Friday, January 16, 2015

Melges 14

Fear not dear reader, I am not going to be attempting to master the foiling Moth, in spite of what you may have read earlier this week on this blog and in certain rash statements in the Twitterverse. I know my limits.

But I can definitely see myself adding another single hander to the Tillerfleet in 2015. Something a bit more modern in design than my Laser (which I will not be abandoning either.) The RS Aero made quite a splash in the UK last year and I was able to test it out when I visited Minorca Sailing in October. Some friends and I have deposits down on RS Aeros and are eagerly awaiting the day when we can have a demo in New England waters and perhaps join others in building a local fleet.

But now there is the Melges 14 - another entry in the 13-14ft single hander market, and this time from an American manufacturer. Looks like they are launching it at the Chicago Boat Show this week.



We could debate the technical merits of the RS Aero and the Melges 14 - and no doubt we will on various online forums if nowhere else. But there are other questions. Is there room for two new single-handers in the US market?  If Melges concentrate on their home market in 2015 (as RS Sailing did with their home market - the UK- with the Aero in 2014) will the Melges 14 outsell the Aero in the US and become the defacto new generation single-hander here, whether or not it is technically superior?

The game is on.

Here's a video.



What do you think?


15 comments:

my2fish said...

The video was very well done. I haven't researched the RS Aero like you to compare them, but this seems like a pretty nice boat. How do they compare in cost? To each other, and to a Laser?

Tillerman said...

Haven't seen a price on the Melges 14. The launch price for the RS Aero was very similar to the price of a Laser.

The RS Aero is much lighter than a Laser. The quoted weight of the Melges 14 is 120 lbs (not sure if that's hull weight or the whole boat) which makes it much more similar in weight to the Laser.

The RS Aero has a cupholder. What else do you need to know?

George A said...

The the listed 120 lb weight the hull only or all up?

Tillerman said...

I don't know George.

George A said...

I also see that Melges decided to go with an aft traveler bridle. Pros and cons with that decision. Among the pros is that they can get away with using a lighter boom section than if they went with a center main traveler. The main con of an aft bridle from my view is the potential to cloth-line oneself with the main sheet. Also gybing is easier with a center traveler--just grab the fall and pull the boom over.

Tillerman said...

Do other boats have an aft bridle that is as far forward in the boat as that George? It looks to me as if, at times. the helm must be actually sitting on the bridle when hiking well back in the boat. Check out 0:43 for example. Is that normal?

Boatmik said...

Bridle is pretty standard on NS14s. But there the sloop rig pushes the bridle closer to the back of the boat.

Boatmik said...

Boat is extremely similar to the Australian NS14 dinghy. Close enough to be a clone.

Some of the NS14s are sailed one up with mainsail only.

http://www.ns14.org/lib/images/large/HylecRegattaWRAP-3.jpg

Anonymous said...

Difficult choice:
Aero (three rigs), D-Zero and now the Melges 14. I guess I will hang on to my Laser until it becomes clear which boat will gain a solid foothold in the USA. Although sailing each one of these boats looks like great fun, I would be looking for a good racing scene.

Wavedancer

Tillerman said...

That's a great point Wavedance. I am certainly hanging on to my Laser because of the great racing scene which won't be going away any time soon. I may even buy a new Laser.

But if I feel there's a chance to be in at the beginning of another successful racing class, I'm very tempted to be one of the early adopters instead of just following the crowd.

Tillerman said...

Word on the Interwebs is that the price for the Melges 14 is "under $8k" or "$7.5k including sail" said someone at the boat show. The launch price for the Aero was $6,940. A top of the range Laser is about $6.5k.

Jeremiah Blatz said...

That sail looks expensive to replace. Also, seriously, nowhere to put a water bottle.

Luke said...

Let's get all the options out on the racetrack together and then lets us compare the pros and cons

I'm just hoping the laser brains trust is watching the building competition and this gives them the courage to launch the new new carbon top section and sail that they have been holding back. Laser sailors deserve reasonably durable equipment

Jay Eveleth said...

First of all I am disappointed that Tillerman is not going the moth route.

From my vantage point of a lake sailor with a passionate interest in youth sailing, I see no appeal in the Melges because it weighs as much as a Laser or Sunfish. Thus it has no advantage for sophisticated and challenging sailing games such as sailball, frisbee, three boat length circle relay, etc. When I get my Aero, I am going to equip it with a taller mast and 140 sq. ft. of sail. If that works, then I will add anti-heeling hydrofoils used only for heavy weather operation. Anyone want to race me?

Anonymous said...

Lake Geneva, WI. The boat could have been even faster if it weren't for the heavy chop, but that is one big ol' lake. I want one. Will have to wait a long time until we see any of these on the used market though.

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