Melges 24 – speed guide (Part II) by Brian Janney

What are the most important ways to tune the Melges 24 rig?

Tuning the rig is described in detail in the North Melges 24 Tuning Guide. The key parameters are rake and shroud tension. Because the spreaders are swept aft, as you add tension to shrouds, the mast bends and becomes raked more. Unlike some classes, you’re allowed to adjust the shrouds while sailing; knowing the number of turns for each setting, the forward crew can make the adjustments while hiking. From the base setting to 20 knots, it’s 20 turns. Top boats have shifted to open-body turnbuckles because they’re twice as fast to adjust and easy to pin using a piece of batten held in place with shock cord.

What are the key steps to setting up the rig?

The first step is to hoist the internal jib wire and set the rake at the turnbuckle above the Highfield lever. Rake is measured from the top of the mast to the intersection of the transom and the bottom of the hull. This measurement should be 36’6.5” (11.140m).

Next, add shroud tension until it is 16 on the Loos gauge. You may have to adjust the turnbuckle above the Highfield lever to maintain the proper rake adjustment. It helps to have two people to do this.

Are there other special considerations when setting up a Melges 24?

It’s easy to scratch or damage the keel when hauling and launching. The North Tuning Guide includes what to watch for there, as well as several tricks to marking control lines and setting up your deck.

Part III coming soon…

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