The New York Yacht Club and Melges Performance Sailboats have licensed a second manufacturer for the IC37 by Melges. FIBRE Mechanics, based in Lymington, England, will join Westerly Marine as an official builder of the 37ft one-design keelboat designed by Mark Mills to a concept created by the New York Yacht Club.
The club has ordered the first 20 boats for use in the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup and as a member charter fleet. The first IC37 by Melges is currently undergoing sea trials in Newport, Rhode Island, and will be christened this coming Saturday, May 12, at the 31st Commissioning of the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court.
"We were cautiously optimistic that this boat would strike a chord with Corinthian sailors around the world," says New York Yacht Club Commodore Phil Lotz. "The interest has exceeded our expectations, even before we had a boat for people to test sail. Adding a second builder, in England, will allow us to meet demand more quickly and help us grow the European fleet."
FIBRE Mechanics is a new name in the boatbuilding industry, having formed in late 2016. But the core team of managers and boatbuilders is comprised of former employees of Green Marine, which built many America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race yachts during a distinguished run as one of the world's premiere builders of custom composite yachts.
"We are extremely pleased to have been selected to join the IC37 project team," says Geoff Stock, managing director of FIBRE Mechanics. "The club’s vision for the class is outstanding, and the work done by Westerly Marine and everyone involved with boat one is truly impressive. Our build teams have over half a million work-hours of experience building high-end racing yachts, including the assembly of the current Volvo Ocean 65 one-design fleet, which will serve us well as we look to deliver a fleet of identical yachts to help build this new class."
Maintaining the strict one-design characteristics of the burgeoning class will be the top priority for FIBRE Mechanics, which will be building its hull and deck molds from the original plug created by Westerly Marine. "We created this class with the understanding that we were likely to add more builders," says Paul Zabetakis, chair of the club's subcommittee in charge of managing the IC37 project.
"The one-design rules are nearly complete, the tolerances are minuscule and the build manual is very specific. Wherever possible the raw materials will come from a single supplier. We're confident that the only way sailors will be able to tell the difference between a boat from Westerly Marine and a boat from FIBRE Mechanics is by going down below and looking at the builder's plate."
The plugs and other associated tooling are currently en route to the FIBRE Mechanics shop in Lymington, with construction of the first boat scheduled to begin by mid-summer. Melges Performance Sailboats is currently taking orders for privately-owned IC37s, which should be available early in 2019.