Picture yourself on the rail of a boatalmost any boatit really doesnt matter. Its windy and youve got just enough sail up to be pushing the envelope, but youre in control as the boat chomps at the bit, straining to break free of its displacement mode and burn over instead of through the water. Your senses are heightened as the spray flies off the hull and the boat continues blasting along. Whether you realize it or not, youre in the grips of a powerful dynamic, youre becoming a slave to speed.
Speed. Its one of the most compelling aspects of this sport we all enjoy. Of course its not everyones cup of tea, but even the most entrenched cruising fanatic has a hard time suppressing that latent rebel yell when his or her vessel meets the right combination of wind and wave to redline the speed gauge, if only in relative fashion. As for the rest of usthose of us who do put a premium value on moving fast across the waterthe pursuit of speed is an all-encompassing venture, often prompting us to sacrifice comfort and occasionally judgement for an additional tenth or two of a knot. But you neednt worry if you begin to realize that this last sentence describes you and your matesthat doesnt make any of you extremists. Actually, that description puts you roughly in the middle of the scale when it comes to speed fanaticism because theres an entire subculture of speed-seeking out there, and its devotees are the ones who truly exist on the edge. Heres a quick overview:
Any discussion of speed sailingparticularly one involving recordsstarts and ends with the wizard, Lindsay Cunningham, the wizard of Aus. The man who is reluctantly known by that moniker is a legend in speed sailing circles due to his successes with fixed-wing craft. Cunningham, now in his late 60s, is the designer and engineer of Yellow Pages Endeavour
, the innovative fixed-wing, tripod craft that set the outright speed record of 46.52 knots in 1993, a record that remains unequalled today. Prior to that he worked on a number of breakthrough vessels, and now it appears that hes back at it, working in secrecy on a new project titled Macquarie Innovations