2010 Melges 17 Builder’s Report

16 December 2010

Melges USA:

The Melges 17 is a true favorite for the team at Melges. This new 17-foot scow is an exciting ride, and with all its modern features, the Melges 17 will be a strong class for the future years to come. While we are at the ground level now, we continue to see very strong interest from lakes around our Midwestern area. This will expand too. The Melges 17 is modern, exciting and built for everyone. Say yes to FAST and no to slow! 

Melges did their best to attend the major Melges 17 Championships. In 2010, Melges had at least two representatives at the Lake Geneva Spring Championship, I.L.Y.A. Championship in Pewaukee, WI and the U.S. National Championship on Okauchee Lake. We also were at the Blue Water regatta as well as the Western Michigan Championship. We continue to promote and build upon the momentum of the class. We will continue to spend major amounts of time in the Melges 17 class as well as support important resources in order to keep it going strong.

2011 IS GOING TO BE FANTASTIC Beginning with the Strictly Sail Boat Show on January 27-30, 2011 at Navy Pier in Chicago, IL, the Melges 17 will be there showing off some of its new features. Be sure to visit the Melges booth as team representatives will be in attendance such as Andy Burdick, Coye Harrett as well as Jim Gluek from North Sails Zenda.

With growth in new venues, there is an increased enthusiasm about the Melges 17. Many of sailors will travel to the 2011 The Midwinter Championship happening in March followed by the Spring Championship in May; both events will be raced on Lake Geneva.

Next, Melges will start gearing up for the warmer weather in June where the fleet will travel to Crystal Lake, MI for the Blue Water Regatta. AND, we’ll be back again in August for the W.M.Y.A. Championships. So, pack your flip flops!!

By July, many local clubs are in full race mode and social activities with one event after another. 

With this in mind, don’t forget to save the date for the Melges 17 I.L.Y.A. Championships July 15-17, 2011. The Melges 17's will be traveling to Oshkosh, WI this year — it’s an awesome place to sail! Oshkosh is one of the all-time favorite places to race scows. Ya gotta come to Oshkosh!!!!! 

In August, the Melges 17’s will go on another road trip, this time to White Lake, MI for the class' marquee event — 2011 U.S. National Championship. We will be modeling this event after "the inaugural event" just a few years back. You definitely don’t want to miss this!

The season will come to a close in October at the second annual Fall Championship hosted by the incredible Indianapolis Sailing Club, Indianapolis, IN. Guaranteed this will be another fun venue for the Melges 17s that you will not want to miss!

At Melges, our main focus is in regard to the boat itself. We are working to improve on some of the aspects of the Melges 17 that are perceived to be detractors. It is important to keep improving this great scow and making it easier to sail, while at the same time maintaining production costs.

Here are the three main areas we focused on in 2010:

Water Penetration Through Front Of Board Box
Melges did extensive testing with different plugs inside the box to shorten the box and make the box shallower. Shortening the box and changing the angle at the aft end of the box, had a negative effect on performance and did nothing to reduce water ingress into the boat.

We then installed 2-inch strips of foam, or foam plugs into the top of the board boxes to make them shorter vertically. This had a very positive effect on water ingress, reducing it to nothing and from what we can tell, has absolutely no effect on performance.

We have been installing these foam plugs in every Melges 17 that comes to Zenda to get work done on it. We can send kits out for installation in the field, but it will be much easier if we do all these in Zenda. It will take some time to get all the boats fitted with these, and we will do as boats come through Zenda for work.

Water Getting Into Tanks
Through the years, we've had various boats that had leaking problems where we would get water in the tanks, and it was extremely difficult to detect where the water was coming from in order to stop it. We performed many leak tests, and in most cases, the boats are dry in the shop but when you sail or capsize water gets into the tanks. What we have found is that much of this water is coming in through the trough that runs under the deck for the furling line. It is extremely difficult to seal this up in the production process as you cannot reach this area when the deck is on.

That led to experimenting with the furler on the deck and the furler trough completely sealed. We would like to build all future boats like this as it is the only way we can ensure that the front end of the boat stays dry.

We will develop a retro fit kit for those who wish to upgrade an existing boat.

Kite Launching System
We tested a set up without the funnel in it, and just a tube under the aft side of the hole in the deck and a more open front end to the sock. This helps to further eliminate the bottleneck at the front of the sock. This, along with the separation of the kite halyard and bow sprit, have made the kite much easier to pull in and out of the sock.

Green And Growing
The Melges 17 is still a very young fleet yet the growth and interest is strong even in these economic times. New fleets are forming in Clear Lake, IA and in Grand Rapids, MI. Numbers are getting stronger in areas such as Pewaukee, Oshkosh and West/Central MI. This boat is for everyone, not just youth sailors or husbands and wives. With the Melges 17’s professional design and modern rig, we see true excitement in this awesome Melges scow. Our support is unwavering and Melges will continue to help the class association building grow. Thank you to all of the individuals that keep this Class Association on track and strong. Let’s keep it up in 2011!

We love the Melges 17 and we love that you are a part of the Melges 17 family.


Harry Melges & Andy Burdick