Harry “Buddy” Melges 1930 – 2023

Buddy Melges adjusts his sail at the 1975 IDNIYRA North American Championship on Lake Geneva. Photo: Henry Bossett

The IDNIYRA extends our deepest sympathies to the family of Buddy Melges US2974, one of the most incredible soft and hard water sailors of all time.

Buddy raced in nearly every class of iceboat, including the DN. He competed in two DN regattas in 1975, one of which involved Coast Guard helicopters and ice floes on Saginaw Bay in Michigan. See the stories and results below.

Sailors from all over have shared their stories about Buddy Melges on social media. DN class sailors have many of their own. Joe Norton US781 recalled the 1975 North American Championship qualification races when Buddy searched for the correct settings for sticky snow. Joe suggested a few and, in the next race, Joe started in the one or two blocks. Joe had a decent lead, and suddenly there was Buddy windward of him like a fast freight train and went on to win the race. Joe also recalled, “as much as Buddy loved iceboating, it didn’t hold a candle to his passion for duck hunting.”

Ron Sherry US44 won the 1997 Renegade Championship thanks to Buddy’s advice on easing the side stays on his Renegade. Ron commented, “If you make the people around you faster, you will also become quicker. Buddy followed this principle.”