Reichel/Pugh caught up with Olympian Dave Hughes to discuss sailing the Melges 24 which was designed by Reichel/Pugh in 1992 and remains one of the premier sportboat classes. Dave was tactician on the newly crowned 2016 Melges 24 World Champion team of Embarr.
Simply put, the Melges 24 is still the best sport-boat ever built. It was ahead of its time when introduced in the early 1990’s and it’s still the gold-standard today. Challengers come and go, but we all tend to circle back to the Melges 24. It’s fast, lively, feels great to drive, can handle the full range from calm and flat to big breeze and waves — all the things you look for in a class. I’m encouraged by a recent wave of enthusiasm for the boat. Amateurs and pros are drawn to the qualities of boat, let alone the talent of the fleet. The last couple of Worlds Championships have chalked up big turn-outs and I hope to see that trend continue.
Boat set-up is what you make of it. The Melges 24 is fairly simple to rig and the fleet is always anxious to help new comers. Sure, you can go down the road of tweaking every item like the top teams, but rather standard equipment will do just fine — in fact, more than fine. Moreover, since the boat has so much history, the collective knowledge is open with all aspects of tunings, measurements, and the little “tricks” that every one-design has.
As for the team, the best are those who love sailing together. That is the honest reality. The boat can be hard and grueling at times, but also uniquely rewarding. You really must enjoy the partnership you have with the others on the boat. The real decision for new teams is the question of sailing with four or five people. I’ve always sailed five and enjoy the extra challenge, but there are World Champion four-person teams, as well. In the end, it pays to be at or near the class weigh-limit, but when learning, don’t worry about this so much. Often, your average sailors fit well within one category or the other.
The biggest revolution of late is to sail the boat harder and dinghy-like. Our own Olympic experience has definitely informed our Melges sailing. We’ve all heard people talk about “sailing it like a dinghy,” but this style is a seriously good fit for the Melges 24. For example, this allows for the downwinds to open up in a tactical sense. More modes equal more decision options — bow-up planing, lazy planing, ride waving, soaking. The Melges is spry and allows for all aspects of dynamic sailing.
The highlight of sailing the boat is that feeling when your team is truly in sync and clicking!
As re-published in Sailing Scuttlebutt
The Melges 24 is designed by Reichel/Pugh and and built by Melges Boat Works and holds a unique position among the world’s one design sportsboats as one of the most successful classes of high performance yachts. The 2016 Melges 24 European Sailing Series, 2016 Melges 24 European and World Championships, Melges 24 future title events up to 2018 have been announced.
(December 23, 2015) – At the end of another great season the World Council of the International Melges 24 Class Association (IM24CA) met up for its Annual General Meeting to discuss about the feedback of the 2015 season and to draw the main line of the future events. Read More …
Riccardo Simoneschi Wins 2015 Melges 24 World Ranking, Miles Quinton/Geoff Carveth Claims European, Steve Boho North American and Chris Links Australasian Ranking
The 2015 Melges 24 World and Continental Ranking series featured 14 events across Europe, North America and Australia including the main title event of the year – Melges 24 World Championship incorporating National Championships and major regional events all around the world. Every continent hosted 4-6 ranking series events in conclusion of which the winners of continental rankings were found out and World Ranking consisted of all events from three continental series. 213 competitors from 23 countries took part. Read More …
Middelfart, Denmark (July 5, 2015) – Swiss-American sailor Christopher Rast and his EFG team secured the title today at the 2015 Melges 24 World Championship. Following their brilliant performance with three bullets yesterday, Rast’s team posted a 7-2-1 in the 95-boat fleet, sufficient after 12 races to secure first place without needing to sail in the final two races. Read More …
Shockwave Dominates in Battle of the Mini Maxis
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Strong turnout in the Reichel/Pugh designed Melges 24 & Melges 32 Classes