Posts Tagged ‘Melges 24’
We’re most of the way through the Sperry/Sailing Anarchy World Tour 2015 and we hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of the world’s most interesting classes and events so far. Last week, we sent superstar sportboater and video legend Petey Crawford to the Columbia River Gorge to figure out why the sportboat that began the revolution some 23 years ago was experiencing such a huge resurgence in interest. Part of the new blood comes from an exciting upcoming Worlds location, but most of it – like any successful Class – comes from the people, and that’s what Petey found in this video. Get to know them – the pros, the n00bs, the groms, the chicks – and see why the Melges 24 still remains one of the best one-design classes in history.
And please head over to Sperry’s page and let them know how much you’ve enjoyed the coverage allowed by their support of the 2015 Sperry/Sailing Anarchy World Tour. Keep your eyes out for two upcoming SA contests as well – one to win some great Sperry shoes, and one to win a whole lot more.
August 31st, 2015 by admin
After coming in second over the line and fourth on handicap in the Bayview Mackinac Race, Curt Jazwiecki put his Melges 24 Gnarly Ruca into singlehanded mode for some outlaw racing in one of the last anti-sportboat regions left. Here’s Curt’s blog page, and here’s his story:
Putting the M24 in Mac race mode took a considerable amount of prep work. I figured that with the boat in “coastal” mode I might as well check a few more items off of the bucket list. The Lake Erie Solo challenge is on that list. But it wasn’t meant to be, at least not this year. I set off on a race of my own, for my own reasons, instead. Here’s the background on that.
At the start, most everyone was late. I intended to start 30 sec after the gun to stay out of the way, but did not realize that most people started minutes late. Well, I was there and had already timed my “outside the box” start. Off I went in light air about 50-60 degree off the wind. Auto on, A0/5 up, adjust rig….check.
This was my first official/unofficial singlehanded race, I was on a boat that everyone said could’t be singlehanded, and had one of the the shortest waterlines in the fleet. I had thought that I would be behind, but to my suprise I was out in front of everyone. I did’t want to sit on the lead boat, so I made a course change to go below him.
By 1400 I quickly horizoned most of the fleet and could only see two boats. This was an issue because I had spoke with the skipper of “Avatar” before we left the dock and agreed I would radio in every 2 hours starting at 1400 so he could make sure I was safe. I really appreciated the gesture, and hoped to contact him in the future to say thank you. I found myself out of radio transmission range of the handheld VHF from the rest of the fleet. I couldn’t find my masthead antenna after the Mack so I only had handhelds on board. I could hear them, but even climbing my mast a few feet and using the boost feature it seems I could not get a call out. I hope I didn’t worry anyone. I tried calling out to the boat behind that I could see, but got no response and figured he had his radio off altogether or on 16.
I played the routing game right and after tacking on a few big shifts the right way around Pelee Island, I couldn’t see another sailboat anywhere. A huge advantage sailing the smaller boat was the ability to tack and and complete sail changes easily and quickly. I reached Pelee Passage Light and found a fisherman in a bass boat. He looked at me like I was nuts, I looked the same at him. Considering the huge lead I had, I wanted to keep sailing on to Buffalo. Had I been racing officially I would have surely continued on. Logistics hassle and my Dad’s 64th birthday party Sunday afternoon said otherwise, besides I think the point was already proven about 5 min after the start.
After rounding I over-eagerly thought that I could fly the A1 to Huron. I knew better but did it anyway, and managed to make a course about 10 deg off the mark, but my autopilot was not enjoying itself. Spinnaker down. The boat responds so much quicker than the auto can, I see why high-dollar integrated autopilots are used by the minis! That’s what I get for being cheap and ordering an inexpensive pilot a few days before.
Conditions piped up a bit and it was getting dark. Time to grab a bite to eat and put my night gear on. I rolled into Huron after dark doing 9 knots with 4 foot waves reaching under jib and main with the occasional wave coming over the bow.
I gybed around R2 and headed for the islands. Perfect downwind sailing weather. I wanted to light it up with the big blue A2, but the autopilot was not enjoying the wave angle and there was decent traffic in the area on a Saturday night. The last thing I wanted to do was risk a collision with a drunk powerboater that didn’t expect a sailboat to be going 15 knots.
I was treated to a fireworks display from Cedar Point and cracked open one of the two Coors Lights I brought along. It was hard to resist the urge to pull into Put-In-Bay for pizza at Frosty’s. This is why you don’t see people doing long overnights on M24′s. Sailing fast during the day and hitting the bar at night with your friends is usually the way to go. Why punish yourself? Oh yea, the challenge and settling the debate….back to sailing.
Once I was in the lee of the islands around midnight, I hove-to, rigged the A2 and ate a MRE. After eating, my common sense prevailed and I left the A2 in the bag, after all it was only midnight and I still had to sail to 10 am. I was so far ahead of schedule that I would have run out of lake in less than 2 hours and would have to sail back upwind. I rolled up the jib and sailed under main alone making between 7 and 10 knots in perfect surfing conditions.
I was met with a big freighter at 5 am at the Toledo harbor light, I had to do a 720 to give it enough room to pass before I could round the lighthouse. Once back at the west end of the lake, I did everything I could to slow the boat down, after all, I had to make my trip last 24 hours. I thought about sailing on to Detroit, but my car and trailer were here. I made coffee, had breakfast, and sailed in circles. Hot Starbucks coffee on a Melges 24 sailing singlehanded, who would have thought.
The RO that started the race was out on his boat having coffee and kept and eye on the clock for me. I put the motor in gear at 9:31 am on Sunday and slid up to the dock at NCYC, making the passage under sail right on 24 hours as required. The Commodore and his wife welcomed me back and gave me a hand with the dock lines.
There you have it. 24 hours and 100 miles on a Melges 24. Done.
August 25th, 2015 by admin
The Melges 24 Class ushered in a new way of thinking about one-design racing, and without it, we might never have the kind of big fleet sportboat action that’s one of the high points of the sport today. Melges sailors – including our own Senior Editor – have been a big part of Sailing Anarchy since the beginning, and that’s why we’re so stoked to see the class continue to rebound after the lows of the past five years. You wanna know how big a rebound? How about an incredible 46 teams already registered (some 16 months early) for the Miami Worlds next December! Thanks to the support of Sperry and the Sailing Anarchy World Tour, Petey Crawford reports from the wild US Nationals at the Gorge. His photos, too.
Over the past 2 months, I’ve attended the Melges 24 World Championship in Denmark and this past weekend’s US National Championship at the Gorge. My main focus on both of these trips was to get back in touch with my own Melges 24 roots while promoting the 2016 Melges 24 World Championship in Miami. I’m glad to say that the positive trends in Melges 24 racing are evident, and that the entire Miami Worlds team will be working very hard to continue stoking the flames that are clearly burning in the Melges 24 class.
The most positive trend I’m referring to is the constantly increasing Corinthian participation numbers. The total entries at both events have been very high compared to previous years, and this is mainly due to non-pro teams getting on the line. 56 Corinthian teams showed up for the Worlds and 25 of the 36 teams at the Gorge were Corinthian as well. While the AC and VOR guys get the headlines, it’s the average Joe or Josie and their family who’ve always made up the bulk of the fleet and have provided both the strength and the future of the class, and that’s what we are working so hard to promote.
I’ve been working on some exciting new ideas to promote the ’16 Worlds with IMCA Class President Jens Wathne, and have already begun plotting and scheming with new US Grand Poobah Steve Boho who took over just last week. I can promise that we’ve got some stellar stuff in the pipeline, and of course you will see it here first.
-The Rev (and 2016 Melges 24 Worlds Chairman) Petey Crawford – out….
August 12th, 2015 by admin
Two Bayview Mackinac race courses means two great race reports, and we’ve got one each from the boats that took line honors. Tim Kent is the boat captain of longtime Great Lakes multihuller Rick Warner’s ORMA 60 Arèté, which beat out the Volvo 70 and MaxZ86s to give some first-to-finish love back to the multihull community after a decade-long drought. And long, longtime SA’er (and former Mr. Clean crewmate) Paul Hulsey was the skipper of Holy Hand Grenade, taking advantage of the new, smaller size limit for BYC-Mack boats to bring his Melges 24 home first on the Shore Course. Here are their stories:
Higher and Faster
The start of the 2015 Bayview Port Huron to Mackinac Race promised action, if nothing else. Weather alerts were beeping and braying from the VHF and everyone’s cell phone radar app showed it – there was a nasty front heading toward the 237 boats that had just started. A quick survey of the fleet showed skippers were of two schools; they either felt there was no reason to haul down their big kite, or they were bareheaded with reefs.
On board Rick Warner’s ORMA 60 Areté, we were prepared. Everyone was foulied up, and as the boats on the beach near Michigan’s “thumb” started to show the effects of the wind, we rolled up the big gennaker and switched to the J2, deploying the leeward lifting foil even though we weren’t fast enough for it – yet. We were already blasting through the fleets ahead of us, with spotters on the low side advising Rick on whether to take boats high or low. Our “out” – the direction we had to turn if we got blasted by a sudden squall – was down at this point of sail, and we wanted to allow plenty of room for the big girl to run if we got nailed.
When the breeze hit, we were ready. The full main and J2 were the right call, if just barely, and Areté accelerated instantly, the leeward ama coming within inches of going full submarine. The foil did its work, keeping the boat on its feet, and we took off at just under 30, though no one had time to give more than the shortest glance at the knotmeter; were all busy easing sheets, traveler, barber haulers, and spotting traffic. Most of the boats in the fleet handled the transition well, but we had to dodge a few that were sailing…unpredictably.
Running the Yellowbrick Tracker replay just after this point was great fun for us; The entire fleet is bunched up like a fist and then – pop! – out comes Areté like a watermelon seed squirting between the fingers! This part of the race was all about speed, reaching hard in a fast boat. As we headed toward the Cove Island buoy, we went back to the gennaker, then down to the J1 and a reef as the wind built later in the day. And that reef caused a major problem we’d learn about soon.
Areté has halyard locks at both full hoist and at the first reef to reduce compression on her beefy wing mast. When it came time to shake the reef, we had to slow the boat, bring her almost head-to-wind, raise the sail and engage the lock. It’s a bit of a process that we are still learning and it does not always work the first time. But this time it did not work the second time, or the fourth, or the tenth time. All that time, we were bleeding miles that we had built over the big chasing monos Windquest and il Mostro. We finally gave up, locked in at the first reef and took off, cursing the lost miles.
Before dark, with the wind clearly in full-hoist mode, we sent Mike McGarry, our ace repair guy, aloft. Once again, we slowed the boat and tried to engage the lock. We were communicating with Mike by VHF and after trying to engage at full hoist again…with the boat fully slowed…he told us to bring him down for parts. The headboard car where the lock release and engagement lines had broken…up he went again and after almost an hour of painfully creeping along at 12 knots – slow for us – he had the lock fixed and – as the sun completely set – we brought him down with the main fully hoisted and set out to make up a LOT of lost time.
As we rounded the Cove Island buoy, we did so with Windquest just a quarter mile behind us. We were going higher and faster and soon left her behind. But we were sure that the VO 70 il Mostro was still ahead and sure enough, several hours later she turned up on AIS – ten miles ahead. Ten miles.
As it turns out, it was not enough for her. Areté was sailing the beat as high as she was – and faster. As we neared il Mostro, she tacked to cover us. We cracked sheets, blew through below her, then hardened up and headed for the Island. So much for multihulls not going to weather. The big mono was in sight the whole time and as we got to Bois Blanc Island we had left her behind, ultimately finishing seven miles ahead.
We had accomplished the key challenge that Rick had set for himself, the team and the boat – first to finish! In so doing, we set the record for the fastest elapsed time ever for the Cove Island course – 23 hours, 12 minutes, 51 seconds.
We know that we left time out on the water. The fact is that Rick and crew essentially took a boat that had been in corporate day charter for five years, sailed it across the Atlantic and through the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Great Lakes, put some new sails on it and went racing. Evidence of years of deferred maintenance showed up all the time, and the crew McGuyvered their way through it –reveling all the time in the native speed and sheer competence of the boat. We have a lot to learn and more speed to find, but this was an excellent way to wrap up the distance racing part of Areté’s first season – first to finish and a record. More to come if you stay tuned on our Facebook Page, and thanks to everyone watching!
Little Boat, Big Lake
Well that was a hell of a fun race! Let me start with a small recap of the events and then I will move on to lessons learned and ideas for next year. That’s right, we’re doing it again!
Heading out on Saturday Morning was pretty exciting. Most of the other boats were very supportive but there were a few that thought we were crazy. By all accounts the weather forecast looked fair with winds predominately predicted to be out of the south for Saturday and then shifting to westerly’s by Saturday night and then going to North Westerly’s on Sunday morning through late Sunday Evening. As most of you know, there was also a rather large storm cell moving in from the west that ended up hitting about an hour into the race.
The start was a little confusing as the starting times were all jumbled due to the lack of wind. I believe we ended up starting at 1:00pm, with a scheduled start time at 12:50. Can’t believe it but we, on HH Grenade, were called over early with two other boats and had to clear ourselves down near the pin end of the line. At first I was a little upset, but that quickly disappeared as we were off on port tack heading at the beach with the wind filling from the west. In about five minutes we went from dead last to the clear leader, racing alongside the M24 Gnarly Ruca as we headed down the Michigan shoreline, catching and passing nearly all the earlier starters in less than an hour. As predicted, the storm cell moved in over the land and when the squall line was about 1/4 mile away, we dumped the kite and waited to furl the jib until the last minute. There were reports that the wind speeds might reach as high as 50 knots so we were being a little on the cautious side, putting on life jackets and clipping in with harnesses. When the squall hit it was pretty mild, with winds out of the west at 25 to 30 for a very short three to five minutes and then dropping rapidly to about 10 knots. In the mess we managed to slip past Gnarly and added about a 1/2 mile lead our class with only a very small number of boats still in front.
As the winds settled in they turned back to the South at about 11 knots. This may sound like perfect MELGES24 weather to the uninitiated, but in fact this is some of the worst stuff for us in a mixed fleet; we have to sail angles, and the competition just squares back, eases sheets, and rumbles down the rhumb line. These conditions held from about 4pm until 10pm and we were able to hold our lead – just barely – as a few others, including the all-conquering C&C Mark2 Eliminator, were able to pull within a few boatlengths.
As predicted, Saturday night’s breeze shifted into the WSW, and we were were jib reaching at about 75 degrees apparent. Top wind speeds went to about 15 to 18 apparent. A little better for us, as the two lead Melges24′s pulled out on the fleet once again to about an 11 mile lead going into Alpena by early morning. Alpena was a little tricky as there was a dead spot close to shore with a transition zone; on the South side winds were light out of the South and on the North side there were steady winds out of the North West. We were a bit too conservative, passing by the zone about two miles from shore. Gnarly decided to cut the corner (as did most of the fleet) and pulled within about 1/2 mile of us.
From there we match raced the other M24 for 50 miles on a dead beat always trying to protect the left side of the course. We had reports of the wind swinging back to the SW and also the waves were much more manageable on the shore. Gnarly did a great job of splitting tacks and always keeping some leverage for making small gains. At around 8:00 PM on Sunday the winds did manage to turn south slowly allowing us to fetch and then pop a code zero for our final run into the island. We managed to hold our 1 1/2 to 2 mile lead over the other 24 in the end but they made it pretty exciting on a few occasions coming as close a a few hundred yards.
1. The toughest part of the race was managing fatigue. Despite our best efforts, there is just no sleeping on the Melges 24 in any kind of hiking conditions. The only time that we had conditions for sleeping was on the first day while running downwind – of course, none of us were tired at that point! We did manage to shift drivers every hour or so to keep people fresh (relative term) on the helm. I will admit that on Sunday, during full sleep deprivation conditions, it was a bit quiet on the boat and tensions ran high whenever the other 24 pushed us. As we got closer to the island I think the adrenaline kicked in and we were OK till the finish but there was about a 10 hour period were the mood on the boat got pretty dark.
2. We brought way too much shit on the boat. The MELGES24′s advantage is how light it is, weighing in at under 3000 lbs with crew and all the gear. With all the required safety gear, food, water, Fuel to motor 10 hours (Roughly 4 gallons), and clothing the boat felt really slow and sluggish. I took about 1/2 the water that I thought I was going to need with the intensions of pulling the rest out of the lake for cooking. In the end We drank only !/2 of the 1/2 supply that we started with. Sure we could have done a better job of hydrating but I never felt like I was in any trouble. Next year I think that I would limit the water to 1/2 case for the first day and then pull the rest from the lake.
3. We ended up not taking our drysuits only because the air temp was never to sink below 60 degrees. I was OK but I’ll bet Todd would have liked to have had his drysuit on Sunday pounding through the waves and basically being wet for 1/3 of the race.
4. We were simply not aggressive enough with our sail calls. If I could take anything back I would have decided to run with the code zero on Saturday night. Our code Zero was designed to operate at 75 to 50 degrees apparent with winds from 6 knots to 12 knots. On Sunday night we were seeing winds at around 15 to 17 knots and I was worried that the sprit might break under the load so we went with only a jib and main. If the pole breaks then you have a wide open hole in the bow of the boat and it would have ended the race for us. Knowing what I know now I would have run with the code. In my estimation we could have been running at a steady 12 to 14 knots instead of the 9 to 10 under jib alone. With a 7 hour run that would have put us another 14 or so miles in front of the competition and we would have won overall pretty easily. I think we are going to do a lot more testing with the code zero this year to figure out its limits. Also I am going to check into the idea of carrying an extra pole. I’m not sure if it’s legal in PHRF to carry an extra pole so I will have to check into that one.
5. We should have been way more aggressive on our tactics especially rounding the Alpena and Presque points before turning west. We were afraid of getting caught in the dead zone near shore and as it turned out there was plenty of wind. In fact the Flying Buffalo went inside Middle Island (That shit is crazy because the cart depth is 5 feet in some areas), reaching along the shore while everyone else beat outside. In their estimation, they made up six miles on the fleet. That was the move to shot them into the overall winning position. I’m not saying that we should have done that, but with less than 5 feet of draft on the M24, some aggression with the navigation would be appropriate.
6. I could have done a better job sealing up the boat from water. We were completely dry until we turned up wind. At that point we were bailing about one bucket of water every hour and finished with about two buckets still on the floor. Made the clean up horrible after dropping the Illy Coffee can in the bottom of the boat and all the water was brown. It looked as if someone took a huge dump in the boat. The water comes in from the roller furling well and next to the mast where the halyards go below. I had the material to seal them but didn’t take the time to do it properly.
7. I had plenty of power to run a laptop and should have been running Expedition. It would have helped out a ton especially on the trip across Saginaw Bay.
8. I think the life raft is overkill but I would not think less of anyone who decided to carry one. I probably would have pushed the boat harder if I indeed had one. The problem is that life rafts weigh too damn much and when you are trying to save every ounce on the boat it just becomes too difficult to fit one.
9. Most important – it’s the people that sail with you that make all the difference. My crew was fantastic….. It’s worth saying again…. MY CREW WAS FANTASTIC. Todd Jones, Brian Schaupeter, and Peter Shumaker were simply awesome. These guys pushed the boat and their bodies harder than I did and I owe all of our success to these three. in the end you can take all the safety shit you can but it comes down to having guys that you trust with your life. I would sail anywhere with this group.
Looking forward to the comments (good and bad) about my post and I’m really looking forward to this race next year. Congratulations to the Flying Buffalo and Eliminator or beating us on corrected time. Congratulations to the two other MELGES24′s who gave us a good run.
See you all again next year with hopefully enough boats for a one design class!
- Tags: arete, bayview, byc-mackinac, holy hand grenade, hulsey, lake huron, mackinac, Melges 24, michigan, ORMA 60, warner
August 10th, 2015 by admin
Penalty Box Productions’ Petey Crawford and Melges 24 Class President Jens Wathne take a short break from the action at the M24 Worlds in Middlefart, Denmark, where moth and 49er rivals Bora Gulari and Chris Rast have been battling it out all week. Rast capitalized on yet more mostly non-planing conditions to take three bullets today, with Bora losing positions to both the Rastaman and Italy’s Andrea Rachelli. Watch it live over here for a couple more days.
Petey’s got a bang-up gallery of beauty shots over here and be sure to check in on the front page for more great work from Petey during next week’s J/70 Worlds in La Rochelle, FRA.
July 2nd, 2015 by admin
Talk shows, live sporties, SCOTWs, flying scows, and one of the biggest races in the world. It’s another Sailing Anarchy video tour!
kind of a big deal
Ian Walker and Jamie Boag began their Volvo Ocean Race adventure way back in the Green Dragon days, and if anyone’s earned the victory in the world’s premier sailboat race, it’s them. Clean grabbed Walker and Boagie (both late to their own show, of course) as well as Phil “Wendy” Harmer and best overall OBR Matt Knighton for 45 minutes of chat just before the final awards show last weekend. Plenty to learn and plenty to laugh about as these boys depressurize after a well-deserved few days of R&R in Sweden. As all of our VOR coverage, this one is thanks to Sperry, where Odysseys Await.
better late than never
It’s only been 6 years since On-The-Water Anarchy broadcast the first-ever live racing action from a Melges 24 Worlds, and thankfully the cameras are better, the network’s better, and the location and fleet size are both far better than those dismal grey days from the Chesapeake Bay. The racing, unfortunately, is just as bad – ultra light air began the first four shitty races without much improvement in the forecast – but if you dig sportboats, you’ll still enjoy this live action with 95 boats on the line (half of them Corinthian), and significantly more than the next week’s J/70 Worlds in France. More links here, and results here.
straight talk sally
Remember all that debate about Saving Sailing? Team SCA standout Sally Barkow gets to the answer in just a few minutes. One of our favorite all-time sailor chicks…listen to Sally talk about the race, about inspiring the next generation, about sailing instructors and mentors, all here.
the genny fan club
Who knew when superstar skiff/sportboat/match racer/SCOTW Genny Tulloch came to commentate with Clean and JC at the 2010 America’s Cup that it would be the start of a new career? While we think the TeamSCA boat might have done well to add her to the race crew, Genny did a lovely job of sharing the 2014-15 VOR with the world through her daily shows and live-finish commentary. Always a great chat and good chemistry with her old friend Clean, the brilliant GT is always worth watching.
We’ve seen the stills, but until there’s video, it never happened. Last week, the world’s first foiling sportboat proved that, indeed, she does. Where to from here for the Q23?
- Tags: abu dhabi ocean racing, Melges 24, Round The Island, RTI, sally barkow, video anarchy, volvo ocean race
July 1st, 2015 by admin
Sailing Anarchy lifers will no doubt remember the slightly insane Chicago Mackinac race run by SA’er stayoutofthemiddle back in 2005 in a non-race legal Melges 24 – at the time, a boat considered ‘extreme’ and not suitable for anything but buoy racing. Well, we’re extremely excited to announce that it only took 10 years for one side of Great Lakes distance racing to learn what Melges 24 sailors have known for years: If you can handle the conditions, the Melges 24 can too. That’s why, for the first time ever, this year’s Bayview Yacht Club’s Port-Huron to Mackinac Race will feature Melges 24s in action – officially.
Geriatric hand-wringers and the nanny-state crowd have launched all the usual arguments in an entertaining thread, but you’ve seen ‘em all before; the thread took a turn for the better late last week when one of the guys behind the rules change allowing Melges 24s posted his own reasons for racing his favorite wee yacht in his favorite race. You can follow along the in the discussion beginning here.
Well I have been sitting back listening to this thread long enough. My name is Paul Hulsey – skipper of GBR593 HH Grenade.
Before I start sparing with any of you lets get a few facts straight. I have owned 3 Melges 24′s over a period of 15 years. I have competitively sailed them all over the U.S. If anyone knows this boat and its capabilities I do.
Apart from 34 Years of competitive dinghy and small keel boat sailing I am also a very accomplished offshore sailor. I have over 40k miles of offshore big boat experience with 1 Transatlantic (not the pussy way straight across but over Scotland), 3 Bermudas, 12 Chicago Macs and this year will be my 29th Port Huron.
Each of my crew have roughly the same resume. Also we are not kids – average age of our crew is close to 46 years (When you factor in Jonesy – or as he is affectionately known as “Grey Ballz”)
We have spent our entire winter working on safety potocal – not just for ourselves but also sharing information between the three boats registered. What we have come up with is fantastic with very few Mods to the One Design Boat…. Meaning it will still be a One Design Boat at the end. What I want more than everything is for each of us to make it safe and sound to the island.
Why are we doing this? Well I can’t speak for everyone but I can tell you that for me the race had become ultra boring.. Just a punch card thing I did mid summer. Come home from work and ‘oh shit I’d better get packed the the Mac starting tomorrow.’ This is something totally different for me. Putting life back into a dead race and making it interesting again. For the past few months I find myself dreaming thinking about the ‘what ifs’. Yes, sure some of that about big weather and how I will handle it but also about if we get that perfect wind condition where we pop a kite and tear up the lake for 5 to 8 hours (With my trailer waiting for me on the other end!). What sportboat sailor hasn’t dreamed of that?
In the end if something bad happens it won’t be because we weren’t prepared or because we didn’t have the experience. Sometimes shit just happens. For us we are very aware of the risks and I know I personally feel safer sailing with my team than half of the other boats out there.
Finally I encourage all of you to come over and check the boat out on the island when we get there… And we will get there, come hell or high water. Come and introduce yourself and I will gladly show you how we set the boat up. Hell, come over and just say hi and bring beer.
This is what sailing is all about, kids!
June 9th, 2015 by admin
As if racing at America’s most exciting freshwater venue wasn’t enough, the shiny, happy people of North Bonneville, Washington have just turned up the fun dial to 11 for every non-junior sailing event at the Columbia Gorge Racing Association in Cascade Locks, Oregon. That’s because N. Bonneville – just 11 minutes by car from the Locks and over the stupefying Bridge of the Gods - now has the world’s only city-owned marijuana shop, with the serious dank, vape, and edibles to make you even the worst regatta results seem just hilarious. We’re not joking at all - the chronic is now legal for anyone over 21 on both sides of the Columbia, and if organizers can’t come up with some cannachocolate bars or oatmeal-haze cookies in your regatta bag, they’re not trying hard enough!
Just in time, too – the Melges 24 Class is showing a serious resurgence, with 33 teams already registered for a summertime Gorge Nationals, as teams begin to build towards the recently-announced and already highly anticipated 2016 Miami Worlds. Get to the Gorge; we’ll have more on their upcoming events for you soon.
Offshore racers, we haven’t forgotten your substance abuse needs either – just check out the just-approved powdered alcohol that’s coming to a ditch bag near you as soon as this summer! Save weight in your gear bag and still give yourself something to warm up those cold, late watches. No word yet on how it is to snort…
March 23rd, 2015 by admin
Big thanks to Hamish Nicol for a great writeup from the Melges 24 Nationals in Adelaide, Oz. For more info, check the South Australia FB page.
After two days and with 5 races completed the 2015 Melges 24 Australian Championships are at their mid-point with competitors enjoying crash/bang/wallop racing followed by so much free sponsored beer at the dockside and wine in the club that the sponsors themselves cannot remember what happened and why they did it.
PRO Rogers is taking the piss because he keeps promising steady 15kt sea breezes that never show. The 14 competitors have seen everything from light Northerlies disappearing to nothing, to howling 20-25kt Southerlies with 2 meter swells to launch off. Add in the bushfires on the way over (now thankfully out), gear breakages and involuntary swims, and the fleet now expects tempests, locusts for the next few days.
The front of the fleet has a familiar look to it at the halfway stage with Chris Links-fresh from Wild Oats Hobart win-helming Cavalinho to several wins with Olympic Gold Medal winner Nathan Wilmot calling tactics. Adelaide favourite and former AC and 505 man Ronnie Duessen is following closely in second overall with his Red Mist’s red coachwork unmissable in the grey surf. Johnno Bannister’s Penultimate Challenge is in third crewed by a team of Mornington Peninsula hot shots. Another local boat Adrenaline is in 4th overall. Having been second after the first day Luke Stephen’s team had to survive a swim and a wild broach avoiding Red Mist.
The teams now prepare for an already breezy day three, re-examining their gear (two forestays failed on day 2) or perhaps breakfasting on Glenelg’s famous pie floater.
January 9th, 2015 by admin
We’ve all seen it happen, over and over again: A Class/regatta, or area (or judging from sailing’s decline since 1979, the entire country of America) judges the temperature of its customers poorly, and that line between ‘let’s go swap a little gelcoat with great sailors and earn their respect’ and ‘holy crap, I’ll never, ever have the time/money/desire to keep going in this sport’ disappears. The issue is not simply about well-written and conceived rules, though they help; it’s more about the kind of perception and atmosphere created by the folks running the show. No Class has more epitomized this struggle than the Melges 24; despite a feverish period in the 2000s when the M24 saw 100+ boat turnouts for the majors and big regional fleets, the NorthAm fleet went into rapid decline beginning about 2009. Escalating costs, difficulty in finding good crew who could hike as long and hard as the pros who absolutely filled the fleet, and distracted marketing from the builder were the culprits, and half a decade later, the Class is seeing a serious resurgence in the boat we’ve always considered to be the world’s most perfect one-design race boat. Long time Melges performer and now pro crew Sam Rogers explains why. Joy Dunigan photos with a sweet gallery over here. World Champ Brian Porter beat Bora Gulari on the final day in a replay of something we feel like we’ve seen at about 10 of these Nationals. Full reports here.
Where do you find that line between keeping top level pros in a fleet to provide that ultimate challenge, and keeping the average racer happy and engaged? It certainly depends on the fleet you’re talking about, but there’s no question that for an open class like the Melges 24, the amateur owners and crews are absolutely vital to maintaining a successful fleet – and the overall sport. Most amateurs want the challenge of sailing with and against the very best, but without the average man/woman making it to the race course, those lines are awfully lonely places.
I’m writing today just after an awesome 31-boat Nationals at Davis Island, FL, to let you know that the US Melges 24 Class seems to have made it through its ‘re-birth’ while really nailing this balance, and without losing its high-performance, grand prix identity. Nearly a perfect split between open and amateur teams swapping blows over 3 days and 8 races with both overall and Corinthian standings going down to the wire and several all-amateur teams filling out the top ten. Kevin Nixon’s Accru+ entry from Australia took the overall Corinthian trophy and 7th overall, competing with his wife, daughter, son and son’s girlfriend. Sounds like a perfect weekend getaway to us!
Roger Counihan’s Just Add Water team (Lake Lanier, GA) is a Melges 24 staple, and he finished a solid 3rd Corinthian and 11th overall. Roger thinks the fleet’s new look is awesome: “The Corinthians by themselves are a very strong fleet, and in every race there are Corinthian teams sticking it to the pros. There’s nothing better than seeing an America’s Cup sailor or World Champion behind you – those are always great stories for the bar. At the same time, its great to see what the pros are doing – how are they trimming their jib, where is their traveler, how hard are they soaking. Plus, as a fan of sailing, watching strong teams full of sailmakers, Olympians, and boat builders go head to head in the same boat we sail is pretty cool.”
Part of the Class’s rebirth is thanks to the early success of the M24, and the big used-boat market that developed as the economy collapsed. Enterprising sailors in a few unexpected regions scooped up good boats for great prices, the grassroots growth results are now filtering into the traveling/major regatta fleets. “There are still new sailors picking up competitive starter boats for surprisingly low prices and quickly learning to mix it up,” said Counihan. ”Our fleet is a tight knit bunch of friends who have sailed on everyone else’s boats, help everyone get better, and hang out off the race course.”
Texas & Gulf Coast District rep Ryan Glaze (Gringo) says it’s important to represent his regional fleet on the national stage. ”Our performance this past week at (2nd Corinthian, 8th overall) was important to our team, the Gulf Coast District, and to the USMCA. We proved that you can get an older boat, put used sails on it, and be competitive with a good team of amateurs. There are a lot of good sailors out there that would like to race the M24 but might be turned away by the costs. However, over the past couple of years, we have seen more teams in our district take a similar approach to ours; purchasing an older used boat, giving it a little TLC, and putting together a core group as your team.”
Through the ebb and flow of fleet growth in the 20 year history of the Melges 24 class and a stronger than usual used boat market, attracting a balanced mix of amateur and pro teams seems to have reach an equilibrium, and the spirit of the class has been renewed. Along with the solid turnout the Nationals, there was a strong sense of community with every sailor leaving with something. With a well attended class debrief led by some of the classes best-regarded pro and amateur helms (Porter, Gulari, Kullman, Madrigali), and an owners’ meeting that highlighted the recent growth in the class and previewed a solid 2015/16 schedule (featuring the 2015 Nationals at the awesome Gorge in late August and the 2016 worlds being narrowed down to a location in South Florida) the Melges 24 may be blazing a new trail as a model for successful One-Design fleet growth, just as it did over 20 years ago.
And it’s still quite a bit faster than all the 20-something production sporties that have come since…
November 18th, 2014 by admin