New USA initiatives for Melges 20 Class
Published on December 18th, 2023
It was 30 years ago when the Melges 24 came on the scene, and its brilliant design quickly gained support. Fleets sprung up across the USA, and as can happen, the rise of effort to compete soon weeded out those not willing to invest the same time and money.
In hopes of providing a more inclusive option, the Melges 20 came along 16 years ago, but Class events soon required a similar approach to succeed. More so, as the people that focus on pursuing performance aren’t typically the same people to help sustain a Class, participation in the USA has recently waned.
However, new initiatives being implemented within the USA seeks to ignite Class activity. Here’s an update from Catherine ‘B’ Lindsay, Director of Communications for the Melges 20 Class:
The Melges 20 has gotten a new look. Since recently hitting its Sweet 16 milestone, the Melges 20 has seen a renewed energy fueled by the Class implementation of exciting new initiatives.
Class management is working hard to embrace innovation and improvement to make the Melges 20 a competitive and fun racing environment with a low barrier to entry. Thanks to a Class coach, mentorship program, fleet-wide data sharing, and cost-effective charters, it’s easier to join in the Melges 20 fun now more than ever!
At each regatta, a coach is provided by the Class and provides valuable insight and comments between races to all boats racing. With a roster of experienced coaches, from champion One-Design racers to Olympic Class coaches, Melges 20 sailors will get guidance from expert perspectives.
However, the goal of the Class coach is not only to improve individual skills of teams on the racecourse, but to rather create an environment where, regardless of experience level, sailors have an opportunity to enhance racing skills and enjoy the Melges 20 Class. Through the general Class coach, the Melges 20 Class is hoping to not just raise the bar, but increase the quality of racing as a whole.
Through a mentorship program, experienced Melges 20 teams are paired with new teams to the Class to help guide them through rigging, tuning, and general on-the-water set-up.
At each event, Class management sets up the one-on-one pairings allowing for experience to be passed down and giving newer teams someone to socialize with after racing. It’s an opportunity for knowledge-sharing, but more importantly an opportunity to build a strong sense of community within the Melges 20 fleet.
Perhaps the most exciting initiative is the recent focus on bringing a modern approach to racing with Class sponsored data sharing and analysis across the fleet. The Class is now partnered with Vakaros who provides data collection units for each boat at events.
In addition, the Class sponsors professional analytics on this data. Reports are generated after each race covering the data from all boats racing and including insights on starts, bias, speed, tactics and more. These data reports are then stored online and accessible to all sailors, not just those in the Melges 20. For reports from the 2023 Melges 20 World Championship, click here.
The final resource implemented by the Melges 20 Class management is cost-effective charter boats. The goal is to make Melges 20 sailing accessible and to encourage sailors to come try the Class out at low costs and without a significant upfront investment. The Class has two race-ready charger boats available for a discounted rate for the upcoming Winter Series events in Miami in February and March.
In addition, there are six charter boats just an hour outside of Charleston, SC available for Spring regattas. For more information and pricing send a message to Melges20usa@gmail.com.
There truly is a sense of camaraderie and passion that defines the Melges 20 community. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a newcomer, the Class is building a welcoming and supportive environment. The Class is excited about the future of the Melges 20 Class and invites sailors from all walks of life to join the new Melges 20 adventure!