Frequently Asked Questions

There has been some discussion at regattas regarding sailing the the Melges 24 within the Class and World Sailing Rules. Below are some frequently asked questions whether it be amongst Melges 24 teams or with race committees. IM24CA Technical Advisor has offered clarification on several items.


At the 2013 IMCA World Council AGM the rule change proposal to reduce the height of the stanchions (already approved in outline at the 2012 AGM) was ratified. Subject to approval by ISAF this rule change was introduced on 1 January 2014.


Two Factory supplied 

stanchions either side with

hiking line





Underside of hole in

stanchion above deck 




Various proposals had been submitted to the meeting on this subject. Peter Goekel reported back on the Technical Committees findings on this subject and there was discussion around the table on the correct wording for the rule and the need to protect the one design of the boat (ie that allowing two different heights of stanchion or a variety of heights would not be appropriate). Federico Michetti drew the meetings attention to the detail in the Builder's Report highlighting that a low cost retrofit kit is available for those who do not wish to purchase a new set of stanchions.

Sailors are reminded that there are three possible options when reducing the height of their stanchions to meet the new rule:

1) by purchasing new stanchions, to be ordered from Melges Performance Sailboats
2) by adapting existing stanchions using the official retrofit kit, to be ordered from Melges Performance Sailboats
3) Reducing the old stanchions to the new height by cutting the tube and welding the original head back onto the tube at the new height = Please note that it cutting the existing stanchions and welding on new (non original) heads or other materials is NOT allowed.

Below please see a useful video produced by Technical Committee Member Jan Schmidt which demonstrates the correct technique for cutting and welding existing stanchions.


This is covered under the class rules C.10.1, C.10.2 and C.10.3.

It is really very simple; the first opportunity you have to pull out the bowsprit is when the bow has passed the windward mark. However, you cannot do this unless you are also hoisting the spinnaker. If the leg to the spreader mark is too tight to carry a spinnaker then you cannot sail with the bowsprit out – you will be penalised. Pulling the tack of the spinnaker out a little and then waiting is not allowed. You must wait until you hoist the spinnaker before pulling the bowsprit out. One operation – not two!

The easy way to remember is: NO SPINNAKER - NO BOWSPRIT!

At the leeward mark, the rule is a little more flexible, but you must retract the pole as soon as you can. Judges are instructed to watch the crews not the bowsprit. If a crewmember is struggling to clear the spinnaker then a little more time will be given. If it is cleared away with the crew on the rail and the bowsprit still out – expect a penalty!


The Melges class allow a particular type of sailing method by hiking the boat against the hiking lines. However, it is expected that the crew remain inside the lines at all times. This includes the push-pits at the stern and the gate connecting them. There is nothing in the rules that allows crew to step outside these lines whilst sailing and it is therefore prohibited.

It should also be noted that Rule C.10.4 is very clear regarding the helmsperson and how they may sit. They shall not sit in any way that projects the body below the waist outside the sheerline. Nor shall they use any fitting or device to hike from – this includes mainsheet system and backstay adjusters. Helmspersons should not be seen with the feet or legs under or around any system in the boat.

Hiking Line

Question: The new rule C.7.2.a.5 changes the trim of the top of the Hiking Line to 100mm from the deck, pushing hard on it: how much is "pushing hard", how many kgs?

Answer: The rule C.7.2.a.5 says two things: 
The 1st: "the hiking line shall be tight at all times" which means NO slack. And the use of shock chord to reduce the slack is not admitted.  
The 2nd: "The distance between the top of the bearing point of the lifeline straps and the deck shall be no closer than 10 cm when a 20 kg load is placed at mid-span" - it should be clear enough and means it will be controlled with a 20kg load.


On some boats, the forward hand will tack round the front of the mast and this is acceptable. However, roll tacking by standing and hanging on the shrouds is prohibited. C.10.5. “Hanging” covers all types of contact with the shroud the purpose of which is the heel the boat, including hanging outside or pushing from inside the shrouds!

Mainsail Pumping

Although pumping the spinnaker is unrestricted (C.10.6), the mainsail is still controlled by RRS 42. Only when planning is possible or you are able to surf down the leeward side of a wave, may you pump the mainsail. Then it is ONE pump for each wave or gust of wind. Interpretations regarding rule 42 can be found on the ISAF website,

Check and be sure that you fully understand this racing rule. You are still required to comply with all of it, including sculling, ooching etc.

The Fairing of the Keel Box Area

After request on few sailors regarding the fairing of the keel box area, we remember that the class rule C.7.1.e is very simple: you can add material only around the Derlin. To be more accurate see the 2 drawings below. Furthermore it is necessary remember that it is not allowed fill the slot of the screws: Melges24 Class rules are Closed Rules:  anything not specifically permitted by the class rules is prohibited.

You can download the instructions here (PDF)


And Last, But Certainly Not Least

Please read the Class Rules and the Racing Rules. If you are penalised for breaking these rules, you have only yourselves to blame!