(c) Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi(c) Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Fast and Furious in ‘Frisco

9 September 2010

By Louay Habib

Robert Greenhalgh will be racing on Alex Jackson’s Melges 32, Leenabarca at the Melges 32 World Championship in San Francisco, later this month and it looks set to be a really exciting event.

“I don’t think many people would argue, the Melges 32 Class is burning very brightly. There is a great fleet at the worlds in San Francisco and it will be a hard fought series, for sure. Alex is one of the best helmsman in the fleet and we have a great crew. It is going to be a real battle, but we have as good a chance of winning as any of the competition, we will definitely be up for the challenge.”

Over 30 Melges 32s from America, Europe, New Zealand and Eastern Europe, will be battling it out in San Francisco Bay. The ten race series over 3 days, will decide who will be crowned Melges 32 World Champion. The crew list on reads like a who’s who of world class sailors including; Russell Coutts, Stu Bannatyne, Paul Goodison, Hamish Pepper, Flavio Flavini, Chris Larson, Gavin Brady, Nathan Outteridge, Johnathan McKee and Francesco de Angeles. But Leenabarca is not short on talent either;

“We have a top class crew,” Added Rob Greenhalgh. “The Class allows three pros and beside myself there is my brother, Peter and Chris Draper. Chris will be in charge of the big picture and Alex and myself will be working on the boat on boat tactics, to put us in the right positions. Peter will be leading the trim. Chris and Peter have been together for nearly a year now, competing in the 49er, and they will be bringing a huge amount of skill and experience to the team.”

The reigning world champion is Pieter Taselaar’s Bliksem, and they are back to defend their title. Whilst the competition will be hard fought right across the fleet, John Porter’s Full Throttle, Joe Wood’s Red, John Kilroy’s Samba Pa Ti and Rod Jabin’s Ramrod, should all feature.

“There is no way anybody is going to run away with a win at the Worlds, in a fleet like this it really pays to be consistent. Conditions in San Francisco should be very lively. In September, 20 even 30 knots of wind are likely. The Melges 32 really lights up in big breeze downwind. They are physical boats and as the kite goes up, it is a wet wild ride and gains can be made by keeping the kite working right up to the leeward mark. Upwind is really tactical, getting off the line is going to be crucial.

The Melges 32 Worlds start on 22nd September hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club. Leenabarca will also be competing at the The Rolex Big Boat Series 16th – 19th September. You can follow Robert on his blog: Visit www.robertgreenhalgh.com