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13 Boat Fleet of Melges 15 Dinghies Set for Howth Yacht Club in Spring 2024

18th November 2023
Sarah and Mark McLoughlin on a demo sail in the Melges 15 dinghy off Howth
Sarah and Mark McLoughlin on a demo sail in the Melges 15 dinghy off Howth

After a successful demo weekend at the end of October, a full container of twelve Melges 15s will be heading to Howth Yacht Club for Spring 2024 to supplement the existing boat there.

Family is a predominant theme amongst the orders, with cross-generational sailing being a common theme amongst the purchasers.

The demo weekend on October 28/29 saw hourly demo sails from 10 AM to 3 PM each day in Medium to Fresh conditions. While none of the participants had sailed the Melges15 before, they were quick to get to grips with the boat and put her through her paces. Different combinations sailed, Husband and wife, father and daughter, mother son, daughter and friend and even a three-up combination. While rarely raced three up, crews of three are allowed as per class rules, and it was interesting to see this configuration thrive, says Melges 15 Ireland promoter John Sheehy.

 Trying out a three-up combination in the Melges 15 dinghy off Howth Trying out a three-up combination in the Melges 15 dinghy off Howth

Conditions on Saturday, especially the sea state around Ireland’s Eye kept everyone on their toes. Bragging rights for top speed of the day went to skipper Michelle Evans, tagging 15 knots blasting towards Lambay Island with husband Mike trimming the kite. The youngest skipper on the day was Optimist sailor Sarah McLoughlin, showing her dad Mark the way as they zipped around.

A Melges 15 during the demo sessions off Ireland's Eye, Howth Photo: Tom RyanA Melges 15 during the demo sessions off Ireland's Eye, Howth Photo: Tom Ryan

Sunday brought new testers and firmer winds. Most sailing took place in the lee of Howth, where, initially, flatter water allowed the sailors to push the boat and themselves to their limits. A particular mention for the sailor celebrating his 70th birthday that weekend who chose 25knots true wind and large choppy waves off Ireland’s eye as the place to celebrate. After a long, fun weekend of sailing, the usual debriefs, and discussions in the bar, Howth sailors are looking forward to this new fleet arriving early next year with plans for weekly sailing and events underway. With a 13-boat fleet, Howth takes over from Dun Laoghaire as the leading fleet in Ireland.

Demo weekends will continue through the Winter in different clubs across the country as the class looks to build on its launch momentum, according to Sheehy.

Published in Melges 15, Howth YC Team

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About the Melges 15 Dinghy

The Melges 15 was designed by Reichel/Pugh and built by Melges.

The design prioritises stability, comfort, ease of use, and performance. 

The Melges 15 is built to be sailed by everyone from friends and couples to families and kids. The design offers performance, comfort, and stability in one sleek package.

The Melges 15’s stable hull shape and ergonomic cockpit make it a suitable layout for adult racing and educational sailing. Easy conversion from a club configuration (non-spinnaker) to a one-design setup, provides more versatility to club programs and options for individual owners.

“The Melges 15 creates a clear pathway for junior sailors to get started and stay excited about sailing while also being comfortable and accessible enough for adults to learn, race, or cross-train,” according to Harry Melges III.

With the main design goals focused on stability and performance in various conditions, the boat features a narrow overall beam and a flat cross-section shape for stability, righting moment, and ease of planing. For a more forgiving feel upwind and to navigate larger sea states, the Melges 15 has just the right amount of fore and aft rocker.

Melges conducted extensive research and product testing to produce this layout factoring in cockpit depth, backbone height, and floor plan. The result, they say, is a comfortable environment for both the skipper and crew. The deeper cockpit takes the load off the sailor’s knees helping them feel locked into the boat while the high boom and gnav vang system work together to make the boat easier to manoeuvre.

The asymmetric spinnaker offers an additional performance element, while the single-pull launch and retrieval system makes handling the sail easy and fast.


At a Glance - Melges 15 Specifications

  • LENGTH 15 ft 
    BEAM 5 ft 6 in
    DRAFT 2 ft 7 in 
    HULL WEIGHT 230 lbs
    MAIN 93.6 sq ft 
    JIB 39.8 sq ft 
  • CREW 2

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