Melges 40

2016 October 1

This cutting-edge design will turn heads on racing circuits worldwide


don’t really recall when I first heard the name Melges but I can’t remember a time when I did not associate the name with high-performance sailing. The Melges 24 may not have been the first “sportboat” but it sure kicked the design of sportboats in the pants good and hard. The gloves came off. The new 40, designed by Botin Partners Naval Architecture, appears to be an extension of the same all or nothing approach to a 40-foot one-design sportboat. That’s a lot of sport. If the name Botin Partners is new to you they have been very successful in designing boats for European racing circuits. The first race season for the 40 has already been organized with a series of races in Europe. But don’t fret, the class association has a division for arranging accommodations and rentals. I want a villa.

So it’s back to renderings again. I have a drawn profile but it’s the sailplan and does not show the hull profile under the water. What I can see is that there appears to be less than 3 feet of overall overhangs and a subtle, slightly radiused chine aft. It looks like the max beam is carried all the way to the transom, or close to it. The section at the transom shows a flattened mid portion with bilges flaring out to the chine. It’s straight up from the chine. The D/L is 66.18. That’s using the brochure’s lightship displacement but even with some extra weight this is going to be a very light boat. 

The boat has twin rudders but the most prominent feature is the canting keel, good for 45 degrees on each side. In the canted position the keel won’t do much to prevent leeway so another daggerboard is added directly forward of the keel for upwind work. Draft with the board down is 10 feet 6 inches and the board has an extremely high aspect ratio.

With a lead bulb weighing 2,425 pounds on the end of a 10-foot hydraulically activated canting keel, the norms for a good SA/D just don’t work. This boat has a SA/D of 56.1 with a total sail area of 1,302 square feet. To put that in perspective, consider the venerable Cal 40, once considered a hot rod. The Cal 40 has 699 square feet of sail area on a 15,500-pound displacement for a SA/D of 17.99. So figure the Melges 40 has three times as much horsepower per pound as the Cal 40. The all-carbon rig and square-top main is held up by composite rigging.

This deck design is all about giving the crew an efficient cockpit area. There is a winch pedestal just off center adjacent to the head of the rudder stock. The tiller is carbon. Primary winches are Harken three-speed Performa series. The mainsheet traveler spans the cockpit sole at the transom.

The Melges team has done everything to ensure that the new 40 operates at a level that will make it as fast as any other 40-footer out there.  This is an international project with the builder, Premier Composite Technologies in Dubai.

LOA 39’4”; LWL 36’5”; Beam 11’7”; Draft 10’6”; Displ. 7,165 lbs.; Ballast 2,425 lbs.; Sail area 1,302 sq. ft.; Auxiliary 20 hp; SA/D 56.1; D/L 66.18; L/B 3.39; Fuel capacity 10 gal.

Our best estimate of the sailaway price: $795,000

Melges USA

N598 Zenda Rd.

Zenda, WI 53195