In 1992, Buddy Melges won the America's Cup with America3 in San Diego, California. In a boat designed by Reichel Pugh, Buddy Melges captured the America's Cup title alongside of Bill Koch. Their campaign symbolized the last successful defense of the Cup by an American team.
That same December, the Melges 24, also designed by Reichel Pugh, was tested in the snow on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
In 1993, the Melges 24 was officially introduced to the sailboat market and set the standard in the high performance, sportboat category. In just four years, the Melges 24’s first World Championship took place in Torquay, England and five years later in La Rochelle, France expanded to the largest keelboat World Championship with an overwhelming attendance of 127.
The Melges 24 is by far the most unique one design sportboat in the world and to this day maintains a growing and vibrant class. The response and excitement generated by this America's Cup inspired boat is phenomenal.
Typically sailed with a crew of 4 or 5, the Melges 24's comfortable, light-hull displacement design prefers to plane. Its professionally engineered, high-tech stance includes a carbon fiber spar, rudder and vertical keel fin. Another key component of the M24 is a 670 sq ft (62 sq m) asymmetrical spinnaker that lifts and pulls the boat forward on a downwind sprint. It adds speed, simplicity and ease of handling giving way to a more challenging tactical race.
The Melges 24 with its retractable keel easily fits on a small road trailer and allows and ramp launching as well. The Melges 24 possesses an easy to rig personality requiring only two sets of hands for a quick set-up.
To date, over 600 boats are sailed in 29 countries competitively around the world. Half of the entire fleet exists in the United States while the remaining national classes are spread out over Europe, Asia and Australia.