The Melges IC37 Class Association has brought onboard world champion sailor Greg Fisher (Mt. Pleasant, SC) as the Class Coach for the 2020 summer sailing season.
“The hiring of a Class Coach is one more example of how the Melges IC37 Class is looking to build a culture that encourages passionate skippers and crew,” says Melges IC37 Class Association President Phil Lotz (Newport, RI/Fort Lauderdale, FL). “From its inception, the Class has been working to curb the time, energy, and financial barriers that have stagnated the growth of one-design keelboat classes.”
The Melges IC37 Class Rules were developed to place an emphasis on teamwork and camaraderie, create a racing platform for mixed-gender Corinthian crews and youths, and to develop well defined one-design rules that control operating costs and avoids an arms race. One such rule is the prohibition of individual coaching during regattas.
Fisher, a 25-time national, North American, and world champion, will be an on-the-water presence at class events on the summer calendar. He will guide pre-regatta practices, run daily post-race debriefs for the fleet, and provide all Melges IC37 teams with regular expert insight on how to maximize their performance. He will also be available between regattas to answer questions and discuss areas of improvement specific to individual teams.
“I truly enjoy coaching. In every position I’ve held in my sailing career, coaching has played a major role,” says Fisher. “There’s nothing more gratifying than helping guide a team to improve, and as a result, seeing them enjoy the sport that much more.”
While most coaches in the sport work in more intimate arrangements, one-on-one with an individual or team, Fisher says there’s a lot that can be gained from the group dynamic.
“The real benefit is the collaboration and the team culture building that comes from a group debrief,” he says. “When members of the fleet, are comfortable not only describing what works best for their boat, but also are not afraid or intimidated to ask a question, then a strong culture develops where everyone gains and grows.”
“The ultimate victory is a class where every team feels like it has the tools and opportunity to succeed. The widespread sentiment is a challenge to develop,” says Andy Burdick (Zenda, WI), President of Melges Performance Sailboats. “But it’s among the most valuable things you can have when building a class.”
With the beginning of the season delayed by the COVID-19 health crisis, Fisher will organize a webinar series to advance the class’s training resources starting in early May. The 2020 Melges IC37 summer schedule will include up to six events based out of Newport, RI. The exact schedule will be finalized as soon as possible. The class’s second national championship is scheduled for October 9-11.
The Melges IC37 is an innovative 37-foot one-design race boat created by the New York Yacht Club, designed by Mark Mills Design and managed by Melges Performance Sailboats. The class provides thrilling racing in matched, high-performance boats with minimum hassle. The strict class rules specify one-design sails, standardized rig tune, and coed, amateur crew. With more than 30 boats racing in three countries, the Melges IC37 is on the cusp of becoming the next great one-design class in sailing.
by Morgan Kinney