Fair wind Buddy Melges, one of the strongest sailors of all time

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Buddy Melges
Buddy Melges

One of the legends of modern sailing, Harry Clemons “Buddy” Melges Jr, an Olympic legend and in the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, has passed away at the age of 93. He led the Melges boatyard, founded by his father, to be a worldwide benchmark for the racing world.

Buddy Melges and Olympic victories.

Born in 1930 in Wisconsin, Buddy Melges grew up with boats built by his father Harry Melges Sr at the family boatyard, Mel-Ban Boat Works founded in 1945, which became Melges Boats in 1948. Buddy was very talented from a young age, making his mark, and as an adult he raced in Flyng Dutchman with which he won an Olympic bronze medal in 1964, while winning gold in Soling in 1972. He also races in the Star class, with which he won two world championships in 1978 and 1979.

Buddy Melges and the America’s Cup

The challenge between the Moro di Venezia, in red, and America Cube helmed by Buddy Melges

The 1980s marked the beginning of America’s Cup experiences as a coxswain, the first in 1987 where he was defeated by Dennis Conner in the U.S. defender’s internal selection. The second as skipper and helmsman of Bill Koch’s America Cube, which defeated Moro di Venezia 4-1 in the America’s Cup final in San Diego in 1992.

The Melges shipyard

The Melges 24

During these decades parallel to his sailing career he pursued an entrepreneurial one at the helm of the Melges boatyard, specializing in the One Design world. Melges Boats has produced some of the most iconic and long-lived racing monotypes, one above all the legendary Melges 24, described by many as the perfect One Design.

Sailor of the highest caliber, pioneer, entrepreneur, gone is one of the greatest sailors of all time.

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