Jesberg chasing a podium place at Melges 24 Worlds

Published on October 1st, 2013

After the volunteer army in San Francisco Bay helped sustain over two months of racing during the America’s Cup, they are being called upon again this week. Michelle Slade of the Marin Independent Journal reports…

Racing in 24-foot one design sailboats like the Melges 24 may seem like a come down after the spectacle locals have been treated to in recent times with the awe-inspiring America’s Cup 72-foot catamarans ripping around the bay.

All obvious differences aside, however, the Melges 24 is a high-performance sport boat that ordinary people – no gold medals required – get to race at a very competitive level, as will be contested this week at the Melges 24 World Championship hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere.

The event returns to the bay for the first time since 2003, and this year more than half of the entries come from the USA. The 59-boat fleet also includes teams from 12 other countries, including Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway and Switzerland.

Heading into his eighth world championship in the Melges 24, Belvedere’s Don Jesberg, who sailed in the first Melges 24 Worlds in 1998 in Torquay, England, is hoping to improve his performance over last year’s race in Lake Garda, Italy, where the fleet was 128 strong.

“We were about 15th overall but not happy with our results because we weren’t very fast,” Jesberg said. “We were there for the practice of a real event because quite frankly, there’s not that level of competition to practice with locally.”

At least not for Jesberg, who has been scanning this year’s entry list to figure out how well he may do even with a hometown advantage.

“There are about 10 guys who will show up to race who each have first-class programs,” Jesberg said. “I’ve been working through the competitor list and it looks like a very strong fleet – Flavio Favini, Harry Melges III, Terry Hutchinson – all whom have won previous world championships. You go down the list, and any of the 10 could win this regatta.”

Editor’s note: We continue to question why events utilize temporary websites, thus insuring that information will disappear into the Internet ether, and all links connecting to the website will broken. The 2012 Melges 24 Worlds website has already expired, and it looks as if the 2013 Worlds site (melges24worlds13.com) will not be renewed indefinitely either.

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