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Test driving the IC37 by Melges

by Ken Read, North Sails 13 May 12:03 PDT
IC37 - Sea trials © Stuart Streuli

Last week we "industry pros" got to test-drive the IC37 by Melges, and the boat blew us away. Hats off to Lynn Bowser and the Westerly Marine Builders, and Designer Mark Mills. My first impression is the entire project team has gone beyond expectations and delivered a boat of which the New York Yacht Club is going to be exceptionally proud.

Speaking on behalf of our entire company, North Sails is honored to have been selected by the NYYC as a partner in this project, along with our sister company Southern Spars. We took the assignment very seriously and knew that we had to deliver a perfect product. I am proud to say our company has met the challenge and then some. Talk is cheap, but creating a one design concept with perfectly matched products isn't easy. The final product arrived, and we were able to go sailing without any surprises.

I'm incredibly impressed with the talent of Mike Marshall and Dale Morris, the two young designers from North Sails and Southern Spars assigned to this project. These are milestone moments for a company when the new generation of designers and engineers are jumping out of the nest fast and taking on new projects. Mike and Dale have spent six months matching a sail plan to a rig tune to make one mainsail, one jib, and one asymmetric work for the IC37. And they nailed it. For a sailmaker, there are no other words to describe a perfect fit on the first try.

On day two boat designer Mark Mills joined us for a full day of sailing in Newport. Mark gets it; the balance of the boat and weight placement is exactly as described seven or eight months ago. Both North Sails and Mills are using super advanced tools to aid their design vision. This is scientific sailmaking at its best. The beauty of designing modern race boats, when done correctly and with the right amount of time given, the guesswork is removed. Gone are the days of the dreaded, "Oh my god, I hope this fits," or "I hope this works." We're not designing on a napkin anymore. You can say it till you're blue in the face...we have the tools to create perfection, but you've got to bring that to life with smart people. And we did, as a company. And I'm very, very proud of the result.

Huge hats off to the planning committee for allowing the industry team to have the first sail and put the IC37 through its paces. The committee gave us the chance to get it right, and I think it's going to pay dividends once all the club members get on the boat. So what's next? Turn this boat over to the NYYC and its members for this boat's intended use, a fun, one design platform for Corinthian sailors, and for Melges Performance Sailboats to grow this class beyond the club and create a Corinthian class with global reach.

Learn more about the IC37 products from North Sails.

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