Peter Harken reminices on Buddy Melges

Peter Harken: Reflections on the passing of a friend.
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Buddy Melges – Fair Winds & Endless Black Ice

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Buddy Melges – Fair Winds & Endless Black Ice

Deb Whitehorse
May 18

Gloria and Buddy Melges at the 2007 Northwest Regatta at Menominee, MI. Buddy won the Class A Skeeter title that regatta. Photo: Chris John

Buddy Melges 1930 – 2023
He Was One Of Us
The ice sailing community grieves with the Melges family and with our friends from the Skeeter Iceboat Club on their loss.

Iceboating is a sport that is often difficult to comprehend for the uninitiated. It’s hard for people to understand the effort, perseverance, and rewards that come with the exhilaration of sailing on a frozen lake with your closest friends and then spending the evening rehashing every tack and jibe.

Buddy was one of us. He spoke our language and probably invented many of our sayings. Our sport has gained much positive attention thanks to Buddy’s remarkable accomplishments, including those in the Olympics and America’s Cup.

My brother. Ron Rosten and I grew up around the ice sailing legends like Buddy, Mattison, and Ripp. Buddy was just another ice sailor out on the ice, albeit a damned good one. (I hate to admit this, but it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I realized that Buddy was an Olympic sailor and why they called him "The Wizard of Zenda." – DW)

In May 2022, he spoke at Bill Mattison’s funeral, where he fondly remembered his friend’s genius and their successful America’s Cup campaigns. It was probably the last time many of us saw him.

Buddy was a second-generation iceboater who won so many iceboating titles in almost every class that I’ll need time to tally it all up.
What a life.

Statement from Melges Performance Sailboats Facebook Page
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the peaceful passing of Buddy Melges. Today, we honor the remarkable life and enduring legacy of a man whose contributions have left an indelible mark on our hearts and the world of sailing.
As we mourn the loss of a visionary and celebrate a life well-lived, we invite you to share your cherished memories with us as we collectively pay tribute to Buddy’s life. Your heartfelt stories and messages of remembrance are a testament to the profound impact he had on our community.

Buddy and Bill Mattison

Gloria and Buddy when he won the 1955 ISA.

2007 ISA

1970 ISA, Buddy white sweater, PK right, Dave Rosten, and Bob Pegel.

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Loring Video

Here’s Jim Turner on his attempt at the top speed award last week. The footage gives a good sense of the space: the first beat up the back runway, the blast reach at the crossover, and the fast run down the big runway.

Mini Skeeter Speed Run Loring Landsailing VI

I’m not sure, but I think he came third in that event. Nicely done Jim!

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Loring Landsailing Vl RESULTS

Sailwave results for Loring Landsailng Regatta VI at May 9 – 14 ~ Loring Air Force Base, Limestone, Maine 2023

Very competitive racing this time around. Check out the results above. Many thanks to Nina and Millie Fleming for running our races and tabulating the results so quickly.

We were back in the hanger again. Sail in-sail out.

We lowered the door during the thunderstorm, just enough to watch the action unfold outside.

After the storm, Steve Madden going for the pot of gold, which he found in winning both his class and the BloKarts overall.

No, this is not a BloKart showroom, but it sure did feel that way. We had a great turnout in both classes.

Unlimited class getting ready for the start. The top mark is way down at the end of the runways.

Tight tacking on the first upwind leg.

BloKarts ducking and weaving at the start.

In addition to the regatta racing, there was a Poker Run and Speed Trials. The Poker Run consists of five checkpoints scattered around the flight line, each with a bag containing playing cards sealed in an envelope. The idea is to find the points, collect all five and return them to the race officials. The five cards determine your hand. They were all in but one. Jim Turner failed to find one of the checkpoints, but was strongly encouraged to go back out and try again, now in a dying breeze. Returning a half hour later, drenched in sweat from pushing (that particular target was at the top of the hill), he submitted the final card, his hand was formed, and he won the pot! Way to go, Jim.
For next time we are considering changing this event to more of an orienteering style competition. We will double the checkpoints, make them a bit more challenging to find, hand out maps and time the run.

The Speed Run had its own little drama, in addition the downed rigs, torn sails and flat tires. Dan Clapp and Jeff Roseberry tied for first with 61.5mph. Jeff being Jeff went back out into the 15-25knt. wind and pushed hard for a couple of runs and came in with 61.6. Discretion being the better part of valor, Dan let it stand.

After a great week of sailing and socializing, it’s time to patch sails, fix flats and get ready for September. Tentative dates are September 19-24.
There are so many people to thank. Just go down the list on the results: every name there made a contribution to the success of the event.

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Loring Vl Update

Here’s a link to an interesting, and maybe troubling, article on Loring’s potential future:

Or, is there a chance we could get the techies sailing?

The big tent at Northern Maine Brewing was blown down this winter in a gale and then buried in snow. The snow has just melted and the tent sits there in a heap. Large party seating inside the restaurant is limited to 16 people, so that’s what we have for a reservation. We’ll try to keep some nearby tables open for latecomers; maybe we can get creative. At least we’ll be warm this time and won’t need to reconfigure the hot air heating ducts again. When the waitress walked in and saw us at work she was a bit shocked, but Dan Clapp stood up and said that it’s ok, "we know what we’re doing: we’re engineers!"

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