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The Harbor Report: Top-notch sailor looks to next America's Cup

February 21, 2014|By Len Bose
  • Pete Melvin, designer/engineer/partner of Morrelli & Melvin Design and Engineering Inc.
Pete Melvin, designer/engineer/partner of Morrelli… (Len Bose, Daily…)

After interviewing Gino Morrelli for my column last week, I had a chance to ask the same questions of his partner, Pete Melvin, of Morrelli & Melvin Design and Engineering Inc.

Morrelli and Melvin are best known for their catamaran designs and their work in writing the class rules for the 34th and 35th America's Cups.

I have known about Melvin from the first time I picked up Yacht Racing & One Design magazine, now called Sailing World. He was sailing for Boston University, where he was named an All-American, in the 1980s.

"We won the dinghy nationals a couple of times and the Fowle Trophy my senior year," he said.

Some background: He was born in Jackson, Miss., grew up in Florida and earned a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from B.U. in 1985. He spent five years working as an engineer for McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach before leaving in 1990 to join Gino and our Freedom's Wing, Little America's Cup team.

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He has been involved in boat design ever since, forming his partnership with Morrelli in 1992.

I do not think Melvin is in the National Sailing Hall of Fame yet, but he will be. He started sailing Optimists at the age of 7.

By the time he was going into high school, he had won the U.S. Optimist National "a few times." He also took the U.S. Doublehanded Youth Championship "a few times" and the World Youth Doublehanded Championship in 1977.

"I did a few Olympic campaigns in 470 class from 1976 to 1984," he said. "Then got a Tornado catamaran after moving to California in 1986. Won 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials in Tornado in 1988 and raced in 1988 Olympics in Korea. Then sailed in the new ProSail series in 1989 (in Hobie 21 catamarans) and won that series. That is where I met Gino.

"Then the Little AC in 1991, and Tornado Olympic Trials in 1992, where we finished second (only the first place boat goes to the Games.) Then started sailing A Class Catamarans in 1996 and won A Class Catamaran Worlds in 1997 in a new M&M designed A Class. Racing less after forming M&M but managed to win A Class Worlds again in 2005 in another new M&M A Class design. Continue to sail competitively."

I asked Melvin to talk about the company's plans for the next America's Cup.

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