Something to Smile and Wave About, the Melges 24 North American Sailing Series

15 May, 2024 - The 2024 Melges 24 North American Sailing Series is almost to the halfway mark. With four exhilarating events completed, the current frontrunner, Jaime Torres, commands the leaderboard racing the formidable Smile and Wave, just slightly ahead of Midwinter Champion Steve Boho on The 300, and Bacardi Winter Series Champion Bora Gulari racing Kingspoke.

Also coming on super strong early in the results is Sandy Askew’s Flying Jenny — a beautiful brand new Melges 24, #869! Askew currently sits fourth overall, followed by Corinthian Charleston Race Week Champion William Morang racing Rapscallion in fifth.

Smile and Wave - Jaime Torres USA545
Smile and Wave - Jaime Torres USA545

Torres got his first taste of Melges-style racing on a Melges 32 by the same name, Smile and Wave. Two years ago, he moved to Florida and consulted with a good friend, Marty Kullman, about what boat was right for him. According to Torres: “He (Marty) said in no uncertain terms that I should get a Melges 24. I bought USA545 on Facebook marketplace in May of 2022, and drove 1,200 miles from Florida to Connecticut to pick it up. The first time I sailed it was at a Davis Island Yacht Club Thursday night series.”

“It was crazy fast for its size, super maneuverable, simple, and affordable. Little did I know that racing my Melges 24
would make me fall in love with sailing all over again. I am stoked with the Class and being in it is helping me grow as a sailor. I plan on racing this boat for a long time!” - - Jaime TorresSmile and Wave 

Torres attributes his team’s success thus far to ‘just showing up.’ “The first rule is to show up, and that is exactly what we have done. We have raced every 2024 Series event in the Southeast. Our success has been moderate, but when you consider that the team is relatively new and we are racing against top pro teams, our improvement in both speed and boat-handling has been steady.“

The Smile and Wave team plans on getting back into the swing of things at the Traverse City event (Guardians of the Great Lakes Regatta, August 17-18) and racing all of the remaining Southeastern events in 2024.

“Our team is pretty excited about helping the Melges 24 Class efforts by working with our local clubs and boat owners to build up great camaraderie and competition that will attract new and returning owners to the fleet,” concluded Torres.

The North American Sailing Series includes ten events across the United States and Canada. The remaining events include the Midwest One-Design Spring Championship on May 18-19, U.S. Nationals on July 12-14, World Championship on August 17-24, Guardians of the Great Lakes Regatta (formerly the Grand Traverse Invite, August 17-18), Canadian Melges 24 Nationals (September 20-22) and lastly, but certainly not least — the Bushwhacker Cup / Atlantic & Gulf Coast Championship (November 8-10).

Learn more about the North American Sailing Series here
Full Results (After 4 events) here.

Smile and Wave - Jaime Torres USA545

Smile and Wave - Jaime Torres USA545

Kingspoke USA820 of Bora Gulari

Sandra Askew races a brand new Melges 24, hull no. 869 — Flying Jenny