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From concept to reality: The Melges IC37 Class

by Melges IC37 Class 22 May 08:00 PDT
From concept to reality: The Melges IC37 Class © Melges

The Melges IC37 Class has transformed from concept to reality. On Friday, May 31, 20 boats will converge on the starting line for the very first time.

The fleet of 20 New York Yacht Club (NYYC) owned boats has left the two factories, Westerly Marine and FIBRE Mechanics. Now that the initial fleet has been delivered, the builders are now working to construct the privately-owned boats, purchased around the world.

We are proud of the build quality, the design, and the equipment chosen for this project, says International Melges IC37 Class President Phil Lotz, but more importantly, we are proud to bring a visionary concept forward in the sailing world, creating more joy in the sport through a strong class that simplifies sailing and limits the arms race.

The Melges IC37 Class features strict class rules designed to enrich the sailing experience for Corinthian sailors around the world. The rules require coed amateur crews, limit teams to a single set of one-design sails, provide incentives for youth participation, eliminate costly masthead wind instruments, restrict private regatta coaching and mandate a simple tuning matrix managed solely by mast step shims.

The inaugural year of IC37 one-design racing will feature one-design competition at seven regattas in Newport, R.I. followed by a winter series in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The 20-boat fleet of NYYC boats, chartered to members, will line up for the first time during the first weekend in June. It will be a rewarding sight for all involved in the class development and a heartening spectacle for everyone who appreciates big boat one-design competition. Learning will be a priority this summer. Teams are just starting to become fully formed, and the focus will be on refining skills, tactics, boat handling, and maneuvers. But the strict one-design nature of the class should help each team quickly conquer the learning curve associated with any new boat.

The training weekends with class-sponsored North Sails coaching will be followed by the Leukemia Cup, the NYYC 165th Annual Regatta, the NYYC One-Design Regatta, the Sail Newport Regatta, and the Queens Cup. The two highlights of the season certainly will be the Melges IC37 East Coast Championship July 15 to 20, held during the NYYC 175th Anniversary Regatta, and the inaugural Melges IC37 U.S. National Championship, September 27 to 29.

The Melges IC37 Class will set up shop in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for the winter. The Lauderdale Yacht Club will host the Melges IC37 Winter Series, comprised of three regattas in November, February, and March.

While the Melges IC37 Class has yet to hold an official class competition, it has become evident that all the project partners have created something profoundly important for the sport. For both men and women. For young and not so young. For boat owners and crews alike. The Melges IC37 Class was created for sailors who race for the love and joy of the sport. It was created to make possible what many sailors seek: the opportunity to test their preparation, skill, and teamwork on the most level playing field available.

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