Celebrating the Melges 24 legacy in 2023
Published on January 19th, 2023
When a well-conceived boat comes along at the right time, sailors get excited and buy in to the action. This was the case with the Melges 24, and while the level of competition and commitment has proven to be somewhat destructive during its history, the boat remains fun to sail and actively raced. In this report by the class organization, they celebrate its legacy:
Introduced in 1993, built by Melges Performance Sailboats and designed by Reichel/Pugh, the Melges 24 experienced instant success. It was awarded Sailing World Magazine’s prestigious Boat of the Year in 1994, and by 1998, the Melges 24 became massively popular in the U.S. and across Europe resulting in its first World Championship taking place that year in Torbay, UK.
“After a successful 1992 America’s Cup campaign, Buddy Melges and his team alongside American yacht designers John Reichel and Jim Pugh, produced what would become and still remains the premier one-design sportboat in the world. The Melges 24 has stood the test of time, and 30 years later it is as relevant as it was in 1993,” says current U.S. Melges 24 Class President, Megan Ratliff, owner of Decorum, USA-805.
“Its high aspect foils and large sail plan coupled with its simple deck layout makes the boat easy and fun to sail. The ability to trailer low behind a station wagon, and ramp or hoist launch makes any venue appealing. Its hull shape makes it exciting in large ocean swell and exhilarating on the flat waters of the inland lakes of the Midwest.”
“Close to 900 boats have been produced worldwide and there are currently active fleets in 25 countries. This Class draws sailing’s top professional and amateur talent which continue to drive the class forward. It’s an amazing boat that will undoubtedly continue to be the premier one-design for decades to come.”
In celebration of the Melges 24’s 30th Anniversary, the U.S. Melges 24 Class developed a M24@30 logo to mark the milestone. Throughout 2023, the USA and International organizations will be celebrating the anniversary, and return to its birthplace for the 2023 U.S. National Championship to be held on October 6-8 in Lake Geneva, WI.