May 2022 marked the first annual Melges 15 Spring Clinic and Regatta, hosted deep in the heart of Wisconsin’s Scow Country at the Lake Geneva Yacht Club and Sailing School. Read on as guest writer Erin Bury shares her takeaways from the clinic, and learn why you should be checking out the Melges 15.
Sailing World’s 2022 “Boat of the Year,” the Quantum-powered Melges 15, is gaining a reputation for versatility, making the boat a vessel of opportunity for a variety of sailors. Teams of fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, brothers, sisters, spouses, friends, colleagues, novice sailors, and veteran sailors have flocked to join the M15 fleet.
The class is also strongly supported by the team at Melges and Quantum Sails Zenda, so you can be sure you’ll have the education and support to have fun sailing and improve quickly. The Melges 15 Clinic and Regatta ran for three days with a classroom portion Friday and racing Saturday and Sunday. The Friday classroom session was led by Marek Valesek and Melges and Quantum Zenda’s Eddie Cox. A few takeaways from the session:
When sailing upwind, match the leech shape of the jib to the mainsail.
In light wind, sail the M15 like any other dinghy: use roll tacks, keep weight forward, ease settings, and ease rig tension.
When sailing downwind, the skipper should be responsible for flying the jib and dynamic weight placement. The crew needs to focus on flying the spinnaker.
Eddie also encouraged us to be mindful while also tenacious. “Your worst race is the one that helps you win the regatta.”
Conditions for the weekend tested sailors’ patience. On the first day, Marek and Eddie made their rounds, offering assistance and advice on general rigging and sailing in light conditions. Eddie walked sailors through the Quantum tuning guide, which he follows closely in all conditions. Father/son duo Tom Pomierski and Kai Suh-Pomierski made the most of the absent wind, working at length with Marek to set up their new Quantum sails and perfect their spinnaker setup. The duo shared that the setup of the M15 will enable them to both easily and equally skipper and crew. Spouses Deb Ziegler and Jim Gluek made their debut as a soft-water sailing team on the M15. They had previously raced a two-person iceboat and were looking for something fast, responsive, and versatile in a space that offered room for them to learn how to work together on the water.
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed getting into the Melges 15 Class. The asymmetrical spinnaker on the Melges 15 feels like home for this avid F-18 catamaran sailor. The experience of acceleration after a tack or jibe on the speedy dinghy feels comparable to the F-18 as well. As an iceboat sailor, the swift tacks and jibes are familiar to me and make for an exhilarating ride. A sporty hull shape, sharp rudder, and properly cut sails make the M15 boat responsive, and the Q sails hook the wind almost immediately after a tack or a jibe. You can see the joy on the faces of the growing M15 fleet as a result of the dinghy’s responsiveness, which makes for a receptive, enthusiastic community of sailors.
The Melges 15 offers a great platform for those looking to start racing, get back into racing, or supplement skill-building for other racing boats. You can rig the entire boat and launch it in under ten minutes. The class is flexible in allowing people to make upgrades to blocks and cordage to fit their individual needs. Most of the M15 crews are co-ed and cross-generational. Adults get to learn from kids, and adults get to help kids with techniques not traditionally covered in junior sailing schools. There are many regional events available to attend for those interested in doing a bit of traveling, and you only need to find one person to crew. The boat is forgiving if you make little mistakes and rewards teams who put time into the boat. So come join us and see what the Melges 15 is all about!