Harry “Buddy” Melges, Jr. had already established an impressive record of sailing championships before he began participating in America’s Cup campaigns. His Olympic success includes a Bronze medal in 1964 in the Flying Dutchman and a Gold medal in 1972 in the Soling Class. He holds championships in the Maxi world, Star Class, Meter World, International 50 Foot World Cup, and the National E-Scows. He has been named the one-design “Sailor of the Year”, “Sportsman of the Year” and “Yachtsman of the Year.”
Among the 1987 Cup challengers, Buddy Melges represented the Chicago Yacht Club in HEART OF AMERICA. While Buddy did not triumph, Dennis Conner, sailing STARS & STRIPES, called him “one of the great sailors in the world.” In 1992, the America’s Cup went high tech and high performance with the development of the new International America’s Cup Class. Kansan Bill Koch’s technology-driven program prevailed. Koch, Melges and AMERICA3 scored a decisive 4 – 1 victory over the Italian IL MORO DE VENEZIA. This campaign represented the last successful defense of the Cup by an American team.
Then, during the 1995 Cup campaign, Buddy Melges used his vast racing experience to coach the first all girls’ crew aboard Koch’s challenger, MIGHTY MARY, thus opening the way to participation by female crews.