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2024 Melges 15 Winter Series Opens with Record Numbers

by Morgan Kinney 12 Jan 12:56 PST January 6-7, 2024
2024 Melges 15 Winter Series © Melges 15 Class

The first event of the 2024 Melges 15 Winter Series kicked off in Jensen Beach, FL, attracting over 90 boats. After two days of competition and four races, Luke Arnone and Cameron Giblin led the masses with a 21-point advantage.

The Melges 15 continues to prove that is a platform that anyone can sail. Almost half the fleet was in the 22-49-year-old age bracket with 25 youth skippers, 36 skippers over 60, 4 boats in the Mega Master division at 70+, and a dozen female skippers. A notable number of new faces were racing the Melges 15 at their maiden event including husband/wife team Phil and Abby Tanner, who spent their first weekend away from their 15-month-old and 5-year-old.

"I probably haven't sailed in a fleet like this since I was 16 years old," added Phil.

Abby added, "You're always in the action! It was super exciting and a lot more manageable than I thought it would be. Every race was more and more fun."

Across the weekend, competitors were met with a variety of challenges, from shifting winds to tactical course layouts. Day One was cut short after only one race as storms enveloped the Sunshine State and a tornado threatened Martin County. Day Two had winds varying winds from 10-18 knots as a cold front entered the stage.

"We haven't seen a turnout like this since our Opti careers. It was incredible," said Giblin. "It speaks to how well-designed the boat is and the community it attracts."

Speaking about their success at the event, Arnone added, "It was a culmination of our sailing experience to date. We had great conditions - we were planing downwind and got the boat moving really well through the chop."

The 2024 Series is powered by Vakaros's RaceSense, software that allowed all four races to be started under the P-Flag.

Pete McGriff and JJ Smith, were over early at the start of Race 4. The pair saw the red light on their Atlas 2 and took action to clear themselves immediately before dueling it out with James O'Gwen/Aidan Cunningham and Arnone/Giblin for the race win.

Despite being over early in three out of four of the races, Travis Odenbach and Monica Morgan placed fourth overall.

"I learned that I may be too aggressive of a starter - RaceSense will catch you!" remarked Odenbach. "The greatest thing about being new to the Melges 15 is that you learn something every race. We found a new gear upwind and down and it seemed to work! At the end of the day, it comes down to learning the new equipment and never believing that we are out of the race."

The next event is set for February 24-25 with the Midwinter Championship March 22-24. The early bird deadline for Event 2 is January 18. Email for details on getting a new boat in time for February. More information on the Winter Series can be found on

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