2021 Melges 24 World Championship cancelled
Published on March 5th, 2021
(March 5, 2021) – One day after Scuttlebutt reported how the 2021 Melges 24 World Championship fleet was not looking too ‘worldly’, the Organizing Committee today announced the cancellation of the event which was to be held April 13-17 in Charleston, SC.
This was to be the second attempt by the class to host the event in Charleston after the 2020 title was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Laura Grondin, Chair of the International Melges 24 Class Association, explains the situation:
In sum, we have reached the point where we can no longer designate the event a World Championship due to the closing this week of the US borders to international sailors. In its place, we have decided to hold a world class event; it will be called the Melges 24 Gold Cup.
We have had to make decisions along the way to proceed with the championship in spite of the global pandemic. I have said from the beginning that international sailors need to be able to reach the US for us to be able to host a world championship.
Even back in January and as recently as last week, it was possible for some (not all) sailors to be able to attend and obtain permission to travel to the US. I wanted the event to happen for the sailors who want to sail and for the benefit of the class. We want you all to be happy, healthy Melges 24 sailors – engaged and provided with opportunities to race one of the best boats on the planet.
Just this week, we encountered insurmountable odds for the hosting and designation of an event that could be called a World Championship. And, the timing is terrible as people have already committed funds to attend including housing, travel, etc.
There are restrictions in other countries: Canadians face a strict 2-week quarantine upon return IF they can get here; Australians basically cannot leave and the UK now has a strict no international travel policy through May 17.
On March 2, the US government specifically issued a further travel restriction to the US for the Shengen countries which comprises most of Europe. There are now no visa exemptions for sports people as existed earlier in the year.
The local organizing committee led by Randy Draftz has agreed to go forward and host a Gold Cup event following Charleston Race Week which will be highly competitive and worthy of your attendance. In the coming weeks, we will present a plan for the next World Championship and beyond.