Melges was adamant that a 40-footer which makes 22-23 knots downwind should not have a prop dragging in the water, so the prop is lifted before racing. The inner power pack, PLC brain and remote control are all controlled by the engine. The hydraulics run off two batteries for the canting keel. After three races there is usually still 60 per cent of battery capacity left so the boats should be capable of two days racing autonomously.
This year the Melges 40s will also be showcased as a class at August’s Copa del Rey. The target is a 15-boat international circuit. In the winter the fleet will head to Miami and the USA where new, interested owners are expected to come on board, not least from the Melges 32 fleet.
Botin’s Carrau confirms: “You always return to the boat with a smile on your face. That is not marketing speak. I have always returned to the dock with a smile on my face. Everyone always looks forwards to going sailing in 20 knots and big waves because it is so easy to sail. It will go 23 to 24 knots.”
He smiles, “Who needs foils? It is very simple. Keeping it simple was our priority. It is very easy to get very complicated very quickly.
“Complex boats are appealing but at 40ft they quickly need a shore team to maintain and you need an engineering team. We wanted to avoid experiments. After all, in the round the world races the canting keel system here is well proven. So we are not inventing anything, we are putting pre-existing technology in a production boat.”