Lovell Hangs On To Lead U.S. Nationals, Rolex Big Boat Series
11 September 2009
The second day of racing at the 2009 Melges 32 U.S. National Championship, held in conjunction with the Rolex Big Boat Series in San Francisco, Calif. was equally as fantastic as the first. Two more races were added to the scoreboard with Andy Lovell (New Orleans, La.) on USA-136 Rougarou leading Don Jesberg (San Francisco, Calif.) on USA-162 Viva in second place by one slim point. In third overall is Philippe Kahn on USA-166 Pegasus 32.
Race one took place under ideal conditions — sunshine, a light chop and 12-14 knots of breeze. The start was action packed, Kahn with an incredible start center of the line looking for pressure on the left, Lovell choosing to square off against Jesberg at the committee boat end. Overall, the fleet looked good with the exception of Pat Hughes (Davenport, Minn.) on USA-125 Melvin who was a little over-anxious being called OCS.
First around the mark was Lovell, Kahn close behind in second and rounding third was Jesberg. Downwind, Kahn chased Lovell all the way to the gate. Stephen Pugh (Sausalito, Calif.) on USA-158 Taboo moved up to challenge Jesberg for third. Back upwind Lovell held on to the lead through the mark rounding while Kahn, Jesberg and Pugh continued to battled for position. Lovell was the clear race winner, however Jesberg made one final joust for second. Kahn, ahead by a small margin made the finish line to take second, but not without stalling on the tack allowing Jesberg to engage on the left, settling for third.
The last race of the day was all about endurance. It was a long race, stretching the fleet from one end of the bay to the other experiencing great shifts in the breeze and temperature. The New Orlean’s based Rougarou team looked strong once more taking the early lead welcoming another all-out assault from Kahn. Lovell was around the top in first, Kahn on his heels as the two blasted downwind. At the bouy, Lovell appeared to round the boat up too hard and too quick resulting in a prolonged attempt to douse the chute. Lovell’s team struggled for a couple of minutes trying to get the kite back in the boat. Meanwhile, Kahn took the lead position, Jesberg filed in for second, Pugh was now third with Hughes in fourth. Finally, Lovell got back on his way only to find himself dead last in a race he once led.
For the first time since the commencement of racing, the fleet was vastly spread apart. Kahn, with the lead firmly in hand, simply left the building. The speed on his Pegasus 32 was amazing downwind. On the final run, Kahn took it deep to the opposite side of Alcatraz, through the gate and back up the city front for a substantial win ahead of second place finisher Pugh, Jesberg was shortly thereafter in third.
Going into the third day of racing Lovell is seated in first, Jesberg is second overall with Kahn in the third position. The points spread is tight with eight points separating the entire fleet, three points between the top three. This championship is far from over.
1.) Andy Lovell, 1-2-1-5 = 9
2.) Don Jeserg, 3-1-3-3 = 10
3.) Philippe Kahn, 5-3-2-1 = 11
4.) Stephen Pugh, 2-5-4-2 = 13
5.) Pat Hughes, 4-4-4-2 = 13
6.) John Porter, 7-7-7-7 = 28
In addition to the Photo Gallery placed online by the International Melges 32 Class Association, the 45th running of the Rolex Big Boat Series boasts a great many media outlets to help you watch and enjoy this legendary event.
First, check out the Official Website of the RBBS/Melges 32 U.S. National Championship. Inside you will find the Race Deck Webcam as well as Live Video from Sailgroove.
Tucker Thompson and his team at t2p.tv are onsite in San Francisco at Nationals. They will have great footage of racing each day beginning Thursday, September 10 thru Sunday, September 13, On Demand each night after 9 p.m. PDT. Check It Out!
Also be sure to view the very cool photo galleries created by some of the world's greatest photographers. View Event Images.