San Francisco Yacht Club and the San Francisco Melges 24 Fleet are preparing for an influx of Melges 24 teams from around the Globe as they ready themselves for the 2012 Melges 24 North American Championship, which takes place from 22-26 August.
Already many of the top teams have committed to the event and there's still time to enter before the early bird entry discount ends on Monday 30 July. Amongst the big names already gracing the entry list are past Melges 24 World and European Champion and Italian America's Cup star Flavio Favini and his team aboard Franco Rossini's SUI835 Blu Moon. For more than a decade this team has been winning major Melges 24 events around the globe, but they have yet to add the North American Championship to their CVs and no doubt they intend to rectify that situation this year.
Leading the home fleet are several very familiar names including Brian Porter and his Full Throttle team. A four time US National Champion, Brian claimed the North American title in 2006 in Santa Cruz and knowing this team's love of strong winds they will undoubtedly relish the big breez conditions for which San Francisco is notorious. Argyle Campbell and Bruce Ayres also rank among the elder statesmen in the Melges 24 Class these days and both already hold North American Championship wins - Ayres at the inaugural event in San Francisco in 2000 plus a Corinthian (all amateur) win in 2006; and Campbell in Detroit in 2004 - both will be keen to become the first crew to put their name on the overall trophy for a second time.
Don Jesberg might not yet have claimed a North American title but he's definitely hungry for a victory having recently returned to the Melges 24 after a couple of seasons out. Again Jesberg has been in the class since the 1990s and he and his hugely experienced crew should never be under estimated. Joining the old guard are plenty of the newer Melges 24 names such as local girl Kristen Lane and her impressive Brick House crew, Scott Holmgren's Rosebud and Alan Field in WTF, all of whom are more than capable of claiming this title.
With the 2013 Melges 24 World Championship also being hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club in October next year, the home fleet is being joined by a number of overseas crews keen to start getting to grips with San Francisco Bay. From Australia and sailing with Connor Clark's Irish entry Embarr, comes four time 470 World Champion and Olympic Gold Medallist Nathan Wilmot. Nathan first graced the Melges 24 fleet last year and despite little training he put in some impressive results so this will definitely be a team to watch this year. Australia is also fielding Warwick Rooklyn's crew aboard Bandit. Having won this year's Australian Melges 24 National Championship and finished third at the US Nationals behind Harry Melges and Alan Field, Rooklyn is on an upward trajectory in the class and with the Melges 24 Worlds likely to be located in Australia in 2014 he is determined to ensure that the Aussie teams are up to pace and ready to welcome their overseas visitors.
Alongside some great sailors, the event is also attracting some great sponsors whose generous support is vital in ensuring the success of the regattas. Recent sponsor signings include Weather Routing Inc, Trumer Pils, North Sails, Coral Reef Sailing Apparel and Pusserâ€™s Rum.
Online Entry, Notice of Race and further information about the event are available from the Event Website.