Documentary Tells the Buddy Melges Story

A who’s who of sailors contribute to a profile about the the American Olympics gold medalist and America’s Cup skipper.

Buddy Melges helped to steer America3 to victory in the 1992 America’s Cup.Phil Uhl

Buddy Melges is one of the all-time best sailors that the United States has produced in the past 70 years. His resume includes an Olympic gold medal, helming an America’s Cup yacht to victory, being named Rolex Yachtsman of the Year three times, and winning dozens of world and national championships in Stars, Solings, E Scows and many other classes. Melges is a hero to generations of sailors based on his tireless mission of helping other aspiring sailors to improve their sailing skills. A new feature-length film being produced by Mark Honer aims to tell the Melges story, which he describes as “a biography about the life and sailing career of the legendary Buddy Melges.”

Over the past year, Honer interviewed sailors from across the United States and throughout the world who have raced with and against Melges. The list of interviewees includes America’s Cup-winning skippers Dennis Conner, John Bertrand and Bill Koch, Olympic gold medalist Bill Allen, equipment manufacturer Peter Harken, Scow champions John and Brian Porter, and filmmaker Dick Enersen. I was also lucky to be interviewed for the production. Buddy is easy to talk about because he has done so much on the water, and helped so many sailors over the course of his long career.

Mark Honer’s production company, Destination Hope, goes by the name of DHTV Digital. He has produced many award-winning documentaries and television series. His film Combined recently won Best Story at the Sunset Film Festival in Los Angeles. He started his career as a reporter for CBS News and producing live sports for events that include college basketball’s Final Four and the Winter Olympics. He has also produced reports on presidential campaigns.

Melges: The Wizard of Zenda is his first production on a sailor. He says, “Creating powerful, inspiring stories is our goal,” and he picked a big name in sailing. The film is scheduled for release in early 2022.