Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik 2024 March - LEADERBOARD

Born in the U.S.A., the Melges 24

by U.S. Melges 24 Class Association 23 Mar 2023 11:29 PDT
You have to love those hearty Midwesterners. This photo shows the Melges 24, hull no. 1, being launched for the first time on Lake Geneva in the snow. Among those pictured are Buddy, Harry and Hans Melges, Billy Freytag, Brian Porter and John Porter © U.S. Melges 24 Class Association

In 1992 on a cold December day, in the snow on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a new breed of sailboat was born. It would introduce a new style of racing inspired by the success of Buddy Melges and his legendary America's Cup victory.

With pride and prowess, Melges Performance Sailboats took one design racing to the next level with the creation of the Melges 24.

At the time, it was groundbreaking. With the Melges 24, they pioneered the next frontier of competitive yacht racing. They integrated high-tech materials and concepts used at the America's Cup level. They designed it to be easy to sail, rig and tow. It had a powerful asymmetrical kite that made it really fast downwind. That also made it really fun.

Best of all, the Melges 24 was attainable. Everyday, ordinary sailors could now enjoy the same thrill as those that competed at the pinnacle of the sport of sailing. At the same time, they would gain knowledge and experience required to become more than just an average sailor. In the long term, everyone realized if they sailed a Melges 24, they could improve their skills and become great competitive, tactical sailors.

"We took the Melges 24 to Key West Race Week for the first time in January of 1993," says Andy Burdick with Melges. "It was the first Zenda Express sailed by Hans Melges, John Kostecki, Steve Arbaugh, Judd Hirschberg and myself."

"We knew from the time we arrived, the Melges 24 was going to be special. We launched the boat on the ramp in two feet of water. That got everyone's attention. Then, when we raced past 50-footers downwind, everyone was in awe."

Needless to say, the rest is history. Just a few short years later, the Melges 24 held its 2001 World Championship in Key West with 80+ entries.

Fast forward to 2023, the Melges 24 is still going strong. "The Melges 24 is a super fun boat to sail, particularly downwind," says Melges 24 Dark Energy owner Laura Grondin. "To this day, the Melges 24 attracts top talent. This boat constantly challenges me and my team to improve and go faster."

Grondin, who also serves the International Melges 24 Class as President continues, "I started sailing the Melges 24 as a Corinthian and I enjoyed the fleet then as much as I do now, for all the same reasons. It's a fantastic boat to race."

"We are starting to see more women and youth get into the fleet, which is great. The energy and diversity they bring to the fleet is the absolute best!"

"We've got a great lineup of events all around the world this year — the Worlds in Denmark, the North Americans will take place in Toronto, Canada, and of course, there is going to be an amazing U.S. Nationals at the home of the Melges 24, on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I hear a Melges Rocks party is going to happen — the band has been booked!"

In the U.S., the Class is ramping up for an amazing year of racing in celebration of the Melges 24's 30th anniversary. The National Ranking Series is in full swing, and the Quantum Great Lakes Cup Series starts soon. The first event takes place in Muskegon, Michigan in May — the finale is the National Championship on October 6-8, 2023, hosted by the Lake Geneva Yacht Club.

Stay close to the U.S. Melges 24 Class and International Melges 24 Class websites as 2023 unfolds.

Related Articles

Quantum Melges 24 Great Lakes Cup Series kicks off
4-part regatta series tailor-made for the iconic sportboat Title sponsor Quantum Sails and the U.S. Melges 24 Class Association (USM24CA) are ready to usher in the 2024 Great Lakes Cup racing series for a fourth exciting year. Posted on 16 May
Something to Smile and Wave about
The 2024 Melges 24 North American Sailing Series is almost to the halfway mark The current frontrunner, Jaime Torres, commands the leaderboard racing the formidable Smile and Wave, just slightly ahead of Midwinter Champion Steve Boho on The 300, and Bacardi Winter Series Champion Bora Gulari racing Kingspoke. Posted on 15 May
Melges 24 Marina Portoroz Regatta overall
Peter Karrie's Nefeli triumphs at second event in European Sailing Series It's Peter Karrie's Nefeli who takes the honor of winning the traditional Marina Portoroz Melges 24 Regatta, 2nd event of the 2024 Melges 24 European Sailing Series organized by YC Marina Portoroz in collaboration with Int'l Melges 24 Class Association Posted on 13 May
Marina Portoroz Melges 24 Regatta Day 2
Six races in Nefeli maintains lead as competition heats up A stable Mistral, but weak in intensity, allowed the carrying out of another three valid races for the Marina Portoroz Melges 24 Regatta. Posted on 11 May
Marina Portoroz Melges 24 Regatta Day 1
Peter Karrie' Nefeli shines The opening day of the Marina Portoroz Melges 24 Regatta, the second event of the Melges 24 European Sailing Series 2024, proved to be a spectacular start for competitors, with enthusiastic comments from Peter Karrie, owner of Nefeli Posted on 11 May
Marina Portoroz Melges 24 Regatta preview
Melges 24 European Sailing Series event to set sail on Friday It's that time of the year again when Portoroz beckons the international Melges 24 fleet as the Melges 24 European Sailing Series 2024 makes its next stop in this picturesque Slovenian coastal town. Posted on 9 May
Breadth of talent at Charleston Race Week 2024
College of Charleston Sailing Team alumni and students take podium places across the fleet The Charleston Race Week at Patriots Point was a time for celebration for the College of Charleston Sailing Team; it can be proud of the depth of talent that it fielded at the prestigious regatta, one of the largest held annually in the country. Posted on 26 Apr
Charleston Race Week at Patriots Point overall
Spectrum of conditions put the best to the test Charleston: a wonderful place to completely turn off before turning onto some of the nation's most challenging sailing conditions, to get excited for the upcoming sailing season, see your friends, escape the cold, and simply have a great time Posted on 22 Apr
Melges 24 European Sailing Series 2024 - overall
Croatian 'Razjaren' triumphs in the season opener The first stage of the highly anticipated Melges 24 European Sailing Series 2024 concluded today in Trieste, Italy. Posted on 21 Apr
Charleston Race Week at Patriots Point Day 2
Chamber of Commerce conditions Day 2, Charleston Race Week at Patriots Point The great news on day two of Charleston Race Week was that the wind came in, albeit late, but it came in strong with starts after 2pm, except the pursuit fleets which started with a small delay around 11am. Posted on 21 Apr
C-Tech 2020 Battens 2 728x90 BOTTOMETNZ-STORE-728X90 one B BOTTOMSOUTHERN-SPARS-AGLAIA-SPARS_728X90 Bottom