One hundred teams from nine countries have entered the 2005 Corum Melges 24 World Championship at Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, which starts on Sunday
One hundred teams from nine countries have entered the 2005 Corum Melges 24 World Championship at Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, which starts 11 December.
Familiar names from the America’s Cup and Olympics are scattered through a high quality fleet that includes the winners of all past Melges 24 World Championships but one.
The victorious Melges 24 crew will take away more than the World Championship Trophy. Corum will present each winning crew member with an Admiral’s Cup Trophy 41 timepiece valued at $2,400.
Australian America’s Cup skipper 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 mid 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 Class World Championship wins.
Italian helmsman Gabrio Zandonà who won the Melges 24 European Championship this year was third in Jacksonville, while two-time World Champion Vince Brun from San Diego was fourth.
Heading the list of US-based contenders who didn’t sail at Jacksonville is the Pegasus 575 team headed by San Francisco software developer Philippe Kahn with three-time America’s Cup winning skipper Russell Coutts 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. England’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 England, Stuart Rix and Quentin Strauss, who came a close second to Zandonà 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 International Sailing Federation (ISAF) classified amateur crews. Top contenders include Martin Kullman, Don Jesberg, Sean Scarborough, and Marc Hollerbach.