New 2008 Melges X Boat Launch!
1 March 2007
Harry Melges and I got on our way to SOCA Sailboats in Trinidad. SOCA is the builder of the very popular Melges 32. They have helped us to develop the new Melges X boat for 2007. Paul Amon is the key person at SOCA and an extremely talented boat builder.
We give SOCA rave reviews as they have done an outstanding job with our Melges 32 project. The quality and craftsmanship is definitely up to Melges standards. We were very eager to see the new Melges X.
After going through a long customs line Paul was at the airport to pick us up. He drove us straight to his shop so we could see the new boat. Keep in mind – it was 10:00 at night, we had been traveling 9 hours, needless to say we were eager and excited to see the new boat in person. We arrived at SOCA, Paul unlocked the gates and there was the new boat, fully rigged in his shop – on display. The boat looks very clean, sleek and fast just on the trailer alone.
This quick review brought back a lot of memories of X boat sailing for both Harry and I. Without a doubt, this boat would have been a lot more fun and a lot more exciting to sail back in our day. The ILYA youth will really like the modern look of the new Melges X Boat.
The next morning we were up at 6am ready to travel back to the shop. There were 4 other X boats being worked on while we were there. All of the boats were in different stages. Paul sprayed a new hull this morning. Many more to build as we have 15 of these new boats sold to date. Harry and I worked on some of the final touches with the new boat. New rigging ideas, a new boom rest idea and general review of the hull and deck.
We loaded up the boat, spars and sails. We drove about 45 minutes to the Trindad-Tobago Sailing Association. Rigged the boat, hoisted the North Sails and off we went. In the beginning it was very light so I sailed the boat alone. There was just enough breeze for me to sit on the high side at times.
While we waited for wind and for Paul’s daughter Alexandra to arrive from school we decided to perform our tip over drills. Nice thing the water is warm! I went for a tip over swim! Swam around the boat as she laid on her side – riding high and dry just as we had planned. Any water that we threw into the cockpit area would slide right back out. Very nice. This would eliminate the boat from filling with water and sinking sideways after a tip over. The old boats would do this in big wave. Thus, the new boat is much safer and more user friendly.
After getting the boat back up the breeze filled some. Harry and I sailed upwind for a good 30 minutes. There was even enough wind for me to hike out! We reviewed the layout of the rigging, looked at our North Sails shapes and discussed many new ideas. We put the boat through its paces upwind, reaching and downwind.
Paul’s daughter is a youth sailor at the TTSA. She does a lot of crewing with her dad and she is starting to sail a laser on her own. She is 15 and a keen sailor. We went upwind together for a long time putting ourselves out in some nice ocean chop and swell. Sailing a Melges X boat in the ocean, in chop – never thought I would ever be doing that. It was really cool.
The new boat felt really fast as we powered our way through the waves. We sailed upwind this time for about 40 minutes. In the end the boat was very, very dry. This was great! If there would ever be a time for a “wet boat” inside it would have been here, in the ocean chop. The cockpit was dry.
We powered the boat off onto a reach. The boat really sizzled along as we got the boat up on some really nice planes in the big waves. We sailed toward a big ocean tanker. You can see the pictures – the new Melges X was movin’. Really a fun ride! After about a 25 minute reach we tacked and went back. We decided to do another tip over drill while in the big waves and swell. Same result – dry and save. Mission accomplished with the new deck. The boat popped back up and we were reaching and surfing again. X boats surfing – a great concept and really fun!
After seeing this new boat, sailing it, we realized that this modern look could be beneficial for youth sailors and adults. This new boat could expand to a new market – not just youth sailors. Introductory adult sailors would love the look of this new boat. It is exceptional!
Get ready to see one of these new boats in person! We should see these new boats in the water come late April. The 2007 Melges X is a very exciting product!
We pulled the boat out of the water at TTSA and rinsed the equipment off thoroughly. We de-rigged the boat in preparations to take her to the SOCA shop the next morning. Our goal of making an exciting, safe, fast new X boat was accomplished.
That night we had dinner at Tim Kimpton’s house. Tim is a Melges 32 owner here in the Carribean. Paul and his wife Ros, Harry and I, Tim and his wife enjoyed a nice dinner on their outside patio. We discussed Melges 32’s, Melges 24’s, X boats, other scows, iceboats – you name it. Anything sailing! Real fun.
Our last day brought us back to get the new boat and take it back to SOCA. We unloaded the boat, cleaned her again and reviewed all the updates for future production. SOCA has done and amazing job with the Melges 32 and we have seen them do an outstanding job with the new Melges X Boat. Thank you Paul Amon and your SOCA Team.