While Laser has been a dominant one design class since the singlehander got its launch in the 1970s, there has been some disruption for class enthusiasts. With questions about boat equality among manufactures, and difficulty in getting parts, it has opened the door for better boats to challenge the Laser’s dominance. One of these boats is the Melges 14.
Melges President Andy Burdick answers some questions on their latest boat…
What motivated Melges to offer a singlehander?
We wanted to build a boat for everyone to be able to sail – casual sailors, racing sailors, schools, camps. The Melges 14 is an ideal boat for many uses. With so many people interested in Melges Boats, we thought this would be a great entry level boat into all of our products.
What were the design requirements?
Our plan was pretty simple… make it easy to rig and exciting to sail. The boat is meant to be raced with one person but also have the ability to go sailing with two people for casual fun. It has a big open cockpit so the boat does not feel 14-feet… it feels much bigger. Also, it had to go fast upwind, which makes a boat enjoyable to sail, and this boat does. Lastly, we didn’t want it to be a ‘pain-box’. It had to be comfortable… and the Melges 14 has it.
It looks like a big O’Pen BIC, which is quite popular for small kids. Is the Melges 14 meant to be the next step?
While all of our kids and the yacht clubs in our area love sailing O’Pen BICs, it is not intended to be a blown up version. The design and function just makes sense. No bailing and no hull bailers like many other one designs. Aren’t we tired of fixing or replacing bailers? Why even bail? The Melges 14 has great function… it just makes sense!
The singlehanded lane has been dominated by the Laser. Isn’t that a big obstacles to overcome?
You bet the Laser has been dominant. But look at it – it’s from the early 70’s. We are in 2015 now and people want modern, fun and simple. Time to move forward. Plus, you can get parts and service from Melges! You are not alone is seeking to challenge Laser. What will set the Melges 14 apart? As we know there countless boats out there in this size range. In the end – quality and service will bring new boat sales and we see it now. The Melges 14 is selling because it is fun to sail and we have a team that will support our valuable customers!