Monday, September 7, 2009

Viva la Melges 32 North Americans!

Rockskipper Photography Leslie Richter

PHOTO CREDIT: ©2009 JOY International Melges 32 Class Association

Sausalito, Calif. (September 7) - Three more races were fired off at the 2009 Melges 32 North American Championship, hosted by the Sausalito Yacht Club leaving Don Jesberg (San Francisco, Calif.) on USA-162 Viva the overnight leader. "I've been around this race track so many times. Today, we played the game pretty conservatively. Stayed middle of the course the whole way and had enough speed to hang in there,' said Jesberg after racing. "I've got a really good group on the boat. We're having so much fun."

John Kilroy (San Francisco, Calif.) on USA-13131 Samba Pa Ti slipped to second place, only out of first by one point. Stephen Pugh (San Francisco, Calif.) on USA-158 Taboo is holding steady in third.

Racing commenced on time under clear skies, sunshine, temps in the low 70s, relatively flat water and light air conditions. From the moment the race committee said go, Jesberg’s Viva team looked confident putting their home turf knowledge to good use. Andy Lovell (New Orleans, La.) on USA-136 Rougarou edged out Jesberg at the first weather mark, Philippe Kahn (San Francisco, Calif.) on USA-166 Pegasus 32 rounded third. Jesberg was quick to jibe for clean air on the downwind run ultimately taking the lead. Through the gate, Jesberg rounded first, Kahn moved up for second and Lovell shuffled back to third. Jesberg led the charge to the finish, his Melges 32 was like a rocket for the win. Easily the fleet was clocking 15-18 knots downwind. Kilroy was second and Pugh finished third.

The second race of the day was all Pugh. Some of the tightest racing seen yet at the NAC took place in race two. After an awesome start off the line, Pugh's Taboo team got out front and stayed out front to take the win. Lovell landed his best finish thus far in the regatta series placing second, Jesberg was third, Kilroy fourth, Kahn fifth and Swartz was sixth, all crossing the finish line within a matter of seconds.

Jesberg continued his quest for total Melges 32 domination in race three. He punched off the line with Jim Swartz (Edgartown, Mass.) on USA-007 Q to weather and Pugh to leeward ever challenging for the lead. The Viva team was strong and persistent. They called the shots and got ahead fast. From the first weather mark to the finish, Jesberg simply refused to relinquish his lead taking the win by a substantial margin. Lovell placed second and Swartz took third.

As usual, it's down-to-the-wire for the highly competitive Melges 32 North American Championship. Two more races are scheduled on Tuesday with more ideal conditions on tap.

The International Melges 32 Class Association would like to thank the Sausalito Yacht Club, in particular Jeff Zarwell with Regatta PRO. The racing is spectacular and the hospitality of the club and its membership have been incredible.

Full Results (After 6 races, 1 discard)
1.) Don Jesberg - [4]-3-1-1-3-1 = 9
2.) John Kilroy - 1-1-2-2-[4]-4 = 10
3.) Stephen Pugh - 2-4-3-3-1-[7] = 13
4.) Philippe Kahn - 5-2-4-4-5-[6] = 20
5.) Andy Lovell - [7]-7-5-5-2-2 = 21
6.) Jim Swartz - 3-5-[7]-6-6-3 = 23
7.) Derek Campbell - 6-6-6-[7]-7-5 = 30