North Americans preview

The Melges 24 North American Championship is set to begin this week in Santa Cruz

Tuesday May 16th 2006, Author: Fiona Brown, Location: United Kingdom
The 2006 Melges 24 North American Championship gets underway this week in Santa Cruz, California, with the top Melges 24 crews from across North America and several European teams challenging for this biennial continental championship.

Registration begins at the Santa Cruz Yacht Club on Tuesday 16 May and there will be practise racing on Wednesday 17. Championship racing runs from Thursday 18 to Sunday 21 May with ten races scheduled. The combination of big ocean swells and a typically strong afternoon sea breeze make this venue a Melges 24 sailor's dream and PRO Hank Stuart and his race committee will be working hard to make the most of those conditions.

Reigning North American Champion Argyle Campbell and his crew from Newport Beach will be defending their title. Locally based Philippe Kahn's Team Pegasus is putting forward three boats to challenge Campbell with Samuel 'Shark' Kahn, Dave Ullman and Philippe Kahn helming. Along side them the stars of the Melges 24 US West Coast Fleet will all be on the water including Bruce Ayres, Jim Barkow, Stan Ericksson and Dan Hauserman. Travelling in from the Mid-West will be Brian Porter and his Full Throttle team with Harry Melges III, John Porter and Dave Navin on board.

Germany's legendary Alba Batzill and his reigning Melges 24 Corinthian (all amateur) European Champion crew, headed by owner Eddy Eich, are looking to add the North American title to their trophy cabinet. Eddy and Alba are on a roll right now having also secured the 6m World crown in 2005 so the Americans will have to look to their laurels.
Ashore the competitors will have plenty to keep them entertained with parties every night. Particular thanks must go to event sponsors Pusser's Rum, Red Bull, New England Ropes and the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, whose generous support has made this event possible.

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