The Melges 32 is produced by Melges Performance Sailboats, a United States company founded by Harry Melges. It was designed by the Reichel/Pugh design team and went into production in 2005. The boat is 9.7m (31ft 10in) long and 3m (9ft 10in) wide at the beam. It carries around 93m² (1001ft²) of sail area, main, jib and asymmetrical spinnaker combined. Upwind, it has a mainsail and 105% jib. Downwind, it has a large 103-121m² (1,113-1,302ft²) asymmetrical spinnaker that flies from a retractable bowsprit.
The boat's hull is made from lightweight fiberglass. The mast, rudder, bowsprit, and keel fin are made from carbon fiber for light weight. The hull is generally flat on the bottom, making it plane easily. The 778kg (1700 pound) keel fin and keel bulb can retract up to the hull bottom to make it easier to put on a trailer.
The boat is generally raced with a crew of five or more. Because the boat sails faster with a heavier crew, class rules for racing limit crew weight to 629kg total. Strict one design class rules govern the Melges 32 amateur owner/driver requirements, professional crew limitations and crew weight maximum to limit the number of crew.
On the 21st of November 2008 the ISAF (international sailing federation) recognised the Melges 32 as an international class, having fleets in Europe, North America and Australia