Buddy Melges

Harry "Buddy" Melges, Jr., is one of the most successful competitive sailors in history, with dozens of national and international championships in many different classes, including ice-boating as well as conventional sailing. Born January 26, 1930, in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, Melges grew up on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin sailing the boats designed and manufactured by his father, Harry Melges Sr. Based in Zenda, Wisconsin, Melges Performance Sailboats is still in operation, and is now run by Buddy's son, Harry Melges III. Their Melges 24, introduced in 1993, became one of the most successful launches in boatbuilding history, and today Melges Performance Sailboats is the only builder of many inland lake scow classes, including the A, E, C, M, MC and the Melges 17.

Melges is an Olympic gold (Soling, 1972) and bronze (Flying Dutchman, 1964) medalist, a two-time Star world champion (1978, 1979), a three-time 5.5 Meter World Champion (1967, 1973, 1983), a five-time E-Scow National Champion (1965, 1969, 1978, 1979, 1983), a seven-time Skeeter Ice Boat World Champion (1955, 1957, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1980, 1981) and a three-time Yachtsman of the Year. As a capstone to his intensely charismatic and competitive career, he helped Bill Koch steer his America3 to a successful defense of the America's Cup in 1992.Melges was inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame in 2001.

A friend and confidant to kings, politicians and industrialists, Melges still lectures and teaches across the United States,and he continues as an active and honorary member of many yacht clubs across America. Given his numerous innovations and contributions to boat design, cockpit layout & sailmaking, taken together with his acute vision and fierce competitiveness, gregarious personality, and legendary tactical skills, Buddy Melges has been characterized as the "Grand Master" of competitive yachting, and he is also revered affectionately as "The Wizard of Zenda". Buddy has remained an avid duck hunter and longtime supporter of Ducks Unlimited and other wildlife conservation groups.


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