Melges’ IC37 is Setting the Pace
Published on May 2nd, 2018
Launched just a week ago, the first IC37 by Melges is undergoing sea trials on Narragansett Bay as it takes steps toward establishing itself as a new one-design keelboat class.
The New York Yacht Club developed the concept—a strict one-design class for amateur sailors with mandatory female participation—and has committed to purchasing a fleet of 20 new boats that will be used for member charter and the biennial Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup.
North Sails, Westerly Marine, yacht designer Mark Mills, Southern Spars, Harken and Melges Performance Sailboats are part of the team of industry leaders involved with bringing this boat into existence. Interest from the general sailing public has exceeded expectations with orders on the books for 20 additional boats.
After a rather bleak Newport spring, the sun shone for much of the past week, allowing a team of industry professionals to put the boat through its paces in a full range of wind conditions and test all the relevant systems and equipment.
“It’s pretty impressive how spot on everything is and how well everything works,” said Harry Melges of Melges Performance Sailboats, who was on hand for the first sail. “Westerly has done a great job building the boat. Same for Southern, North and Harken and everybody else that’s been involved with the project, Everything is working great.”
Melges also emphasized that these sea trials are just the early part of a journey that will hopefully culminate with IC37 by Melges fleets racing on both coasts of the United States, on the Great Lakes and abroad.
“From here we are going to go out and really dial in the rig tune, the sails, make sure everything fits and looks the way we want it to and then work on the boat handling side of things,” said Melges. “We need to make sure things are set up the way they should be.”
North Sails is responsible for the development of the class’s one-design sail and rig package, with president Ken Read personally overseeing the project.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been on a boat where you just splashed it in the water, put the rig in, pulled the sails up an hour later and went sailing as we did with the 37.” said Read. “We could have immediately gone racing, which is really quite amazing when you think of the process that a new design and build goes through. There’s a lot of learning to be done, but all in all the boat does what a good boat should do.
“The boat simply ‘talks’ to the helmsperson and the trimmers when there is too much or too little trim. It’s easy to dissect what feels right and wrong. Downwind we were up and flying, 12 knots of boat speed in 12 knots of breeze. There’s really nothing but positives, which is a real testament to everybody who has put together this project.”
With the first boat now sailing and more on the way shortly, Melges Performance Sailboats will turn its attention to building the class structure with the goal of class racing starting early in 2019. The commitment to Corinthian participation is a foundational concept.
“The sport is eager for a class where amateur sailors not only steer the boat, but also play an integral role in the tactical decisions and development of boatspeed,” said Melges. “We anticipate a class that is equal parts competition and camaraderie. And we’re especially excited about the class provisions that mandate female participation and make it easy to incorporate junior sailors into the crew. This is a tremendous platform and it will produce great racing.”
Source: Melges Performance Sailboats