'We are delighted at the size and caliber of this fleet and we're looking forward to an outstanding event,' said Karen GOTTWALD, International Melges Class Association Vice Chairman, U.S. Class President and the event organizer. 'It is an honour to have both the top sailors in the world and our Corinthians competing against each other on the starting line. This is the only sport where an amateur can compete against the 'Tiger WOODS' of the sport. Additionally the attractive combination of the superb facilities at Ocean Reef Club, great sailing conditions, and generous support from our title sponsor Corum has proven to be an irresistible magnet to potential competitors.'
Australian America's Cup skipper and ISAF Match Racing World Champion James SPITHILL is an early favorite to win in Key Largo based on his team's victory at the 2005 Carloan.com Melges 24 King's Day Regatta/Atlantic Coast Championship at the Florida Yacht Club in Jacksonville, from 18-20 November.
Newport Beach sailmaker Dave ULLMAN, whose sails helped power SPITHILL to victory, posted a second place and served notice of his determination to add a Melges 24 World title to his numerous other championship credits which include three 470 World Championship wins.
|The Europeans Champions
led by Gabrio ZANDONA
will be looking to repeat
their success at the Worlds
© Richard Langdon/
Heading the list of USA based contenders who did not sail at Jacksonville is the Pegasus 575 team headed by San Francisco software developer Philippe KAHN (USA) with three-time America's Cup winning skipper Russell COUTTS (NZL) as his tactician. KAHN's 16 year old son Shark, who won the World Championship in 2003, has entered Pegasus 492 and is another favorite for top honours.
There is an equally strong line up from Europe. It includes Italy's multiple World Champion and America's Cup helmsman Flavio FAVINI who is steering for Switzerland's Franco ROSSINI. Britain's Jamie LEA is now sailing with Stuart SIMPSON and determined to add World Champion to his list of Melges 24 honours. France's Francois BRENAC recently joined Philippe LIGOT's reigning Melges 24 World Championship team, which is expected to make a strong showing. From Britain, Stuart RIX and Quentin STRAUSS, who came a close second to ZANDONA at the recent Europeans, will attempt to take the laurels this time around.
American sailors appear likely to dominate racing in the Corinthian Division, for ISAF classified amateur crews. Top contenders include Martin KULLMAN, Bruce AYRES, Don JESBERG, Sean SCARBOROUGH and Marc HOLLERBACH.