Gloria and Buddy Melges at the 2007 Northwest Regatta at Menominee, MI. Photo: Chris John

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The long anticipated Buddy Melges documentary is set to premiere in March. The producers have promised “some great iceboat footage from 1999” in the documentary.

‘Wizard of Zenda’ Documentary to Premiere on March 25, 2023

The Wizard of Zenda, a film about the life of sailing legend Buddy Melges, will have its first premiere at the Annapolis Film Festival March 25. Wizard of Zenda takes the viewer on a wild ride through the career of one of the greatest sailors in the history of the sport.

This is the untold story of Buddy Melges, a fiercely competitive but beloved sailor who won Olympic medals and championships, and his quest to capture the pinnacle of sailing, the America’s Cup. Melges was an entertaining character who shared everything he knew and refused to take himself too seriously. His intuitive, some would say mystical, powers to see and feel the wind, along with his home base of Zenda, Wisconsin combined to earn him the well-deserved nickname: The Wizard of Zenda.

Buddy Melges gets the checkers at the 2007 Northwest. Photo: Chris John.

Melges won the respect and admiration of his peers and adversaries. Many of sailings biggest icons were interviewed for the film, including 3-time America’s Cup winner Dennis Conner, Australian champion John Bertrand, former ESPN sailing analyst and America’s Cup winner Gary Jobson, and Bill Koch, the billionaire businessman who teamed up with Melges in the 1992 America’s Cup.

Quicklier Film Partners Executive Producer Anne Peterson chose long-time partner and filmmaker Mark Honer to write and direct Wizard of Zenda. “It’s been a long road, but we’re excited to share this amazing story,” said Peterson who grew up sailing the same waters as Melges at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. “Many people know about Buddy’s championships. But not many know how he used that winning platform to teach not just sailing, but lessons about humility, honesty, persistence and overcoming adversity”.

Through exhaustive research, the filmmakers uncovered film and video ranging from a 1946 regional regatta, when buddy was 16, to a world iceboat championship in 1991 which Buddy won at the age of 71. “We told sailors we were producing a film about Buddy Melges and doors magically opened,” said Honer. “The jackpot was getting unprecedented access to over 100 hours of behind-the-scenes archival footage of the 1992 America3 campaign.”

Quicklier Film Partners is partnering with organizations and sponsors to distribute the documentary through private screenings, events and film festivals. To learn more visit