Melges 24 World Championship Preview

INTERNATIONAL MELGES 24 CLASS ASSOCIATION

PRESS RELEASE – 13th January 2002

MELGES 24 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW

With almost 80 entries from 10 nations and 3 continents the 2001 Melges 24
World Championship, being held in association with Terra Nova
Trading/Yachting Key West Race Week from 20-25 January 2002, will be the
biggest Melges 24 event ever held in the USA.

This is a very special championship for the class as in the aftermath of
the terrible events of 11 September the original organisers were forced to
withdraw. Fortunately Premiere Racing stepped forward to offer the
championship a new home at Key West Race Week and it is now set to be
bigger and better than ever!

Crews are travelling from as far afield as Japan, Scandinavia, Europe,
Canada and the Caribbean to race against the American home teams and some
of the biggest names in international sailing will be competing for the
World title.

One of the hot favourites has to be Vince Brun, who took the Championship
in 1998 and 1999 and who is hoping for a record third win. Amongst the
overseas contingent challenging him are European Champion Cedric Pouligny
and European Ranking winner Laurent Pages from France, IMS 50′ World
Champion Flavio Favini sailing for Switzerland, World Ranking leader Jamie
Lea and UK National Champion and Olympic Silver Medallist Keith Musto from
the UK and leading international match racer Marcus Weisser of Germany.

American teams are travelling from across the States to ensure the
foreigners get a good run for their money. Brothers Brian & John Porter
and Olympic Silver Medallist Morgan Reeser all have unfinished business to
settle at this championship. In 2000 the Porters were close runners up to
the late great Giorgio Zuccoli whilst Morgan’s chances of victory were
dashed when his rig came down in the penultimate race.

After winning KWRW 2001 Harry Melges will also be looking to do well again
this year. He crewed for the Porter brothers at the last three world
championships so we can no doubt expect to see some friendly rivalry
between the two teams this year. US National Champion Argyle Campbell is
hoping to improve on his 12th place in the 2000 Worlds.

Fleet newcomer Philippe Kahn is so determined to do well that he has
entered twice! Philippe will be helming one entry with triple Olympic
Medallist Mark Reynolds as tactician whilst the second team will be led by
his 12 year old son Shark with US Finn sailor Mo Hart at the helm. Shark
became the youngest person ever to complete the Transpac when he raced with
his father in 2001 aboard the victorious Pegasus and he will also be the
youngest person to compete in a Melges 24 World Championship.

Japan will be represented for the very first time in the shape of Kunio
Suzuki and Team Siesta, who took the Japanese Nationals just a few months
ago and have been practising hard for their first major international event
in the class.

Amongst the four women helms racing will be Chicago’s Karen Gottwald.
Karen is relatively new to competitive sailing, only taking part in her
first international championship at the 2000 Melges Worlds in France. Then
Karen was delighted just to make the Gold fleet but in the intervening 18
months she has put in hundreds of hours training and racing and this time
out she will have her sights firmly set on the top ten.

To accommodate the championship requirements Premiere Racing have extended
the schedule for the Melges 24 Class to 10 races and incorporated on the
water judging, specialist measurement facilities and a dedicated social
programme.

In addition to tremendous support from the existing Terra Nova
Trading/Yachting Key West Race Week sponsors the Melges 24 World
Championship is also being supported by dedicated sponsors Woody’s Ice,
Melges Performance Sailboats, North Sails, Geneva Trading USA, LLC and
Protector Boats. The class has also received generous support from a
number of private donors.

Not only is KWRW hosting the 2001 World Championship but it is also the
final event in the 2001 Melges 24 World Ranking. With only 9 points
separating the top 10 this will add an interesting twist to the racing.
Going into this final regatta Richard Thompson (helm Jamie Lea) and Laurent
Pages are tied in first place just one point ahead of Argyle Campbell and
Neil Sullivan (helm Morgan Reeser) tied in third.

We’ll bring you daily results and reports throughout the championship and
regularly updated supporting information will also be available via
www.premiere-racing.com and www.melges24.com.

For further information please contact IMCA Press Officer Fiona Brown,
e-mail FionaBrown@compuserve.com, Tel +44 (0)7711 718470 or Key West Race
Week Press Officer Rich Roberts, e-mail richroberts@compuserve.com, Tel +1
310-213-2526