Exclusive Melges 17 Interview : Mike Risewick
21 December 2010
Andy Burdick interviewed brand new fleet member Mike Risewick who races his Melges 17 on Clear Lake, Iowa – a hot, up-and-coming class venue. Mike has raced many scows, so special thanks to him for his time in speaking with us about scow sailing in general, but also what he thinks of the awesome new Melges 17!
Andy Burdick: The Melges 17 is the future of scow sailing. You and your family have been involved in racing on Clear Lake, Iowa for many years. What attracted you to the Melges 17?
MR: The great thing about one design racing is that it truly measures each sailor’s skill level on the race course by equalizing the playing field for every competitor. The inherent flaw with one designs is they’re sometimes slow to adopt change and design advancements. The Melges 17’s performance is remarkably comparable to an E scow, only it’s three-fifths the size and requires half the crew number. It truly illustrates the raw power you can squeeze out of a new, modern scow design. The mast is ridiculously easy to step, the roller furler jib is incredibly convenient and the asymmetrical kite delivers constant adrenaline flying downwind. I simply couldn’t resist!
Andy Burdick: The Melges 17 is almost as fast as the Melges E Scow downwind. How would you best explain the acceleration of it downwind, kite up and crew hiking?
MR: To sum it up in one word — it’s a speedball! I’ve been racing a Melges MC Scow for the past 10 years and the asymmetrical kite on the Melges 17 is a total game changer for me. The kite lifts the bow out of the water, effectively avoiding plowing into waves downwind which is miraculous, as any MC sailor would admit. Ripping downwind on such hot angles also makes it much more challenging tactically, as missing a puff can easily cost you 5 boat lengths. No matter how you’re doing in a race though, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the excitement of skimming over the waves at super fast in the Melges 17.
Andy Burdick: Will the Melges 17 progress at your home yacht club?
MR: Considering my financial investment, I certainly hope so. All kidding aside, I absolutely believe the Melges 17 will grow to become a very popular fleet in our club racing. The buzz and excitement around the club last summer generated by the demo boat brought to the lake by Melges was palpable!
Andy Burdick: The Melges 17 has a great regatta circuit planned for 2011. What are your plans to participate?
MR: Geneva is always one of my favorite lakes to race on. I’m planning on racing the Spring Championship, ILYA Championship at Oshkosh and the National Championship at White Lake. Currently I’m working on requesting to include the Melges 17 this summer in the Interlakes Regatta at Okoboji, a traveling team regatta between several lakes in Iowa and Minnesota.
Andy Burdick: The Melges 17 is so easy to sail upwind. The helm is balanced, much different the Melges C or Melges MC Scow.
MR: You can literally steer the boat with two fingers if you want to. I’ve skippered both C boats and MCs, which are great scows, however after beating upwind in both boats in a stiff breeze you’re physically spent from fighting the helm. The foil rudder design not only virtually eliminates any helm it also delivers crisp handling and minimal loss of boat speed during tacking.
Andy Burdick: When rippin' downwind in your Melges 17 in 15 knots what would you have cranking on your ipod?
MR: Monkey Wrench by the Foo Fighters!
Mike — again, thank you for your time and sharing your thoughts about your brand new Melges 17. We look forward to seeing you on the course in 2011!
- Andy Burdick