The next big thing?


 
We speak to owner Joe Woods about his Melges 32 campaign and bringing the first new boat to the UK
The Melges 32 is set to reach UK shores in a major way when Joe Woods' example of the 24's big brother arrives in his native Torquay this coming March. Woods is a highly astute businessman, having earned an honest crust in the drinks trade. He set up his company Beverage Brands 15 years ago and today it is the second biggest manufacturer of 'Ready to Drink' beverages in the UK, with lines including the successful Vodka-based alcopop WKD and the non-alcoholic Woodys. As a sailor Woods is highly accomplished aboard his Melges 24 having bought his first example of the Reichel-Pugh designed sportsboat for the first World Championship, held in Torquay in 1998. Since then he's owned eight 24s and currently keeps one in the UK and another ready to race in the US. A long term supporter of the 24, for some while Woods says he has been looking to graduate up. He describes how he came to buy his new Melges 32. "I’d seen them for the first time at Key West in 2005 when they launched it, but I’d previously been very interested in what was the original version of it - the Melges 30, which had the same hull shape just with a different rig and a different rudder set-up. I’d seen that at Key West in 1999 and was quite impressed by it." Woods says he also considered the Mumm 30 but realised he had become so used to sailing with asymmetrics he wasn't prepared to make the step back into a conventionally spinnakered boat. Other reasons Woods gives for opting for the 32 are: "It is easily trailerable, which is good because it is similar to the 24: the keel comes up, it has a gin pole arrangement to help you take the

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