Some seventy Melges 24 teams from nine nations are gathering at the St Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco in preparation for the Audi Melges 24 World Championship, which kicks off on Monday 13 October.
The entry roster includes all the leading Melges 24 teams as well as some interesting new faces.
Reigning World Champions Harry MELGES and Jeff ECKLUND have teamed up with Steve INMAN and Hans MELGES in a bid to get their hands on the title for a second time, whilst 2001 World Champion Flavio FAVINI is back in the class after time out for the Mescalzone Latino America's Cup Challenge. Having won the 1998 and 1999 Melges Worlds Vince BRUN obviously has his sights set on a record third win and has joined forces with Brian and John PORTER and Andy BURDICK making a formidable combination.
2003 European Champion Luca SANTELLA, with tactician Morgan LARSON, has his eye on a grand slam this year, whilst Jamie LEA, winner of the last two Melges 24 World Ranking Series, will be determined to finally take a major championship to go with his ranking successes. Frenchman Philippe LIGOT'S high successful P&P Sailing Team are joined by helmsman Morgan REESER and with Sebastian COL on tactics could well do some damage. US sailors to keep an eye on are Dave ULLMAN, Argyle CAMPBELL, Bruce AYRES and Don JESBERG whilst the European contingent includes Paul BROTHERTON, Benoit CHARON, Stuart RIX, Rob SMITH, Egidio BABBI, Rob GREENHALGH and Oliver PONTHIEU.
Of the new faces John BERTRAND and his Windquest team will be worth watching, as will James SPITHILL'S Southern Spars crew of One World America's Cup Challenge veterans Scott VOGEL and Matthew MASON with Mark HAUSER.
For those of you who like a side bet, the battle between Philippe KAHN and his teenage son Shark, who helmed his first Melges 24 regatta in Key West last January, is guaranteed to provide some excitement. With Mark REYNOLDS, Adam BEASHEL and Doogie COUVREUX crewing from Philippe and Richard CLARKE, Mark CHRISTENSEN and Brian LEE keeping Shark company there's no lack of talent in the Pegasus camp and Philippe won't be the only one worried about being upstaged by the young whippersnapper.
Racing runs from Monday 13 to Friday 17 October and we'll bring you daily coverage and results. For further information please visit the event website at the address below.