May 08, 2022 - Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA - With the Melges 24 World Championship 2022 starting in Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA this week, we have been asking from several sailors about their background and expectations. 

RICHARD THOMPSON – BLACK SEAL GBR #437 #822 #830 #835 #850 

2002 Worlds’ 2nd; 2001 & 2002 World Ranking winner and 2003 World Ranking 2nd – was present at the very first Worlds 1998 in Torbay, UK

This will be the first world championships for nearly 3 years and we are very excited to get to Fort Lauderdale and start racing on the Ocean course. There have already been a number of great regattas in Florida over the winter and there is no doubt that momentum for the fleet is building after all the cancellations caused by Covid over the past 2 years

We are expecting a very competitive championship. Whilst the numbers are low, as a result of the disruption caused by Covid and the problems of logistics and shipping, the quality of the fleet is extremely high. Looking down the entry list I can see at least 10 boats that should be in contention to win…..and I do not include ourselves in that!

It is funny to think that the Melges 24 class has been flourishing for nearly 30 years. It is still the fastest and most exciting one-design keelboat in the world and provides perhaps the ultimate challenge for one design sailors and it still feels like the ultimate uncompromised planning keelboat today, just as it did years ago. It is especially exciting to see new fleets forming in places such as Croatia and France and as the world opens up again fleet sizes will continue to grow. There is just no other boat quite like the Melges 24!

 I am just grateful that, as I get older, I can still enjoy such extreme performance on the water. It certainly makes me feel young, although my crew may disagree with that!

Richard Thompson and his Black Seal (GBR) at the Melges 24 World Championship 2019 in Villasimius, Sardinia, Italy


PAUL KRAK ARNTSON – NIKITA USA #15 #219 #379 #812

How’s been your #roadtomelges24worlds? What are your feelings and expectations to sail at the Melges 24 Worlds again? For you the last time was Miami Worlds in 2016?

(2018 actually) This will be a special event as it has been an inspiration to me. I have had two battles with cancer since 2018 worlds in Victoria, so always thinking how to get healthy and back in shape for 2022 Worlds. In 2018 we did not have our normal crew, my wife was out with a knee surgery and my son campaigned his own Melges 24 so we sailed against each other. This Worlds we are sailing together as a family again, Myself Father, Kimberly Mother and Son Rudi, so I think this will be our strongest team ever and an epic journey together!

How would you describe the Worlds 2022 fleet?

Oh, this is a badass fleet with all the best pro teams, we are a Corinthian team and not many Corinthians at this event, but the pros are steep and deep, so competition will be very challenging for us. With exposure to such undiluted talent will come higher lessons and skill development, so a very valuable experience I believe!

Since when you are sailing Melges 24? Feel free to introduce your team a bit.

My Wife Kimberly and I were at a boat show in 1994, and we saw the Melges 24. She said “What is that?! That boat looks like pure sex, that’s the boat I want!“ We got USA 15 in 1995, USA 379 in 2013, and now USA 812 in 2019. We have mostly sailed as a family over the years and raised both our boys sailing the Melges 24. Our son Rudi used to sleep in the spinnaker bag as a baby, so we had to be careful when we went to hoist! “Dont throw the baby out with the kite!“ so he is intuitive and one with the boat.. At 17 years old, he and his own junior team dragged USA 219 out of the bushes and rebuilt it, then he helmed it at 2018 Worlds and 2018 Nationals. Our Boat Partner Brian Maher is sailing worlds with us, we seduced him into the Melges class in 2013 and he has been addicted since, he is pit, Kimberly is tactician, Rudi is jib trim, and Ellise Smolenyak a regular in the west coast Melges 24 circuit is our spinnaker trimmer.

This is going to be the 23rd World Championship for the class after being designed in 1992 – 30 years ago! What would you say about the boat?

Clearly the Melges 24 was way ahead of its time, it’s still the undisputed stallion of sport boat classes. The boat just sends it, you really feel that you are an intimate part of the boat, one live living organism, it’s really fantastic to feel that sailing. My wife and I love to just take it out together and double hand it, it’s so responsive and quick even in light breezes, and very comfortable to relax on. You know if you single hand it with the spinnaker it can plane in 9 knots of wind?

Paul Krak Arntson sailing on his Nikita (USA379)


GEOFF MCFARLAND - Woop-Woop 244, 553, Charter 798 for the 2022 worlds

How did you choose Melges 24 and since when you are sailing on it?

I have been sailing Melges 24’s on and off for 19+ years. In Santa Barbara we have a nice fleet that keeps growing the Melges 24.  I believe we have boats from the 0-800’s now.  With time in the Boat as crew and given the opportunity to buy a boat, I jumped in.  I am now on my third boat now. I did take a little break from the Melges, that was a mistake. Sailing so far with Melges has mainly been Santa Barbara and a few West Coast Events. More to Come, SF 2024?

How’s been you #roadtomelges24worlds? What are your feelings and expectations to sail at the Melges 24 Worlds for the very first time?

Worlds, setting low to medium goals that seems achievable.  There are a few other boats form the Santa Barbara and the west Coast who are participating, and I would like to beat one in the over standings at the end of the regatta (this will not be so easy) and one of the other boats I would like to beat in a few races. Either or Both of these would be a victory for me.

Is it exciting to sail with the class stalwarts and Pros entered to sail at the Worlds?

It is exciting, but intimidating.  Santa Barbara sails much more casually than I have heard this fleet does; But to get better as a sailor or anything you need to challenge yourself.  That is what this event is all about for Team Woop-Woop.  Sailing, we'll sail clean and having a good time that must be the main goal; Out of fun comes fast. But, we will need to pick up some new skills and rethink the way we do things to get competitive.  The Melges 24 has some of the best sailors in the world competing in the 2022 Worlds races I will not be surprised to be moved around like a pawn by them at the beginning. The Melges 24’s are fast and fun, this should be a great experience for everyone who participates.   Keep Learning, never stop.    

This is going to be the 23rd World Championship for the class after being designed in 1992 – 30 years ago! What would you say about the boat?  

They don’t look or feel that old, one of my boats is a 1993 and it is still competitive in local races. The design and looks are still way ahead of their time.  No other boats look as cool while sitting on a trailer or tied to the dock as a Melges 24!  

Geoff McFarland will charter hull #798 for the Melges 24 Worlds 2022 - on this photo Peter Bergendahl at the Bacardi Invitational Cup in Miami, March 2022



2021 Canadian Champion and Reigning Corinthian North American Champion (2017&2019)

- We were quite disappointed with falling short of our goals at the 2018 Worlds in Victoria after training for 4-5 days a week every summer for three years leading up to that event. It took about a month for three of us who were part of the 2018 team to decide we needed to try for the 2020 Charleston Worlds. At that point Aidan Koster, Keegan Moynihan and I asked Alex Levkovskiy to join our team to campaign for the 2020 Worlds. Aidan and Keegan also bought into the ownership of the boat (151) at that time. With the team of 4 we traveled to Michigan and won the 2019 NA's. We continued to train after this event as our mindset was as a low budget team spending more time on the water was the one advantage we could have over all the pro teams. Unfortunately the 2020 Worlds were canceled due to Covid and at that point Keegan decided with the uncertainty going forward he was not interested in continuing with the team. Around this time we sold 151 and bought 415 from Bob Britten in Victoria, Bob had won the Corinthian Worlds with the boat in Victoria and Vince Brun had won the 1999 and 2000 Worlds with 415 so we knew it was a quick boat, Keegan sold his share of 151 and Alex bought into 415 with Aidan and I. 

- As the NA corinthian champs in 2017 and 2019 we thought we were capable of competing with the best corinthian and pro teams in the world and are super excited to line up with arguably the best corinthian team in the world (Taki 4). Although the 2022 Worlds fleet is relatively small at 31 boats it has no shortage of talent with many past World Champions among the competitors registered. This will be a tough fleet to crack the top 10 in and we are excited to race against everyone in Fort Lauderdale.

- As to the Melges 24, we all think this is the best boat we have ever sailed and was way ahead of its time when it was first launched. To date there really isn't another 24 footer that is as fast or fun as the Melges 24. The fact we have been and still are competitive with the 800 series boats with both 151 and 415 which are both boats built in the 1990's is a testament to the quality of the construction of the Melges 24.

Melges 24 2017 & 2019 North American Champion Sunnyvale (CAN) of Fraser McMillan with Aidan Koster, Alexander Levkovskiy, Ansel Koehn, Kieran Horsburgh



Three-time & Reigning Melges 24 Corinthian World Champion (2016, 2017, 2019)

What are your feelings and expectations to sail at the Melges 24 Worlds again after Villasimius almost 3 years back?

We will sail again a World Championship in this amazing class after almost 3 years and a pandemic in between. We are certainly excited and can’t wait to be in the water! We sailed the European Championship last year, but Worlds are Worlds!

How would you describe the Worlds 2022 fleet?

This event will not have an huge fleet but the level will be very high and this combination makes the job even harder. US boats will be many and I know they are racing every month so I expect a super tough fleet and races.

You were winning Corinthian World Champion title also in Miami in 2016. Comparing to that time how has changed your team and what’s different in your preparations?

Six years ago we sailed a fantastic Worlds in Miami and we enjoyed a lot the sailing conditions there. There we won our first Corinthian title but our crew was just at the beginning of a long journey. We improved in the past years, however we will approach this event with less training compared to the fleet.

This is going to be the 23rd World Championship for the class after being designed in 1992 – 30 years ago! What would you say about the boat?

It’s crazy to think that the boat has already 30 years because looking at melges 24 sailing today anybody would still see a fantastic and modern boat!

Three-time and defending Melges 24 Corinthian World Champion Taki 4 (ITA) with Niccolo Bertola at the helm, Giacomo Fossati calling the tactics and Marco Zammarchi, Giovanni Bannetta and Pietro Seghezza in team



Melges 24 World Champion 2018

What are your feelings and expectations to sail the Melges 24 Worlds again after Villasimius almost 3 years back?

It's amazing to be back in a Melges 24 world championship after 3 years, we missed and wait a lot for this event, I think sailing in the ocean will be very interesting and funny. 

How would you describe the Worlds 2022 fleet?

We will find a strong fleet, not a lot of boats but the level is for sure very high. It's a pity we don't have many boats, we have to understand why and try to attract more boats for the next events.

Since when you are sailing Melges 24? Feel free to introduce your team a bit.

Altea is sailing Melges 24 since 2001, we had a lot of people racing with us during this long time. For this championship I will be at the helm as usual and Enzo Bonini will be the trimmer. Then we have Michele Gregoratto and Filippo Togni, sailing with me since many years and we 4 were part of the team winning in Canada. Davide Scarpa will be the new member of the crew, he's a very experienced and successful sailing winning with Mascalzone latino as bowman a lot of title. As always we will sail as a group of friends first.

This is going to be the 23rd World Championship for the class after being designed in 1992 – 30 years ago! What would you say about the boat?

I think we sailed 21 of these championships, I think this explains what I think about the boat!!! It's still the best one design boat, by long, and is always a pleasure to sail and race on a Melges 24, we have to work to build again a big fleet.

Altea ITA722 of Andrea Racchelli with Gaudenzio Bonini, Fausto Surini, Stefano Lagi and Michele Gregoratto takes the title of the Melges 24 European Championship 2021 in Portoroz, Slovenia


BRIAN PORTER – FULL THROTTLE USA #409 #600 #649 #749 #849

2013 World Champion, 3 x 2nd, 2 x 3rd at the Worlds; Eight-times US National Champion

It’s great to finally be sailing in another world championship. Fort Lauderdale has a one of the best racing area’s available for Melges 24’s. Great water and extremely challenging. The new facility at the club is fabulous.

While it’s disappointing that the fleet is small all the boats here are extremely competitive and have put in a great amount of time and effort into being their best.

I am just happy to be here after having some crew availability issues. I am sailing with two of my sons, RJ and Bri, as well as Joey Mello through day 1. My Normal bowman Matt Woodworth will join us starting day 2. 

I have been sailing 24’s since the beginning and the boat is still, in my opinion, the best boat of its kind on the water. Easy to sail and hard to sail well.

Thrilled to be sailing a world championship with my boys.

Full Throttle USA849 of Brian Porter with RJ Porter, Bri Porter and Matt Woodworth - Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta 2022



2019 North American Champion, three-time Charleston Race Week winner


What are your feelings and expectations to sail the Melges 24 Worlds again some years? 

Its great to get to be having the worlds again after a two year hiatus and its great to be back in South Florida sailing in the Ocean.  We rarely get to sail in open water so its always a treat to do it.  Our last worlds were Finland in 2017.

How’s been your #roadtomelges24worlds and how you would describe the Worlds 2022 fleet?

We have had a solid lead up to the worlds this year sailing Key West, Bacardi and then Charleston, winning that for the third year in a row.  Our program is a little different than most of the top teams as we aren’t able to put in as many days of the other teams, so we try and make the most of our time.  It works for us and we are optimistic about our event.

This is going to be the 23rd World Championship for the class after being designed in 1992 – 30 years ago! What would you say about the boat?

The Melges 24 is a timeless boat.  It was way ahead of its time 30 years ago and it doesn’t get boring.  The 24 consistently has some of the best owner drivers and professionals sailors competing in world year in and year out.  It's always a treat to be able to line up against that talent.

Lucky Dog USA858 of Travis Weisleder with John Bowden, Hayden Goodrick and Mark Mendleblat - 2022 Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta - Miami, FL



8th at the Melges 24 Worlds 2016; J70 World Champion 2017


Last time I raced in the 2016 World Championship in Miami which was a blast. We try to go into every event with the hope of doing well and try to prepare in advance to give ourselves that opportunity.

We have had a good run so far this year with certainly some ups and downs

As we have worked hard to understand the boat and what we need to do to get it around the race course as best we can. This class and this event in particular has a great deal of talent and we expect a real battle on the water amongst a number of boats.

The Melges 24 is an awesome boat with a feel most boats do not have. It is a pleasure driving (not so sure how those hiking feel) It was obviously well ahead of its time. 

Raza Mixta USA829 of Peter Duncan with Victor Diaz de Leon, Matteo Ramian, Carlos Robles, Willem Van Waay - 2020 Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta




U.S. Sailing 2021 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year


This is your first Melges 24 World Championship – what expectations do you have for the event?

We are a fairly new and young team on the Zenda Express but we feel pretty confident in our set up at the moment. I would say our goal is to podium at this worlds and if we sail well I think we could be in the mix to win.

You have been doing great winning the Gold Cup last year and being in top rankings at several events recently. How’ve been your preparations and how you would describe the Worlds 2022 fleet?

It has been an awesome winter in Florida racing Melges 24s. We have had 5 events in preparation for this worlds and each event has had a very nice turnout from the North American fleet. I think even though we have 30 boats at this worlds each one of the boats here has put a lot of time into getting faster and it really shows, the entire fleet is really quite tuff. 

What do you like the most about Melges 24 – the boat, which becomes 30 years old in 2023?

 I love how fun and fast the boat is to sail! I’m terms of a keel boat it really is on another level. 

2021 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Harry Melges IV steering Zenda Express USA866, will sail the 2022 Melges 24 Worlds with Finn Rowe, Ripley Shelley, Carlos Roble and Patrick Wilson