Works for Me
I have now test sailed the Melges 20, the Viper 640, and the Laser SB-3
I sailed the Melges 20 last week in some decent ocean waves off of Ft. Lauderdale in 12-14 kts. The boat feels very high performance to drive up and down. The bow penetrates the waves very well upwind and I did not notice the bow wanting to bury downwind, but we were running into waves ahead of us which is a good thing.
The ergonomics of the cockpit are spot on. It has a big boat feel. The back strap is a candidate for best idea of the year – very comfy while leaning your upper body out.
The Viper which is also a great ride with great ergonomics has much more of a dinghy feel to it and has a ground swell of fleet building stretching from Marblehead to Miami with a winter circuit already in place.
The Melges is adding about 20 lbs to the bulb and going to a softer rig for depowering. Fyi, the Viper added weight to it’s bulb and went with a carbon rig after it’s original debut so we have to allow the Melges guys to do some tweaking.
My guess is both the Viper and Melges 20 will thrive as the sport of sailing finally decides to modernize the equipment it uses. The SB-3 has failed to get traction here so if you want a dinghy feel get the Viper and the Melges for more of a big boat feel.
The biggest thing I learned is that you have to test sail the boats for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
Despite what has been said in the SA forums, the emporer is in fact wearing clothes. – Stuart Hebb.