WCB

Melges 24 - close to making the purchase - any tips?

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I am close to pulling the trigger on a Melges 24. I've found a few to choose from in the late nineties era as a first one to get started with.  Any tips and tricks to share on sailing a Melges 24?  

The plan may be to join Charleston Race Week and possibly Worlds this year and then next year do the Miami circuit.  During the Summer I'll keep it local for a weekend PHRF series and maybe occasional West coast regatta.

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Hire an expert like me to show you the tricks and tips having done all those on my own.  It'll only cost you an Economy class R/T ticket from my place to your race course.  On the other-hand...if you hire an actual sail-maker pro y9ung gun you can accelerate your Corinthian campaign by a decade.  You're about to step into a very deep fleet with centuries of combined M24 experience.  They will eat you alive for lunch every time you line up for a start.  Not exactly a cheap class to play in, but OMG the downwind sleigh rides you will enjoy.

Welcome to the class

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Ullman sails has a good write on melges 24.  We use the north sails tuning guide with some modifications.   The new 3di look cool, but are they the sail to beat yet?  A clean hull and good foils is a must. Follow the class rules though. 

A good driver is key, and a good trimmer too.  The top end of the fleet is tough, we've been trying to crack it for years, but money and time hold us back, as Corinthians we do pretty well.  Starting takes timing, most of us use a distance to line tool and will be pulling the trigger and leave the scraps to those that sheet in a second or two to late. If you have money hire a coach for a weekend to help set up and teach some techniques, especially douses. Most people new to class douse to late and sail right by the mark. 

We don't sail by polars, but by feel.  Some numbers we have learnt are at about 8.5k speed downwind, is the transition zone to planing.  But if you have to heel over too much to plane, then you should be in soak mode.  

Sails, North panel sails are still good. Jibs don't last long.  The P1 north kite kills it in light air and is fast in heavy air.  The P3 kite fits some where in the middle wind speeds. We used to have a Quantum A2 kite, I loved that kite. 

Practice is the most effective and cheapest way to improve. Spending endless money without practice won't see you improve quickly. 

 

http://ullmansails.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Ullman-Sails-Melges24-Tickle-V5.pdf

 

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1 hour ago, Irish River said:

Ullman sails has a good write on melges 24.  We use the north sails tuning guide with some modifications.   The new 3di look cool, but are they the sail to beat yet?  A clean hull and good foils is a must. Follow the class rules though. 

A good driver is key, and a good trimmer too.  The top end of the fleet is tough, we've been trying to crack it for years, but money and time hold us back, as Corinthians we do pretty well.  Starting takes timing, most of us use a distance to line tool and will be pulling the trigger and leave the scraps to those that sheet in a second or two to late. If you have money hire a coach for a weekend to help set up and teach some techniques, especially douses. Most people new to class douse to late and sail right by the mark. 

We don't sail by polars, but by feel.  Some numbers we have learnt are at about 8.5k speed downwind, is the transition zone to planing.  But if you have to heel over too much to plane, then you should be in soak mode.  

Sails, North panel sails are still good. Jibs don't last long.  The P1 north kite kills it in light air and is fast in heavy air.  The P3 kite fits some where in the middle wind speeds. We used to have a Quantum A2 kite, I loved that kite. 

Practice is the most effective and cheapest way to improve. Spending endless money without practice won't see you improve quickly. 

 

http://ullmansails.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Ullman-Sails-Melges24-Tickle-V5.pdf

 

Thanks so much, @Irish River this is exactly the type of help that I was looking for.  I've been reading the ullman guide and have both the North and Quantum tuning guides saved.  I'm no stranger to sailing in the pointy end of the fleet but it's specific Melges 24 knowledge that I'm looking for.  Sounds like it will be tough to get into the pointy end of the M24 fleets but that's fine...that's part of the fun. 

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YOu will love the boat if not already.  Expect to spend 12-18 months to really get a good feel for how the boat sails in all conditions.  The best thing you can do is take it out in a blow.  Crash a few times and get that out of way.  You'll realize it's not that bad and you will be more confident in pushing the limits.

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I sail with a team that won the worlds years ago, our secret was more twist sail flat and fast other wise

you are stalling both the blades and sails! and yes we had the best coaches money could buy 

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2 hours ago, Pro looper said:

I sail with a team that won the worlds years ago, our secret was more twist sail flat and fast other wise

you are stalling both the blades and sails! and yes we had the best coaches money could buy 

All important but hiring the coach will get you the rest.  Don't be cheap  Pay for that pickle dish.

 

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I think it would be fun to ultimately hire a coach for a weekend to fine tune some skills but there will be a period of time initially where we're trying to pick the right crew for the boat and getting up to speed.  Once we're nipping at mid-fleet, it would be a good time for some extra help I imagine.  I'm tempted by your offer, @JimBowie to fly you up for a weekend of coaching/tips and tricks but first would be to find a team to work with.

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On 10/12/2020 at 2:04 PM, WCB said:

 occasional West coast regatta.

Most of us in PNW who will travel will try to get to the gorge and do the CGOD regatta. We have had great times there. The border is still a problem with covid for us. We haven't sailed since last year on our boat. Worlds on east coast is to far for our program. We went to San Fran worlds in 2013 and it was great. When ever we do major regattas we seem to be stuck with 3rd Corinthian overall. We are nipping at the heels, but just can't seem to crack the pros. It takes lots in the boat to get to their level. Most of the top N.A. boats have been in the game for a very long time. Full Throttle, WTF, Monsoon, Mikey ect those are the guys to watch in the pointy end of fleet.  Our local pnw fleet fairs pretty well in the amateurs, the guys on Sunnyvale are really strong. 

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Having a good team is critical. Whether sailing with 4 or 5 there cannot be any discussion or uncertainty about how you're doing any kind of boat handling maneuvers. Speed through the corners is critical and having a good wrap around your rig setup is crucial. 

 

PM me if you want to talk details. I have been involved in several teams that have done well in the Worlds. 

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9 hours ago, ASP said:

Having a good team is critical. Whether sailing with 4 or 5 there cannot be any discussion or uncertainty about how you're doing any kind of boat handling maneuvers. Speed through the corners is critical and having a good wrap around your rig setup is crucial. 

 

PM me if you want to talk details. I have been involved in several teams that have done well in the Worlds. 

Thanks, will do.  I'm still in the throes of deciding which boat to go with.  I've looked at low to mid 2xx and up to low 4xx.  I'm somewhat settled in the mid to upper 3xx.  Price wise they are mostly in the $14-16,500 range.  Any input on price?  Obviously condition of boat is paramount.  One boat that I'm looking at is in the 3xx and has mostly new deck hardware.  Looks to be in good condition.  Needs a new main and is the cheapest boat.  Others are more expensive and need all new sails.  

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take a look at the "other" equipment and whether they are the same:

- motor (how old, maintained?)

- electronics (tacktick, velocitek, etc)

- hiking pads, 3rd hands on the shrouds, carbon wear plates

- seadeck

- travel covers, mast up cover (age? - the summer cover wear out pretty quickly in the sun, winter/travel covers are much thicker)

- trailer (rebuilt bearings, new tires, multiple dock boxes, lights checked)

 

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You also really need to make sure the standing rigging is in good shape, we almost had our mast snap because the thread in the turnbuckles was ripped out during 20 knots upwind. Our boat is number 777, so it was about 11 years old at that point. 

As mentioned above already, make sure the foils are in a good shape, they are a pain to repair and can very easily be chipped when hoisting and lowering the keel. We always do it 2 people, so one hoisting, and one leading the keel up so it doesn't hit anything on the way up.

 

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55 minutes ago, Dalsgaard said:

You also really need to make sure the standing rigging is in good shape, we almost had our mast snap because the thread in the turnbuckles was ripped out during 20 knots upwind. Our boat is number 777, so it was about 11 years old at that point. 

As mentioned above already, make sure the foils are in a good shape, they are a pain to repair and can very easily be chipped when hoisting and lowering the keel. We always do it 2 people, so one hoisting, and one leading the keel up so it doesn't hit anything on the way up.

 

Yep the keels aft edge is very fragile.  When trailering get some keel savers. And make sure the boat is in correct position, we have the bow about 1" back from the trailer bumper and that works for us.  

Check the T-beam at the mast post.  See if there are any cracks, we punched the mast post through the beam when boat was 10 years old.  It wasn't a fun fix.  

Rigging should always be checked.  A parted spin halyard cover will end your day of racing.  

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Thanks again @KC64000 @Dalsgaard and @Irish River all great tips.  I've been copying and pasting them to one file to organize and keep track of.

The one boat that I'm still focused on has relatively recent keel work (I'll ask about the delrins), a good looking hull, recent forestay and backstay, recent spin halyard, recent gudgeons and a 2011 Yamaha Outboard.  It also has 2017/18 jib and spin but lacks a relatively recent main.  

I've got the Ullman check list that I'd go over the boat with when I get it.  Now I just need to pull that trigger and get it here. 

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6 hours ago, KC64000 said:

take a look at the "other" equipment and whether they are the same:

- motor (how old, maintained?)

- electronics (tacktick, velocitek, etc)

- hiking pads, 3rd hands on the shrouds, carbon wear plates

- seadeck

- travel covers, mast up cover (age? - the summer cover wear out pretty quickly in the sun, winter/travel covers are much thicker)

- trailer (rebuilt bearings, new tires, multiple dock boxes, lights checked)

 

I did do that actually.  For a couple of the boats I was comparing, I built a spreadsheet to compare directly what was part of the sale.  One boat has a new uninstalled Raptor deck in teak look and good covers but an ancient Nissan outboard.  It's kind of all over the map.

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ancient outboard is ok if properly cared for (replaced engine oil annually, gear oil regularly, new spark plugs, only used premium - no ethanol - fuel).

a teak-looking deck on a Melges 24...that could be interesting.  just need to add a bbq and it's a mini-swan.

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13 minutes ago, Dalsgaard said:

I guess there is a reason it is uninstalled ;)

 

On that particular boat I asked raptor if I could swap deck material since it was uninstalled.  He said no.  I didn't think that I had a chance but I figured that I'd give it a shot. He was nice about it though.

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Our little Nissan is 15 years old now.  It gave some grief in 2018, I replaced the spark plug and bathed it wd40 the night before the worlds were to start. Ran like a top after a little cuddle session.  The Nissan is the lightest of all the motors so keep it running if you can. 

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I'm pretty sure I remember seeing a m24 with the teak look, was a bit odd compared to the gray ones, but not bad looking. Just for a different taste perhaps

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If the boats you were looking at were ever raced, the folks on this board may know about the boat, how it was cared for etc.  I am happy to give you input if I know of the hull number.

 

 As everyone has mentioned the above, but one that I didnt see what what color is the mast, White or Black.  If black how old?  We are on gen 4 or 5 now.  Based on that could depend on the sails to use if you bought new ones.  If you have an original white mast you could have a hard time getting the mast bend to match the luff curve with the new 3di etc.

 

At ages you are looking at the compression post and delimitation in that are must be considered.  Depending on who had the boat, where and how it was stored could cause the deck to cave in under the mast; and delaminate the bulkhead.  Its not a cheap or easy fix to do it properly.

 

Look at all the stantions for wobble and potentially delim there as well.  

 

If I was buying a boat at that age one of the first things I would do is remove all the fittings and rebed them and replace / upgrade as needed. This will seal the boat but also make sure everything it tightened properly.  Dont forget to look at the gudgeons and make sure there is no play. Then once that is done, replace all of the sheetings and halyards.  I would do the spin halyard asap cause if that goes it really sucks.  Then look at the jib halyard, specifically where it turns over the sheave at the top of the mast, they break, but easy to replace.  Look at the jib halyard swivel as well; with the idea of replacing the ball bearing or just buying a new one; the balls will flatten very quickly (depending on how tight you run your uppers).

 

This is just a quick list to consider and all of this comes from experience.  I have broken / fixed (at least once) everything I mentioned whether it be on a new boat or an older one (I have had 5 boats over 20 years).  

 

But with all of that being said the boat and the fleet are hands down the best and you will have a blast.  We are off to Charleston for a little race / practice session this weekend....gonna be warm and 15-20 the first few days it looks like!

 

Happy to answer any other questions

 

Travis

 

Lucky Dog

USA 858

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What Travis said above and be sure and replace the gudgeons especially if they are the recessed machine screw.  That's the mark of an original factory install and by now they've wobbled the through holes egg-shaped.  Don't wait like I did and spend all your vacay time pestering machine shops and Lucky Dog for replacements on site!  Remove; rebed the transom; put backing plate INSIDE hull and then use the new style gudgeons with hex-head bolts.  The loads on the rudder in places like Chucktown or Miami will show any weakness quickly.

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We have had to replace our rudder Pintels too.  We had one crack. Our old style transom ones are still good, I've rebedded them a couple times.  And check them once a year for any play.  

Don't let this talk discourage you, these are maintenence items, not structural flaws of the boats.  

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I'm thankful for all of the advice and I hope that other Melges 24 buyers will be able to search and find this thread and take advantage of all of your advice as well.  I have saved all of it to a word doc that I'll distill down into key points in categories to help speed up the review of the boat.  Now I just need to get the deposit up there and then complete the sale so I can talk about the boat as mine instead of the hopeful boat.

Thanks @tweisleder for all of the advice and tips.

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So if you're adding a new spinnaker to the quiver, which one should be first, the reacher or the runner?  

This is assuming that whatever spinnakers that come with the boat are too old to worry about using other than phrf

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5 hours ago, WCB said:

So if you're adding a new spinnaker to the quiver, which one should be first, the reacher or the runner?  

This is assuming that whatever spinnakers that come with the boat are too old to worry about using other than phrf

The AP all purpose runner IMHO

 

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Just now, JimBowie said:

The AP all purpose runner IMHO

 

Thanks JimBowie, that's what I suspect too.  

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Depends where you sail.

If you are a North man

In sub 8knots or 15+ get a P1 if in 8-12 get the P3.

I found the Q A2 had a great range. But its been years since that kite was in quiver, so maybe nostalgia talking.

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Just now, Irish River said:

Depends where you sail.

If you are a North man

In sub 8knots or 15+ get a P1 if in 8-12 get the P3.

I found the Q A2 had a great range. But its been years since that kite was in quiver, so maybe nostalgia talking.

I haven't sold my soul to a sailmaker...yet.  I am taking delivery of the boat at the end of next week and then I have to look at the sails it comes with and see what's needed.  I'm likely to go with a new spinnaker thanks to my brother's company wanting to do some advertising and I'm keen on getting a new main and jib as well.  

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2 minutes ago, JimBowie said:

The AP all purpose runner IMHO

 

I'm not a fan of that kite unless it is 8-11knots of wind speed.  All it can do is dig deep. Can't go bow up to pop on the plane, you just tip over which is slow. 

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3 minutes ago, WCB said:

I haven't sold my soul to a sailmaker...yet.  I am taking delivery of the boat at the end of next week and then I have to look at the sails it comes with and see what's needed.  I'm likely to go with a new spinnaker thanks to my brother's company wanting to do some advertising and I'm keen on getting a new main and jib as well.  

The jib powers any modern racer, so if it has to be one at a time, do that one first.

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1 hour ago, JimBowie said:

The jib powers any modern racer, so if it has to be one at a time, do that one first.

I was thinking of three sails in general; a main, jib, and spin.  But only one spin.  So if it is Quantum, do you think the Runner is the way to go?

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Are you in Utah?  If so a class stalwart you should  contact is Brian Hutchinson.  He has been involved in class forever.  Many of us use his products, spin bags, hiking pads and mast protectors.  He would be a great local resource for you and is always helping out the class.  

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9 hours ago, Irish River said:

Are you in Utah?  If so a class stalwart you should  contact is Brian Hutchinson.  He has been involved in class forever.  Many of us use his products, spin bags, hiking pads and mast protectors.  He would be a great local resource for you and is always helping out the class.  

I second this call.  Buy a new set of Hutchinson hiking straps and have Brian spend the day with your team.  You'll get one or two years up on your learning curve.

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6 hours ago, JimBowie said:

I second this call.  Buy a new set of Hutchinson hiking straps and have Brian spend the day with your team.  You'll get one or two years up on your learning curve.

Thanks @Irish River and @JimBowie. I'll reach out to Brian.  He and I met years ago, I think sailing Elliott 6Ms at one of our events but I forget...anyways, we've met before and I'll reach out to him thanks to you, Irish, for his email address.

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37 minutes ago, WCB said:

Thanks @Irish River and @JimBowie. I'll reach out to Brian.  He and I met years ago, I think sailing Elliott 6Ms at one of our events but I forget...anyways, we've met before and I'll reach out to him thanks to you, Irish, for his email address.

he was big help at the Gorge for my crew in 2015 and 2017

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Melges 24's eat up jibs (roller furling / spin sheets going across the jib) and spinnakers (shrimping /rigging chew them up).  

have two sets (at least) of sails - 1 for practicing / day sailing, 1 for regattas.

 

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2 hours ago, KC64000 said:

Melges 24's eat up jibs (roller furling / spin sheets going across the jib) and spinnakers (shrimping /rigging chew them up).  

have two sets (at least) of sails - 1 for practicing / day sailing, 1 for regattas.

 

Thanks @KC64000 I was just telling @Irish River by PM that I intend to run a practice/cruising set, a phrf set, and a regatta set.  I'm looking at new sets for regattas of course and then next best for PHRF...etc.  That said, there are three Melges 24s in Utah with the addition of mine and there's a feeling that there could be more interest in other M24s to create some one design momentum.

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I see an arms race starting already.  that's the joy of Melges - saw it with the M20.  Good luck.

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2 hours ago, KC64000 said:

I see an arms race starting already.  that's the joy of Melges - saw it with the M20.  Good luck.

It's possible...there's a former M24 sailor in the area with enough money to put us all to shame.  I don't think we'd get to that.  Everybody is too cheap.

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On 10/25/2020 at 9:26 PM, WCB said:

Thanks JimBowie, that's what I suspect too.  

North P1 is all most people use all the time, at least the top teams.  Plus all the top teams sell their sales after each event or two.  Good deals to be had.

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Yep. We have bought one new sail in 11 years.  No need to go full price.  

 

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3 hours ago, tweisleder said:

North P1 is all most people use all the time, at least the top teams.  Plus all the top teams sell their sales after each event or two.  Good deals to be had.

Nice regatta!  I was just talking with my buddy, Buster, and we're thinking about rallying the new to us boat down to Mobile for the ACCs.  We may be talking to you about some regatta cast off sails. 

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Where do people store boats in Miami between events for Bacardi?  Does the YC offer storage or do boats need to be broken down and moved offsite?

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1 hour ago, junta said:

congrats on the new boat WCB. Let me know if you need a good driver!

Anytime my friend...anytime.  Hope the west coast is treating you well.

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5 hours ago, SEC16518 said:

Any thoughts on the one just listed on this site for sale?

It is a good looking boat. I talked to Andrew and I put a bid in on the boat but I wasn't willing to pay $24k for a 4xx hull.  He's put a ton of money into the boat in the last couple of years but they're mostly consumables and the hull didn't look any different than others that I was looking at for significantly less money so I bought a 3xx series at $10k less.  

New Raptor deck is sitting in my office...Torqeedo motor is getting serviced and buying the upgraded 915Wh battery, new sheet bags are here, Sail22 carbon jib sheet block cover arrives today...we're looking at receiving the boat next week and heading to Mobile for the ACC/GCCs.  That is if Mobile survives the hurricane okay.  Then the thought is to take the boat to Miami for the series and finish with CRW/Worlds. 

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#330 comes across the Canadian border for us Sunday to Tuesday sometime.  I've got a basement full of goodies lined up for the boat and more to come.  Looking forward to becoming a Melges 24 sailor.  The only downside is that it all took too long to make the ACCs which is disappointing but we're planning to bring the boat to Miami and then CRW/Worlds.

 

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You guys are poaching our fleet!  Lol

80 and now 330.  Both hadn't sailed a lot up here. Seem to recall both needed sails. 

Have fun

 

 

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22 hours ago, Irish River said:

You guys are poaching our fleet!  Lol

80 and now 330.  Both hadn't sailed a lot up here. Seem to recall both needed sails. 

Have fun

 

 

I didn't realize that 80 was up there too.  Yup, they'll be back together this coming Summer up at Bear Lake in upper Utah/Idaho.

You know the seller but he sent me a few pics today...super stoked, he's been great to work with.

Delivery4.jpg

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PM set to you.  It looks like you have the old style trailer bunks. I have set of newer ones that came off a Hydro hoist.

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16 hours ago, Irish River said:

PM set to you.  It looks like you have the old style trailer bunks. I have set of newer ones that came off a Hydro hoist.

Thanks @Irish River! That is super nice of you.  Great speaking with you just now.  We're stoked to put the newer style bunks on the trailer so that it can roll safely to some big events.

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15 hours ago, JimBowie said:

Is Hutchinson Centuarian still around SLC?

I've reached out to him in a couple of ways and he hasn't replied.  I'll try again.  Now that we have two M24s together maybe we can hire him for a clinic day.

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Does anybody have their Melges 24 handy and can take a measurement for me?  Nothing critical.  

It turns out my boat doesn't have the logo on the cabin top for some reason and I have a vinyl cutter right here in my office.  Can somebody measure the overall length, from the bottom left corner of the "M" in Melges to the right edge of the "4" in 24?  Also, a vertical measurement of the height.  I'm going to put together some new ones for my boat.  

Thanks

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11 hours ago, Irish River said:

Dropped the trailer bunks off.  

And a pic of your boat.

20201115_211149.jpg

Thanks so much Irish!  I got your PM.  All great tips and that is our plan.  I was just on the phone with my buddy who I'm driving up with.  We were discussing pulling the rig off for covers and it makes sense to strip the mast, that's what I would want too and it's a long enough drive in Winter conditions.  We'll bring an extra strap for the bow as you suggested.  I truly appreciate all of your tips.  We have a good friend with a shop here who can put new covers on the hiking straps too.  I'll drop them off right away.

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Does the M24 have travel covers?  Driving in winter conditions is going to expose the hull and mast/boom to some pretty harsh treatment (salt/sand, etc).

you may want to try and cover up/shrink wrap the hull and deck.

strip the boom/mast and cover them.  once you get to your destination, run it through a truck wash to clean off the accumulated salt/sand.  

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, KC64000 said:

Does the M24 have travel covers?  Driving in winter conditions is going to expose the hull and mast/boom to some pretty harsh treatment (salt/sand, etc).

you may want to try and cover up/shrink wrap the hull and deck.

strip the boom/mast and cover them.  once you get to your destination, run it through a truck wash to clean off the accumulated salt/sand.  

 

 

 

Yes, it does have both a hull and a deck cover.  For some reason they weren't put on.  Our new schedule consists of getting to the boat, pulling the rig and straps off of it, putting the covers on, stripping the mast and padding it up well and same with the boom.  It was just washed but we'll do it again on this end of the trip and then we need to find some warm indoor space for the Raptor deck install and to be able to wax the hull.  We should be picking it up by the end of the week.

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Not wax.   Polish, use eel snot or speed polish. Use $100 bills to put it on and rub off.  

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2 hours ago, Irish River said:

Not wax.   Polish, use eel snot or speed polish. Use $100 bills to put it on and rub off.  

I was going to try the four saints wax as recommended by a friend.  Anybody try this stuff?  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Four-Saints-Wax/293658786699?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2648 

I've got a little eel snot but I'd need to go a lot bigger than the jar that I have.

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4 hours ago, Irish River said:

Not wax.   Polish, use eel snot or speed polish. Use $100 bills to put it on and rub off.  

Yes check out the Melges Gulf Coast FB group. Zane posted his boat, powered by Ellsnot, rounding first at weather mark.

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We use Speed Polish.  Easy to apply.  We win some races.  Is that why?  Sure, let’s go with that!  :)

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10 hours ago, JimBowie said:

Yes check out the Melges Gulf Coast FB group. Zane posted his boat, powered by Ellsnot, rounding first at weather mark.

First rule of going fast...use what the top boats use.  Time to look into a bigger amount of eelsnot.  The jar I have is for my RC boat.  

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5 minutes ago, Swimsailor said:

We use Speed Polish.  Easy to apply.  We win some races.  Is that why?  Sure, let’s go with that!  :)

I do have some of that on the shelf.  I like it.  It's what I use on the Laser but I figured that I'd try something new.  Order was placed last week but I may buy some eelsnot and then see which to use on which boat.

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