50 named Magic Glove at the time and could not prevent being covered by the faster Samba Pa Ti in the last race.

 

  “I decided after that regatta that I wasn’t going to have a boat that was slower than my competition,” said Barrington, who had Judel/Vrolijk design a TP52 then modified it to fit the IRC rating rule. “We were very disappointed by what happened here last year, but we are delighted to come back and win it this year. It was a measure of redemption.”

 

  Volvo Ocean Race veteran Rob Greenhalgh helped optimize Flash Glove to IRC and served as tactician onboard while boat captain James Hynes oversaw the alterations. Barrington had high praise for the two men who have combined to manage his program.

 

  “Rob and James did a terrific job of getting the boat up to speed. There were a lot of phone calls and e-mails back and forth with the designer to see how we could squeeze more speed out of her.”

 

  Barrington’s victory coupled with a second-place result at Acura Key West earned him the Acura Miami Grand Prix trophy for IRC. He clinched the regatta after nine races and returned to shore to rest an aching back, knowing that a discard would still give him a healthy nine-point victory over Doug DeVos’ TP52 Windquest.

 

  IRC 2 class wasn’t decided until the final leg of the last race when the Aerodyne 38 Thin Ice played spoiler by winning on corrected time. That assured the Swan 42 Bandit of the overall victory by the narrowest of margins. Skipper Andy Fisher steered Bandit to six finishes of third or better in totaling 25 points, a mere half point ahead of the J/122 Teamwork.

 

  Teamwork, owned by Robin Team of Beaufort, N.C., needed to win the last race in order to win the regatta and wound up placing second – just nine seconds on corrected time behind Thin Ice.

 

  “This was a very interesting and competitive class. We had a varied bunch of boats that were all well-sailed and performed differently depending on the conditions,” Fisher said.  

 

  Teamwork grabbed the lead on the opening day while the J/44 Gold Digger (James Bishop) held the lead entering the closing day. Bishop’s team wound up third overall – one point behind Teamwork and one point ahead of the Swan 42 Tiburon (Mark Watson).

 

  “You couldn’t ask for closer racing. Any one of four boats could have won going into the last race. It was a very fun and exciting regatta,” said Fisher, who loved the venue off Miami Beach.

 

  “I thought the race course was terrific. We had a mix of conditions with light, medium and heavy air from different directions so the race committee had to set a bunch of different courses. I felt it was fascinating racing,” Fisher said.

  

Bill Wagner, Press Officer

Email: BWagner@capitalgazette.com

 

Results, Videos, Photos and News: www.premiere-racing.com

 

Acura Miami Grand Prix Results - final after 10 races

  Farr 40 (28 entries) – no discard

  1, Barking Mad, Jim Richardson, Newport, R.I., 2-2-11-18-1-1-1-63-17=62

  2, Mascalzone Latino, Vincenzo Onorato, Napoli, Italy, 1-1-14-9-6-3-9-12-9-2=66

  3, Warpath, Fred & Steve Howe, San Diego, Cal., 5-6-6-3-14-18-5-5-1-4=67

 

 Melges 32 (20 entries)

  1, Pinta, Michael Illbruck, Munich, Germany, 2-3-1-3-2-1-1-2-1-(5)=16

  2, New Wave, Mike Carroll/Marty Kullman, Clearwater, Fla., 6-1-3-1-1-7-3-(9)-2-2=26

  3, Star, Jeff Ecklund, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., 5-2-4-2-4-(8)-6-4-7-3=37

 

 IRC 1 (6 entries)

  1, Flash Glove, J/V 52, Colm Barrington, Dublin, Ireland, 1-2-2-1-1-2-1-2-2-(7/dnc)=14

  2, Windquest, TP52, Doug DeVos, Holland, Mich., 2-(5)-3-3-2-3-2-1-4-3=23

  3, Rusal Synergy, Sergey Pichugin, Russia, (5)-3-1-2-3-4-3-4-3-2=25

 

IRC 2 (6 entries)

  1, Bandit, Swan 42, Andy Fisher, Newport, R.I., (4)-2-2-3-1-3-2-4-4-(5)=25

  2, Teamwork, J/122, Robin Team, Beaufort, N.C., 1-1-4-4-4-(6)-3.5-1-5-2=25.5

  3, Gold Digger, J/44, James Bishop, Jamestown, R.I., 3-(6)-1-2-3-1-3.5-3-6-4=26.5  

Acura has been the proud title sponsor and Official Vehicle of the Miami Grand Prix, Miami Race Week and the SORC for the previous 8 years.  They are joined by supporting sponsors Mount Gay Rum (Official Rum) and SLAM (Official Technical Gear and Retailer).

 The Miami Beach Marina is the Official Site for this 2008 grand prix event. The Avalon and South Seas Hotels are the Official Host Hotels.

 

Event details, entries and past results are available at www.Premiere-Racing.com

 

Shake-A-Leg Miami is the official charity of both the Acura Miami Grand Prix and Acura Key West. For information about them please visit: www.ShakeALegMiami.org

 

Acura Key West 2008 and the 2008 Acura Miami Grand Prix are US Sailing sanctioned events and are included in the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.

  

Thirty-five Industry Partners bring their support through a program that is now in its 7th year.

Learn more about the Industry Partners and the Program on the event web site.

  

About Acura

Acura offers a full line of technologically advanced luxury performance vehicles through a nationwide network of more than 260 dealers throughout the United States. The 2008 Acura lineup features five distinctive models, the RL luxury performance sedan, the  TL premium performance sedan, the  TSX premium sport sedan, the turbo-charged RDX premium sport CUV and the award-winning MDX premium performance CUV. For more information about Acura vehicles, please visit www.acura.com.  For media inquiries, please go to www.acuranews.com.

  

For more information on Premiere Racing, 2008 Acura Grand Prix, and its Sponsors and Partners:

Premiere Racing, Inc.

67B Front Street, Marblehead, MA, 01945
Tel: (781) 639-9545 Fax: (781) 639-9171
Email:
Info@Premiere-Racing.com

 


For Immediate Release – March 8, 2008

 

“Absolutely Beautiful” at the Acura Miami Grand Prix  

--- Farr 40 and IRC 2 Leads Change  - Two Races Left to Sail    

 

  The Numbers’ shore crew worked late into Friday night to repair damage to the hull of Dan Meyer’s new Judel/Vrolijk 66. It required extraordinary measures to fix the delamination problem that developed in Friday’s big breeze, but it was worth the effort.

 

   Numbers was back on the water on Saturday and promptly won a race in picture-perfect conditions. “This was one of the nicest sailing days I’ve ever seen. It was absolutely beautiful out there today. I can’t think of anything that could have made it any better,” said Meyers, a resident of Newport, R.I.

 

  Mother Nature is indeed smiling on 2008 Acura Miami Grand Prix. Nasty thunderstorms that were predicted for Saturday came during the wee hours of the morning. By the time racing began around 11 a.m., the sun was shining brightly and a stiff wind was blowing from the west-northwest. Because the wind direction changed dramatically, the steep waves that made racing so challenging on Friday had dissipated.

 

  “Today was wonderful, simply wonderful. Great breeze, warm weather, flat water… what a gorgeous day to go sailing,” said Colm Barrington, skipper of IRC 2 leader Flash Glove.    

 

  PRO Dave Brennan and his crack race committee got off three races for the second straight day, almost guaranteeing the four-day series will reach the stated goal of 10. In three of four classes, a discard came into play with Race 7 and allowed skippers to scratch their worst result.

 

  There is a new leader in Farr 40 class as Barking Mad vaulted from third to first on the strength of two bullets on Saturday. Skipper Jim Richardson and crew are sailing so well they were able to win Race 6 despite being on-course-side at the start.

 

  Barking Mad was 26th out of 28 boats after restarting, but played the wind shifts well enough to work back up to fifth by the first windward mark. Richardson got the gun in Race 7 as well then added a sixth to bring his cumulative score to 42 – nine points ahead of previous leader Opus One.

 

   Terry Hutchinson, formerly with America’s Cup runner-up Team New Zealand, is calling tactics on Barking Mad, which is seeking to pull off a rare double by winning both Acura Key West and Acura Miami Grand Prix in the same year.

 

   “Terry did a really great job today because it was so shifty out there. It was one of those days when the potential for big gains or big losses was very high,” Richardson said. “We’re happy with what we did today, but there is still a lot of racing to do. We just have to try to sail smart, sail conservatively and stay out of harm’s way.”

 

  Opus One skipper Wolfgang Stolz sustained a pair of double-digit results on Saturday, but rebounded by winning Race 8 to remain in contention. Opus One is four points clear of Mascalzone Latino, the Day 1 leader owned by Vincenzo Onorato of Napoli, Italy.

 

  “This regatta has been incredibly fascinating. There are so many good boats and things can change from race to race,” said Onorato, who was over the line early in two starts yesterday. “One day you can have two firsts and be a hero. The next day you can have two bad results and be a zero.”

 

  In the 20-boat Melges 32 class, Pinta, the German entry skippered by Michael Illbruck of Munich, tightened its grip on first place. America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veteran John Kostecki is calling tactics on Pinta, which posted a superb score line of 1-1-2 on Saturday and increased its advantage over New Wave to 10 points.

 

  “Pinta is sailing at a very high level right now. They just don’t make any mistakes,” said Marty Kullman, co-owner of New Wave. “We did not have a good day and now we have some work to do in order to catch up with Pinta. We have to go out tomorrow and put up a good result in the first race and hope Pinta has a bad one. We need to close the gap enough to put pressure on them in the last race.”

 

  Barrington, from Dublin, Ireland, has virtually clinched IRC 1 class after placing first or second in all eight races. Volvo Ocean Race veteran Robert Greenhalgh is calling tactics on Flash Glove, which needs only to finish one race tomorrow in order to make the victory official.

 

  “We have a good boat that has been optimized to the IRC rating quite well. We have a very good crew that does maneuvers real well. Since Robert is calling good shots, we are usually in the right place on the course,” said Barrington, who is also likely to capture the Acura Grand Prix Championship that is based on combined score from the Key West and Miami regattas run by Premiere Racing.

 

  There is an interesting mix of boats in IRC 2 and wind conditions dictate how well certain boats do. Gold Digger, a J/44 that is heaviest boat in the class, suffered a last place result in light to medium conditions on Thursday. However, the 18-year-old design has excelled in the heavy air conditions that predominated on Friday and Saturday and has steadily moved to the top of the fleet.

 

  Skipper Jim Bishop has won two of the last six races and finished no worse than tied for third over the last two days and now holds a half point lead over the Swan 42 Bandit (Andy Fisher, Newport, R.I.).

 

  “We like the breeze. This boat goes very well when it gets above 15 knots,” said Bishop, who splits his time between Palm Beach (Fla.), Jamestown (R.I.) and does a lot of racing on Long Island Sound as a member of the American Yacht Club in Rye, N.Y.

 

  Acura Miami Grand Prix Results – provisional after 8 races

  Farr 40 (28 entries)

  1, Barking Mad, Jim Richardson, Newport, R.I., 2-2-11-18-1-1-1-6=42

  2, Opus One, Wolfgang Stolz, Munich, Germany, 8-8-1-1-5-11-16-1=51

  3, Mascalzone Latino, Vincenzo Onorato, Napoli, Italy, 1-1-14-9-6-3-9-12=55

 

  Melges 32 (20 entries)

  1, Pinta, Michael Illbruck, Munich, Germany, 2-3-1-(3)-2-1-1-2=12

  2, New Wave, Mike Carroll/Marty Kullman, Clearwater, Fla., 6-1-3-1-1-7-3-(9)=22

  3, Star, Jeff Ecklund, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., 5-2-4-2-4-(8)-6-4=27

 

  IRC 1 (6 entries)

  1, Flash Glove, J/V 52, Colm Barrington, Dublin, Ireland, 1-(2)-2-1-1-2-1-2=10

  2, Windquest, TP52, Doug DeVos, Holland, Mich., 2-(5)-3-3-2-3-2-1=16

  3, Rusal Synergy, Sergey Pichugin, Russia, (5)-3-1-2-3-4-3-4=20

 

  IRC 2 (6 entries)

  1, Gold Digger, J/44, James Bishop, Jamestown, R.I., 3-(6)-1-2-3-1-3.5-3=16.5

  2, Bandit, Swan 42, Andy Fisher, Newport, R.I., (4)-2-2-3-1-3-2-4=17

  3, Tiburon, Swan 42, Mark Watson, Newport, R.I., (6)-3-3-1-2-2-5-2=18

 


More News and Notes:

  By the conclusion of Acura Key West 2008, Doug DeVos realized his TP52 Windquest needed an upgrade. Two other TP52s, Flash Glove and Samba Pa Ti, had been altered to better fit the IRC rating rule and both beat Windquest consistently on corrected time.

   “We decided after Key West to optimize the boat to IRC. We just weren’t competitive with Samba and Flash,” DeVos said.

   One of the primary changes the Windquest team made was to switch from an asymmetrical spinnaker pole to a bow sprit in order to match the aforementioned boats and thus achieve a similar rating.

   Unfortunately, DeVos and crew were unable to practice and get a feel for the new configuration prior to Acura Miami Grand Prix. As a result, there has been a bit of a learning process occurring during the regatta.

   “We’re still figuring things out. Our boat speed isn’t quite where we want it to be,” DeVos said following Friday’s racing. “We’ve gotten some great starts and been leading around the upwind mark, but we just haven’t been able to hold it.”

  Flash Glove, with a couple regattas under its belt since undergoing the IRC optimization, has been dominant at Acura Miami Grand Prix – placing first or second in every race to build an almost insurmountable lead. However, Windquest has been equally consistent and counts no worse than a third through eight races. DeVos won Race 8 on Saturday and now has 16 points – six behind Flash Glove and four ahead of Rusal Synergy, which has not been altered and remains a true TP52.

  “It’s kind of strange because we have four original TP52s in the regatta, but they’re all a little different and do not rate the same,” DeVos said.

  ****

  Martin and Lisa Hill are newcomers to the highly-competitive and extremely talented Farr 40 class. The Australian couple made his international debut at Acura Key West 2008 and took their lumps, placing 20th out of 25 boats.

  However, the Hills and the rest of their Estate Master team learned a lot in Key West and have dramatically improved their performance at Acura Miami Grand Prix. Martin Hill has steered the Sydney entry three single-digit finishes, including a second in Race 8.

  “That was our best result in an international regatta since joining the class,” a jubilant Hill proclaimed.

  Veteran Australian professional Steve McConaghy is calling tactics aboard Estate Master, which stands seventh in the overall standings with one day remaining in the regatta.

  “We’ve had a real good regatta so far. We’re very happy with our performance,” Hill said. “The crew is getting to know the boat a bit better and we’ve grown more comfortable with racing in a big fleet.”

  Estate Master has also made a few equipment upgrades since Key West, including purchasing an inventory of new sails.

  ****

  There were some forlorn faces aboard the Melges 32 Roxanne as it limped back to the dock on Friday with a broken spreader. That damage, sustained during Race 3, saddled skipper Kip Meadows and team with a DNF (did not finish) and two DNC (did not compete) results.

  Eliminated from contention, it would have been easy for Meadows to pull out of the regatta. Instead, the North Carolina native ordered the necessary parts and had the crew spend four hours fixing the spreader and related damage.

  That effort proved worthwhile as Roxanne rejoined the 20-boat fleet on Saturday and posted a superb score line of 3-2-8. Andy Horton, a Vermont native and member of the Italian America’s Cup syndicate Luna Rossa, is tactician for Roxanne.


 

 


For Immediate Release – March 7, 2008

 

Illbruck’s Melges 32 Pinta Maintains Slim Lead at Acura Miami Grand Prix

--- Farr 40 and IRC 2 Leads Change, IRC 1 Lead Widens in Spectacular Conditions  

 

Wet and wild! That was the story on a spectacular day off Miami Beach.

 

   High winds and heavy seas made for exciting yet challenging conditions on Day 2 of Acura Miami Grand Prix. Event director Peter Craig called for three races and PRO Dave Brennan delivered, giving competitors in all four classes quite a workout.

 

   “It was awesome sailing, especially downwind. You get these boats surfing down those big waves and it’s fun, fast racing,” said John Kostecki, tactician aboard Melges 32 leader Pinta.

 

  Wolfgang Stolz and the boys on Opus One had a tremendous day, winning two races and placing fifth in the other to take over the lead in Farr 40 class. Stolz, from Frankfurt, Germany, said it was just one of those days when everything seemed to work out.

 

   “We got good starts, went to the right side and got favorable shifts, played the current well and had a little bit of luck,” Stolz said.

 

   Kelvin Harrap, a member of the Team New Zealand America’s Cup syndicate, had a strong day calling tactics on Opus One, which now holds a healthy eight-point lead over Mascalzone Latino.

 

   “What I’m most happy about is that we didn’t make any mistakes. I feel we have one of the fastest boats in the fleet and if we just sail smart and sail clean we can be in contention,” Stolz said.

 

   Opus One has sailed at the top of the Farr 40 class in recent years, placing fourth and fifth at the last two world championships. However, Stolz is still seeking his first class victory at a major international regatta.

 

   “Our weakness has been that we have one shocker too many,” he said. “In this class, anything above 15 really hurts and is hard to overcome.”

 

    Farr 40 does not allow throwouts so a result of mid-fleet or worse can be costly. Skipper Jim Richardson and the crew aboard Barking Mad, one of the most consistent teams in the class and winner of Acura Key West 2008, were left to wonder whether a 19th in Race 4 would come back to haunt them.

 

   “Today was a reminder of just how hard it can be in this fleet. We got three great starts, but I made some bad decisions,” said tactician Terry Hutchinson, who was also upset with an 11th in Race 3. “Can we still win the regatta? Absolutely. Have we made it tougher on ourselves? Definitely.”

 

  Barking Mad redeemed itself by getting the gun in Race 5, tacking only twice as a result of laying the mark on both upwind legs. The Newport, R.I. entry holds fifth place overall.

 

  Mascalzone Latino, the Day 1 leader skippered by Vincenzo Onorato, also suffered a double-digit result, but minimized the damage by rebounding with a ninth and a sixth. The two-time defending world champions slipped from first to second – three points ahead of fellow Italian entry Nerone (Massimo Mezzaroma).

 

  Southeast winds gusted to 25 knots while steep waves were as high as eight feet during Race 1, causing a bit of carnage on the course. Numbers, a Judel/Vrolijk 66 that is largest boat in the regatta, endured delamination of the foredeck and was forced to retire midway through the first race. Roxanne, the Melges 32 owned by Kip Meadows, sustained a broken spreader while two other entries in the sport boat class did not finish. The TP52 Mayhem (Ashley Wolfe) and the Aerodyne 38 Thin Ice (Stuart Hebb) also failed to finish Race 1 and headed for port.

 

  “It was very tough out there. Sailing upwind into those big waves was scary at times. It was difficult to drive because I was getting thrown from side-to-side,” Richardson said.

 

  Pinta remained atop the Melges 32 class after posting a superb line of 1-3-2 yesterday. This is only Illbruck’s second regatta in the rapidly growing class and Kostecki’s initial appearance as tactician, but you would never know it by the results. Pinta has placed no worse than third in compiling a low score of 11, but is still just one point ahead of New Wave.

 

  “Winning is not the issue for us. We are brand new to the class and still have a lot to learn,” said Illbruck, a resident of Munich, Germany. “I was surprised by how well the boats handled in these types of conditions. We were under control the whole time.”

 

  New Wave, co-owned by Michael Carroll and Marty Kullman of Clearwater, Fla., won the last two races to keep the pressure on Pinta. Star, skippered by Jeff Ecklund of Ft. Lauderdale, lost points to the leaders despite a 4-2-4 score line yesterday.

 

  “There were some big gains to be made out there today. Surfing the waves is a blast and provides plenty of opportunities to pass boats downwind,” Ecklund said.

 

  Flash Glove, the JV 52 owned by Colm Barrington of Dublin, Ireland, is pulling away in IRC 1 class. Volvo Ocean Race veteran Rob Greenhalgh is calling tactics for Barrington, who won two races and placed second in the other on Friday. Flash Glove has a low score of seven, seven better than second place Rusal Synergy (Sergey Pichugin, Russia).

 

  “Flash Glove is going really well. They’ve been launched in a couple races,” said Doug DeVos, skipper of third place Windquest.

 

  Bandit, a Swan 42 owned by Andy Fisher of Newport, R.I. took over the lead in IRC 1 on the strength of a 2-3-1 line on Friday. It was an ideal day for the heavier boats in the class and Bandit overtook the lighter J/122 Teamwork.

 

   “We had a lot of things to deal with today and we overcame them. That’s the thing with this team… it sticks together and is persistent,” Bandit boat captain Ben Poucher said. “We just seem to plug away and do what it takes to get around the course.”

 

   North Sails professional Steve Benjamin is calling tactics aboard Bandit, which won Swan 42 class at Key West 2008.

 

   “Steve has a lot to do with our success. His ability to tune the rig and make all the right calls out on the course is huge,” Poucher said.

 

Results, Photos and News: http//:www.premiere-racing.com

 

Bill Wagner, Press Officer

Email: BWagner@capitalgazette.com

 

  Acura Miami Grand Prix Results – March 7 2008 (protests pending)

 

 Farr 40 (28 entries)

  1, Opus One, Wolfgang Stolz, Munich, Germany, 8-8-1-1-5=23

  2, Mascalzone Latino, Vincenzo Onorato, Napoli, Italy, 1-1-14-9-6=31

  3, Nerone, Massimo Mezzaroma, Punta Ala, Italy, 7-4-8-13-2=34

 

Melges 32 (20 entries)

  1, Pinta, Michael Illbruck, Munich, Germany, 2-3-1-3-2=11

  2, New Wave, Mike Carroll/Marty Kullman, Clearwater, Fla., 6-1-3-1-1=12

  3, Star, Jeff Ecklund, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., 5-2-4-2-4=17

 

IRC 1 (6 entries)

  1, Flash Glove, J/V 52, Colm Barrington, Dublin, Ireland, 1-2-2-1-1=3

  2, Rusal Synergy, Sergey Pichugin, Saratov, RUS, 5-3-1-2-3=14

  3, Windquest, TP52, Doug DeVos, Holland, Mich., 2-5-3-3-2=7

 

 IRC 2 (6 entries)

 1, Bandit, Swan 42, Andy Fisher, Newport, RI, 4-2-2-3-1=12

 2, Teamwork, J/122, Robin Team, Beaufort, NC, 1-1-4-4-4=14

 3, Tiburon, Swan 42, Mark Watson, Newport, RI, 6-3-3-1-2=15

               

Web Site: www.Premiere-Racing.com

 


For Immediate Release – March 6, 2008

 

Mascalzone Latino Takes Early Farr 40 Lead at Acura Miami Grand Prix

--- All Four Classes in Tight Competition after Day One   

Miami Beach, Fla –  Vincenzo Onorato has skippered Mascalzone Latino to victory in the last two Farr 40 World Championships. With the 2008 Worlds one month away, the Italian team seems to be rounding into top form.

 

 Onorato had a brilliant opening day at Acura Miami Grand Prix, winning both races to take the early lead in the deep, talented and highly-competitive Farr 40 class. British America’s Cup veteran Adrian Stead called tactics aboard Mascalzone Latino, which made a great move at the leeward gate to take control of Race 1 then caught a favorable wind shift in Race 2.

 

“We had two good starts and liked the left on the first beat. For the most part, we stayed out of trouble and made good decisions,” Stead said.

 

Barking Mad led the 28-boat fleet around the first windward mark and was still ahead on approach to the leeward mark. However, Mascalzone Latino gybed first and was able to push Barking Mad below the gate.

 

“When we came back together at the second windward mark, we had starboard advantage,” Stead said.

 

Barking Mad, skippered by Jim Richardson of Newport, R.I., won the start in Race 2 as well and held the early lead. However, tactician Terry Hutchinson decided to stay on the right side with the majority of the fleet while Stead took the left and the gamble paid off.

 

Despite losing an early lead in both races, it wasn’t a bad day for Barking Mad with a pair of runner-up results. Richardson had three changes in the amateur portion of the crew since capturing class honors at Acura Key West 2008.

 

“I feel pretty good about how things went today. We had strong starts, the crew work was solid and the boat was going well,” Richardson said. “Terry is kind of kicking himself a bit, but I thought he made some great calls out there today.”

 

The father-son team of Fred and Steve Howe took delivery of a brand new Warpath about a week before the regatta and the U.S. Watercraft build showed well right out of the box. Renowned professional Paul Cayard is calling tactics for the San Diego entry, which posted a fifth and a sixth and is tied with Nerone (Massimo Mezzaroma, Italy) for third overall.

 

Michael Illbruck and John Kostecki have sailed together for nearly two decades in a series of different grand prix designs, even partnering to win the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001-2002. Illbruck, from Munich, Germany, recently jumped into the up-and-coming Melges 32 class and has enlisted Kostecki’s services in order to get up to speed.

 

Illbruck has named all his boats Pinta and the latest placed seventh in Key West. Less than two months later, Illbruck and crew showed vastly improved boat-handling in starting Acura Miami Grand Prix with a second and third.

 

“Obviously, Michael has learned very quickly. Those guys sailed two great races today,” said Michael Carroll, co-skipper of New Wave. “I would say that Pinta has established the new mark that we all need to meet.”

 

 Jeff Ecklund steered Star to victory in Melges 32 class at Key West, edging New Wave by a mere two points. Those two Florida rivals are duking it out again here in Miami and finished the opening day tied for second with 11 points.

 

Carroll, a Clearwater resident, said helmsman Marty Kullman and the rest of the New Wave team worked wonders to rebound from an awful start and finish sixth in Race 1.

 

“We got caught in the second row and started slipping sideways in the current because we didn’t have enough momentum,” he said. “We wound up ducking the stern of 19 boats, but we had real good downwind speed and were able to work our way back.”

 

Things went a bit better in Race 2 as New Wave hit the start line at full speed and never looked back in taking first in the 20-boat fleet. Q, owned by Jim Swartz of Edgartown, Mass., also posted two outstanding results and sits fourth with nine points.

 

Principal Race Officer Dave Brennan and Event Director Peter Craig delayed the start of racing by about an hour and that proved a wise decision. An 8-10 southeasterly developed for Race 1 then built to 14-16 for Race 2.

 

“The race committee made the right call because the wind filled in quite nicely after noon,” Flash Glove owner Colm Barrington said.

 

Barrington, from Dublin, Ireland, was happy on the dock afterward because he steered his Judel/Vrolijk-designed TP52 to a first and a second to take the early lead in IRC 1.

 

Numbers, the JV 66 owned by Daniel Meyers that is scratch boat in the class, is one point behind in second.

 

“It’s interesting racing because Numbers is way out in front while the four TP52s all sail in fairly close proximity,” Barrington said.

 

Complicating matters further is the fact the TP52 entries are all slightly different in configuration and thus do not rate exactly the same. Flash Glove and Windquest (Doug DeVos) have both been fitted with a bow sprit, which makes them different from Rusal Synergy and Mayhem

 

Robin Team was uncertain how his J/122 finished in IRC 1 on corrected time and was thrilled to learn that Teamwork won both races on Thursday. Jonathan Bartlett of the North Sails-Chesapeake loft in Annapolis is calling tactics on Teamwork, which leads the Swan 45 Bandit (Andy Fisher) by four points.

 

“Not to use a play on words, but our teamwork was outstanding all day long. Everything just clicked very nicely,” Team said.

 

Team was impressed that the time difference between the first and sixth place boats in IRC 2 was a mere one minute and 17 seconds in Race 1. “It’s good, tight racing and great competition,” Team said. “Today’s conditions favored our boat, but the wind is supposed to pick up tomorrow and we’re looking forward to seeing how we do.”

 

Acura Miami Grand Prix Results  - provisional after 2 races

  Farr 40 (28 entries)

  1, Mascalzone Latino, Vincenzo Onorato, Napoli, Italy, 1-1=2

  2, Barking Mad, James Richardson, Newport, R.I., 2-2=4

  3, Nerone, Massimo Mezzaroma, Punta Ala, Italy, 7-4=11

 

Melges 32 (20 entries)

  1, Pinta, Michael Illbruck, Munich, Germany, 2-3=5

  2, New Wave, Mike Carroll/Marty Kullman, Clearwater, Fla., 6-1=7

  3, Star, Jeff Ecklund, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., 5-2=7

 

IRC 1 (6 entries)

  1, Flash Glove, J/V 52, Colm Barrington, Dublin, Ireland, 1-2=3

  2, Numbers, J/V 66, Daniel Meyers, Newport, R.I., 3-1=4

  3, Windquest, TP52, Doug DeVos, Holland, Mich., 2-5=7

 

IRC 2 (6 entries)

  1, Teamwork, J/122, Robin Team, Beaufort, N.C., 1-1=2

  2, Bandit, Swan 42, Andy Fisher, Newport, R.I., 4-2=6

  3, Thin Ice, Aerodyne 38, Stuart Hebb, 2-5=7

   

More Notes and Quotes:

 Tad Fairbank and the crew aboard the Fast Forward got an unwanted jolt of excitement during Wednesday’s practice session. The Melges 32 from Bainbridge Island, Washington was struck by lightning during a sudden thunderstorm that hit the Miami area earlier than expected.

  Fairbank knew the forecast was ominous so he checked the weather and was told the cell would not arrive until 1:30 or 2 p.m. He, along with numerous other owners, decided to practice in the morning and were surprised when the skies grew dark, thunder sounded and lightning began to strike.

  “We saw the Farr 40s get enveloped so we quickly dropped the sails and headed for port,” Fairbank said. “There was lightning striking all around us and suddenly I heard one of the loudest noises I’d ever heard. The tiller extension lit up like a glow stick and I felt like I had been punched in the chest. The impact that knocked me back against the life line.”

  Upon further inspection, the crew realized the deck lights had been blown off, the head stay shackle was charred and the instruments were no longer working. Members of the shore crew from class rival Nitemare were nearby and witnessed the strike, which produced a flurry of sparks atop the mast.

  “We’re very fortunate that no one was hurt,” Fairbank said. “We keep second-guessing ourselves because we were aware of the potential weather issues, but we truly felt we were being cautious.”

  Fairbank was hopeful the damage could be repaired in time for the start of racing on Thursday, but a thorough inspection after the boat was hauled out of the water found dozens of “exit wounds” in hull.

  “I’m meeting with the insurance agent tomorrow, but I believe it’s a total loss. The lightning definitely fried the boat,” said Fairbank, who hopes to have a new Melges 32 in time for the class nationals in July.

   ****

    Robert Hughes and his team on Heartbreaker have been off the Farr 40 circuit for two years. Hughes, from Holland, Mich., captured class honors at 2006 Acura Miami Grand Prix then devoted himself fully to mounting a campaign to capture the Canada’s Cup.

  Hughes returned to big-time Farr 40 racing on Thursday with mixed results. The class veteran opened 2008 Acura Miami Grand Prix with a third place finish, but was brought back to earth by a 23rd in Race 2.

  “It’s like going skiing for the first time in two years. You just don’t know how long it will take to shake off the rust,” Hughes said.

  Hughes nailed the start and was first around the weather mark in Race 1 before ultimately finishing behind Mascalzone Latino and Barking Mad.

  “We have a good team and Wally Cross did a great job setting up the boat. Our speed is great,” Hughes said.

  Heartbreaker ran into a little trouble in Race 2, colliding with another boat and breaking its spinnaker pole. The Michigan team was forced to sail the downwind legs with the spinnaker free-flying.

   “The new poles are longer than the last time we sailed in a big fleet so I kind of misjudged things,” Hughes said.

   ****

   Rusal Synergy, the TP52 owned by Sergey Pichugin of Saratov, Russia, arrived in Miami two weeks ago for some intensive training with renowned professional Dee Smith. That extra time on the water paid dividends yesterday as the Russians put up a third and a fifth.

  Pichugin and crew have been working hard to climb the learning curve in the highly-competitive class and are pointing toward the 2008 Med Cup circuit. Smith, who has been calling tactics on Rusal Synergy, said Thursday’s performance was one of the finest he’s seen out of the team.

  “We sailed faster, sailed smarter, sailed smoother… sailed just plain better,” an ecstatic Smith said. “We had good starts and passed some boats. I am really seeing them start to improve, which is rewarding.”

   ****

 


For Immediate Release – March 5, 2008

Top Programs and Sailors Set to Compete in the Acura Miami Grand Prix

--- Racing Begins Thursday March 6

 

Miami Beach, Fla –  A spectacular location and superb sailing conditions are two reasons why 61 boats from 14 countries have entered the 2008 Acura Miami Grand Prix, being held Thursday through Sunday off South Beach.

 

Competition figures to be particularly keen in the Farr 40 class, which is priming for its world championship – being held off Miami in early April. Ten of the top 12 finishers at Acura Key West 2008 are part of a strong 29-boat fleet that will test sails and become familiar with the venue.

 

“This is a great opportunity for all the teams to check out the conditions and get a feel for the course one month in advance of the worlds,” Barking Mad owner Jim Richardson said. “It will be a great tuning ground and everyone will come away knowing what they need to improve upon.”

 

Richardson got a major monkey off his back in mid January by winning Farr 40 class at Acura Key West for the first time in 11 attempts. Tactician Terry Hutchinson and professional trimmers Skip Baxter, Morgan Trubovich and Zack Hurst anchor a consistent crew for Richardson, who is winless in 10 Farr 40 regattas off Miami.

 

“These major regattas are tough to win. We ended the drought in Key West this year and hopefully we can do the same in Miami,” Richardson said.

 

The fast growing Melges 32 class was also hotly contested in Key West and another battle royale shapes up for Acura Miami Grand Prix. Jeff Ecklund skippered Star to a narrow two-point victory over New Wave (Mike Carroll and Marty Kullman) at Key West and knows it will be tough to repeat that feat.

 

“This regatta is going to be the same as Key West… any one of six boats is capable of winning,” said Ecklund, a Fort Lauderdale resident who will have boat builder Harry Melges calling tactics again. “We were fortunate to have consistent boat speed in all conditions in Key West and hopefully we can carry that over to Miami.”

 

Dave Brennan, a lifelong Miami resident, returns for his fifth year as principal race officer. Brennan hopes to complete 10 windward-leeward races set off Hawk Channel just south of Government Cut.

 

“The breeze tends to be very steady off Miami this time of year,” said Brennan, who is coming off a successful stint as PRO for the Etchells Jaguar Series. “Sea conditions inside the reef are terrific when the wind is under 15 knots. If it kicks up to 18 or 20, the waves tend to corner up and it can get a bit bumpy.”

 

It’s doubtful conditions will ever get rough enough to bother Dan Meyer’s Numbers, a Judel-Vrolijk 66-footer that is largest in the fleet and scratch entry in IRC 1. Meyers, who lists a home port of Newport, R.I., has done quite well with the rocket ship since she was launched last fall – winning class honors at the IRC East Coast Championship off Annapolis and at Acura Key West 2008. 

 

Meyers has notable crew members aboard including tactician Brad Butterworth and trimmer Warrick Fleury, members of the two-time America’s Cup champion Alinghi Racing syndicate. Butterworth  has raced with Meyers on four different versions of Numbers dating back to 1996.

 

Flash Glove, a JV 52 owned by Colm Barrington of Dublin, Ireland, was runner-up in IRC 1 class at Key West – winning three races and finishing just four points behind Numbers.

 

“Three different boats held the outright lead over the last three days of Key West and I expect the class to be very competitive again. We will be challenged,” Meyers said. “Colm has an outstanding crew on Flash Glove and they sail the boat incredibly well with very few mistakes.”

 

There is an interesting mix of boats in IRC 2 with a trio of Swan 42s taking on a J/44, J/122 and Aerodyne 38. Robin Team, owner of the J/122 Teamwork, is anxious to see how the fleet sorts out.

 

“It’s going to be fun to mix it up with a variety of boats that probably perform differently depending on the conditions,” said Team of Beaufort, S.C., who earned the Lewmar Boat of the Day award in Key West.

 

Gold Digger, the J/44 owned by James Bishop of Jamestown, R.I., posted two bullets and a pair of runner-up results in placing second overall in IRC 2 at Key West. Meanwhile, skipper Andrew Fisher and team sailed Bandit to victory in Swan 42 class.

 

“We tend to do well in light to medium air while the Swan 45s and the J/44 are very tough to beat in heavy air,” Team said. “We’re looking forward to seeing varied conditions in Miami, which will give all the boats a chance to shine.”

 

Since taking over management of the annual regatta four years ago, Premiere Racing has breathed new life into an event with a 60 year history.

 

“It’s great to see this grand prix format we put in place last year take hold,” event director Peter Craig said. “We are looking at strong numbers in all four classes, which proves the owners have responded positively to the change.”

 

Competitors in all classes will be looking to capture the Acura Grand Prix Trophy, awarded for best overall performance at the two major winter regattas organized by Premiere Racing.

 

“To win the combined trophy for Acura Key West and Acura Miami Grand Prix is a real accomplishment. It shows consistency over the course of two highly competitive events,” Craig said.

 

Results, Photos and News: http//:www.premiere-racing.com

 

Bill Wagner, Press Officer

Email: BWagner@capitalgazette.com

 

More Notes and Quotes:

 

 World-renowned sailing commentator Gary Jobson and his Emmy Award-winning camera crew and production team will be on site filming the action and will post daily broadcast on ESPN.com. 

 

Barking Mad will have a target on its back and will no doubt be challenged by the likes of Mascalzone Latino (Vincenzo Onorato, Italy), Twins (Erik Maris, France) and Nerone (Massimo Mezzaroma, Italy), all of which finished in the Top 5 in Key West.

 

Warpath, the California entry sailed by the San Diego father-son team of Fred and Steve Howe, is taking delivery of a brand new boat in Miami and will have renowned professional Paul Cayard aboard as tactician.

 

“I think the top six finishers in Key West were all new boats so we are interested to see if that will make a difference in performance for us,” said Steve Howe, who steered Warpath to a seventh place finish in that regatta.

 

Returning to the Farr 40 class following a year layoff is Heartbreaker, owned by Robert Hughes of Macatawa, Mich. Hughes won the Acura Miami Grand Prix in 2006, but spent all of last season mounting a campaign for the Canada’s Cup.  Former St. Mary’s College All-American and College Sailor of the Year Mark Ivey will call tactics on Heartbreaker.

 

“We haven’t raced in a big, international fleet since Miami two years ago so we are eager to see whether we’ve fallen behind the learning curve,” said Hughes, who captured the Canada’s Cup for the United States last October in Toronto. “We really enjoy sailing off Miami because we feel our boat goes well in a breeze and a bump.”

 

New Wave’s Carroll and Kullman are coming off a hard-earned victory at the St. Petersburg Sperry Top-Sider NOOD and have brought Quantum professional Scott Nixon onboard as tactician.

 

“We normally have a completely Corinthian crew and take great pride in that approach, but the class just continues to get stronger and all the top boats have star-studded crews,” Carroll said. “We felt we needed to do something in order to remain competitive. Jeff (Ecklund), in particular, has brought the fleet along with his commitment and effort. We will be hard-pressed to keep pace with his team.”

 

“Miami is a great venue. It’s fun to go racing out of a big, cosmopolitan city once in a while,” said Dan Meyers said. “Miami Beach is such a vibrant place with so many interesting and different things to do.”