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