The Melges 17 & Larry Brand — A Very Special Award

29 September 2008

The Melges 17 and Larry Brand go hand in hand. Larry was very instrumental in forming the Melges 17 class as he and his very close friend Bill Fauntleroy with others started the very first fleet on White Lake, Michigan. Once the concept and pictures of the Melges 17 were posted on line Larry called Melges to get the ball rolling! “We want to be fleet number one and we have 6 orders from White Lake, Michigan”. It started just like that. Larry’s commitment and passion for the Melges 17 prevailed as his club indeed started fleet one and then went on to host the first National Championship which had 25 boats in attendance. Strong right out of the box thanks to Larry!

Larry was a very close friend to all of us. He passed away very early in life. All of us associated with sailing and the Melges 17 class still feel and see his passion. Larry was a super person and a real competitor on the water – he simply loved to race! He loved to race the Melges 17.

At the conclusion of the major events each year now we award the top performing skipper the Larry Brand Trophy. This award is based on the national ranking and fleet result. You have to go to regattas, compete at a high level and have good results. Something Larry did when he sailed. He went to all the events, he competed, won races and had fun on and off the water!

His close friend Bill Fauntleroy awarded the Larry Brand Trophy at this years National Championship. Bill spoke to the Melges 17 fleet about how proud he would be to see such a strong class forming. How competitive the fleet is and how people travel to regattas to support the racing.

This years winner is Mary Anne Ward. Mary Anne has been involved since day one also. She goes to all the regattas and competes at a very high level. "This boat is perfect for me." Her passion for the boat and the class is very visible at the yacht club and out on the water. She loves to sail and loves the Melges 17. Her regatta results this year again showed that she was at the top of her game. She is the NUMBER ONE MELGES 17 SAILOR IN THE COUNTRY!

Congratulations Mary Anne and to your dedicated crew Peter Keck! #1.