20 January 2006, Key West, FL • Congratulations go to Dave Ullman aboard Pegasus 505, one of three Pegasus racing yachts on the Melges 24 course. Ullman won the 2006 ACURA Melges 24 Key West Race Week division four points ahead of Chris Rast at the helm for Franco Rossini on Blu Moon and nine points ahead of teammate Jeff Madrigali at the helm of Pegasus 492. “Great racing,” said Ullman, “The conditions were not too tricky today which helped our victory.”
The final day of racing in the M24 was one of great anticipation. Prior to leaving the docks, teams wished each other the best of luck, laughed, kidded around, and discussed last night’s bar/war stories — a signature camaradic characteristic of this flourishing fleet of high-performance thrill seekers. Winds were initially light, but tensions were high as overall leader Riccardo Simoneschi and Ullman were tied for first place with 17 points each, followed by Francois Bernac at the helm for Philippe Ligot in third. They were especially anxious as they were attempting a second P&P KWRW title.
Both races got off today without a hitch. Nice clean starts with a moderate breeze around 8-10 knots initially, then up to around 10-13 knots, occasionally touching 15. The races were short and sweet with long, wide rollers that were fun to play with. Early in the first upwind beat, the left side of the course was favored as the conditions shifted slightly to the right about 20 degrees challenging all sixty competitors. At the top mark, things panned out well for Madrigali just ahead of Ullman. Madrigali rounded first, followed by Ullman, Kristian Nergaard from Norway, then – from Longboat Key, Florida, veteran Corinthian sailor John Jennings at the helm for Bob Dockery on Barracuda in fourth. At one point downwind, Madrigali had a substantial lead on Ullman. As they approached the leeward gate, Ullman caught up.
The match race was on as Madrigali rounded the gate quickly with Ullman now on his transom, the two in close contention match raced the right side of the course all the way to the weather mark. Nergaard followed, then Rast, Dockery and Simoneschi. The finishing downwind leg was Madrigali all the way with Ullman trailing by several boat lengths.
Race two, got underway promptly. With Ullman now officially leading the regatta, clean quick starts, some nice speed and smooth boat handling were needed for the sake of staying out front of this very competitive fleet. This time it was Rast with an amazing start allowing him to round the top mark first, followed by Madrigali, Ullman and overall Corinthian division leader Argyle Campbell breaking the top five barrier. Down at the leeward gate, it was Rast still in first, Campbell just ducked in ahead of Madrigali – if only for a moment. Simoneschi, Ullman, Philippe Kahn on Pegasus 575 and Ligot round the mark hoping to catch up, all sailing the left side of the course. It was three wide Rast, Ullman and Madrigali racing to the finish. Rast was first, Madrigali just made it in ahead of Ullman. John Pollard from the UK got his act together zipping to the front of the fleet and challenging Campbell for the fourth-place finish. Pollard, at the very last moment, slid in ahead of Campbell with a
lot of speed from the right. Pollard beat him, leaving Campbell to settle for fifth place.
The U.S. Melges 24 Class Association would like to send special thanks to Premiere Racing for organizing yet another fantastic fun-in-the-sun Regatta! The race committee was very professional as all the races were well run and very organized. Also, to Harken for use of the rib out on the course so that race reports, photos and commentary would be possible. The USMCA would also like to thank all of our International teams for coming to Key West. We know that for some of you, this is a very long trip and we welcome you all back again next year.
TOP TEN RESULTS
1. Dave Ullman, Pegasus 505; 12, 5, 2, 1, 3, 5, 1, 2, 3 = 22
2. Chris Rast/Franco Rossini; Blu Moon; 5, 2, 5, 4, 5, 3, 3, 3, 1 = 26
3. Jeff Madrigali/Philippe Kahn, Pegasus 492; 10, 6, 4, 6, 1, 2, 9, 1, 2 = 31
4. Riccardo Simoneschi, Nautica; 17, 1, 3, 3, 7, 1, 2, 5, 10 = 32
5. Philippe Ligot, Partner & Partners; 6, 8, 1, 2, 2, 13, 5, 7, 13 = 44
6. John Pollard, Xcellent; 3, 4, DSQ/61, 10, 8, 8, 10, 9, 4 = 56
7. Quentin Strauss; 26, 3, 8, 17, 4, 4, 4, 12, 7 = 59
8. Kristian Nergaard, Baghdad; 1, 20, 15, 5, 18, 9, 7, 4, 6 =65
9. Philippe Kahn, Pegasus 575; 21, 11, 7, 9, 6, 6, 11, 11, 11 = 72
10. Laurence Leonard, Sailcheck; 7, 7, 9, 7.7, 35, 12, 19, 10, 9 = 80.7