An Interview with the 2012 ILYA Inland Champion, Pat Hughes

Pat Hughes, native of Minnetonka, MN and owner of Melvin took the time to reflect on his huge win at the 2012 ILYA A Scow Championship and how he plans to prepare for the 2013 season. He also discusses what it is about the A Scow that he can’t get enough of and the fleet that makes all the hard work worthwhile.

The upcoming A Scow season is just around the corner. What are you most looking forward to in the 2013 season?
What I look forward to the most is always the amazing group of people. We have a great A Scow Clan and we all love getting together to go racing again.

You and the Melvin team had a huge win at the 2012 ILYA Inland Championship. Why do you feel you were so successful and what skills will you carry with you into the 2013 season.
Yes, this is our first win. We have been close several times but the reason we won this time is because we have a great team. We all put in the extra time on the water and finally were able to get it done.

We love sailing in Madison and have done well there in the past. Also, having Harry Melges and his son on the boat is a huge plus. Also, Chris Jewett is the heart and soul of the team. He along with Harry on tactics really knows what it takes to go fast.

The A Scow is great upwind. What is your favorite upwind trick to maximize speed?
Sailing an A Scow well is all about healing and getting the boat on its line. When we are doing well, the boat is on its line and literally jumps out of the water. If we are struggling the boat is offset and then your challenge is to find the right angle to get back on the line.

How would you best explain the acceleration of the A Scow downwind, kite up and crew hiking?
Let’s just say people don’t say much when the boat is loaded up and firing downwind. When Buddy Melges said it was the best sailing in the world, he meant it.

When it comes to downwind speed, you need to be on an A Scow. There is just no comparison to being that close to the water reaching top speed. It’s a physical downwind filled with adrenaline, but when the crew is in sync the boat literally drives itself.

The 2013 A Scow National Championship at Lake Geneva Yacht Club happening in June is quickly approaching. How are you and your crew preparing for this huge event?
The biggest thing is making sure we come back with the same crew. We will make some phone calls and start practicing about a month in advance. We will start preparing for the events next summer as well.

If someone approached you about getting into the A Scow what would be the first thing you would say to encourage them to join in on the fun and race?
First off, you are greeted by the wonderful Melges staff who is happy to get you on a boat and sailing fast in true Melges race ready fashion.

The fleet is just filled with wonderful people and you would be crazy not to buy a A Scow.

What keeps me coming back each year is the A Scow family that has surrounded this fleet from the beginning. We represent generations of sailors who truly love the sport and the camaraderie that is deeply embedded within the fleet.

Thank you Pat for the incredible insight! Good luck in your 2013 sailing season! We look forward to more great accomplishments from you in the future.