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Development Committee Report

Sunday, January 22, 2012

 

Dear Fellow Members,
 
Just wanted to share some information on what the Development Committee is discussing and contemplating. We continue to want to keep an eye on the horizon of what is coming for our class along with what is right in front of us. The stated purpose of this committee is included below.
 

The new deck mold and configuration is in full production and Melges has double digit orders, which continue to support the theory that incremental innovation helps keep our class strong through new boat orders, while increasing the supply of quality used boats. The inventory of newer used boats for sale has been very tight as of late, so hopefully this will improve.

 
A carbon fiber rig still looms on the horizon for the class, as the cost for these products has become more reasonable while the availability of quality aluminum extruders continues to tighten. As you may not know, last winter Melges was in a difficult situation as their old extruder went out of business, the new die at the new extruder broke, and then the first batch of tubes had to be scrapped. Also at some point in the near future, Melges will be faced with the challenge of finding someone new to do the tapering and welding on the extrusions. As someone who used to be in this business, I can assure you that there is much more art than science to getting consistent aluminum tapered spars than it appears on the surface. Getting to the current level of product is going to be difficult when a new fabricator is brought on board. All these issues mandate that the most prudent course of action for the class is to begin to design and test a carbon rig, along with trying to find a number of creative solutions to manage the transition to a carbon rig some number of years in the future.
 
Trying to ease the impact of this type of transition will be much more of a challenge than the actual development of the rig, and we will need the ideas and efforts of our entire membership to help make this happen. The generosity of Doug Love in creating a transition fund for the Asymmetric Spinnaker had a huge impact on the class’s conversion, and was a chief reason why the class was able to make this change and emerge stronger on the other side in such a short amount of time. The Board and The Development Committee would obviously welcome any suggestions you may have.
 
The Development Committee exists to be a clearing house of all our member’s ideas and suggestions for how to keep our class as one of the premier ones in the world. Please communicate any thoughts and ideas you have to the Committee, so it can remain in touch with what is on your mind. Make sure you are part of directing the future of our class!
 
Sincerely,
 

Art Brereton, Henry Colie, Harry Melges, Russ Lucas, Rick Roy