Embarr (Ireland), winner of the championship, skippered by Conor Clark. Melges 24 World Championship 2016 Photo (c) Pierrick Contin.
World Showdown in World-Class Miami Melges 24 World Championship Draws 74 Teams By Dave Hughes
arly December marks the World’s annual pilgrimage to Miami Beach for the renowned Art Basil Miami festival. However, this past December invited the globe for an entirely different reason — the Melges 24 World Championship. Held November 31st through December 4th, the World Championship brought 74 teams from 14 countries and four continents. The depth of the fleet was complete with Olympians, world champions, professional sailors, and amateurs alike.
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One team from Estonia boasted a total of four Olympic medals won by their crew. In short, the best of the sport came to Miami. The championship vies for a professional division and an all-Corinthian division, though all competitors race against one another simultaneously. This championship represented a perfect marriage of both boat and venue—namely, the Melges 24 as a performance sportboat and the waters off Miami Beach as a worldclass venue. First introduced in 1993, the Melges 24 is credited with spawning the sportboat revolution, and the Melges brand has since taken a strong grip over the category of mid-sized racing sailboats. Planing downwind, lively upwinds, asymmetrical spinnaker, bulb keel, and a carbon rig are all elements that were trend-setting in the mid-1990s, yet still cutting-edge today. Clearly, the Reichel-Pugh designers and Melges Boat Works hit upon something ahead of its time. Despite a catalogue of challengers over the years, the Melges 24 is still heralded by many as the best sportboat around. The second element is Miami itself. Though largely known for a full dance card of racing on Biscayne Bay, the areas north and south of the Miami Beach harbor entrance showcase the best of Miami sailing conditions. The waves and wind off Virginia key are like few other places in the United States. It is possibly the best sailing venue in the
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