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Dan Dickison 05-16-2001 08:00 PM

Speed Sailing Overview
<HTML><!-- eWebEditPro --><P><TABLE align=right border=0 cellPadding=0 cellSpacing=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=8></TD><TD align=left vAlign=top width=306><IMG height=244 src="" width=306><BR><DIV align=left class=captionheader><FONT color=#000000><B>Speed on the water—it heightens your senses and eventually invades your sensibilities.</B></FONT></DIV></TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2 height=8></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Picture yourself on the rail of a boat—almost any boat—it really doesn’t matter. It’s windy and you’ve got just enough sail up to be pushing the envelope, but you’re 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, you’re in the grips of a powerful dynamic, you’re becoming a slave to speed. <P>Speed. It’s one of the most compelling aspects of this sport we all enjoy. Of course it’s not everyone’s 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 us—those of us who do put a premium value on moving fast across the water—the pursuit of speed is an all-encompassing venture, often prompting us to sacrifice comfort and occasionally judgement&nbsp;for an additional tenth or two of a knot. But you needn’t worry if you begin to realize that this last sentence describes you and your mates—that doesn’t make any of you extremists. Actually, that description puts you roughly in the middle of the scale when it comes to speed fanaticism because there’s an entire subculture of speed-seeking out there, and its devotees are the ones who truly exist on the edge. Here’s a quick overview: <P><TABLE align=right border=0 cellPadding=0 cellSpacing=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=8></TD><TD align=left vAlign=top width=292><IMG height=223 src="" width=292><BR><DIV align=left class=captionheader><FONT color=#000000><B>Lindsay Cunningham's latest speed machine—<EM>Macquarie Innovations</EM>—making a systematic assault on the 50-knot barrier.</B></FONT></DIV></TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2 height=8></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Any discussion of speed sailing—particularly one involving records—starts 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 <I>Yellow Pages Endeavour</I>, the innovative fixed-wing, tripod craft that set the outright speed record of 46.52 knots in 1993, a record that&nbsp;remains unequalled today. Prior to that he worked on a number of breakthrough vessels, and now it appears that he’s back at it, working in secrecy on a new project&nbsp;titled <I>Macquarie Innovations</I>. <P><TABLE align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=8></TD><TD></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></P><I><P>Macquarie Innovations</I> is reportedly closer in essence to <I>Extreme 50</I>, which was named for the holy grail in this discipline of the sport—achieving 50 knots under sail. That red vessel, itself an evolution of the famed <I>YPE</I>, has led to the new vessel, which is purported to have a shorter, lower-aspect ratio wing than the yellow boat and a longer and wider base for&nbsp;its tripod floats. Cunningham and his team indicated roughly five years ago that <I>Extreme 50 </I>was capable of improving on <I>YPE</I>’s performance by 14 percent—a number that they maintain is also true of the newest boat. Back then, the red boat was clocked at 43.35 knots in winds that measured 18 to 20 knots. So far, performance data and photographs of Cunningham’s latest venture are exceedingly hard to come by, which is just the way the wizard likes it.</P><P><TABLE align=right border=0 cellPadding=0 cellSpacing=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=8></TD><TD align=left vAlign=top width=306><IMG height=231 src="" width=306><BR><DIV align=left class=captionheader><FONT color=#000000></FONT><STRONG>The flying Frenchmen aboard <EM>Vecteur Vitesse</EM> claim a top speed of 42.12 knots.</STRONG></DIV></TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2 height=8></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Elsewhere around the world, Cunningham and his accomplishments remain under near-constant assault. In June of ’97, the French sailors and designers at Techniques Avancees announced that they attained 42.12 knots aboard their novel, twin-wing catamaran <I>Vecteur Vitesse</I>, establishing a new Class-D record for outright speed. It appears that the gears have ground to a temporary halt on this project for the time being, but another effort, also based in France, has announced that it too has developed the technology to surpass 50 knots under sail. Calling itself <I>Innovoile</I>, this project’s vessel is best described as a proa with two tilted, solid-wing sails that join each other at the tip. If this concept seems difficult to envision, then you know how difficult it is to describe. In deference to the designers, it’s best that you see it for yourself on the project’s website ( <P><P>Just a little to the north there are several British-based speed efforts that bear mention, particularly <I>Bootiful,</I> Andy Green and Tim Marriot’s answer to Cunningham’s&nbsp;dominance, and <I>Sailrocket,</I> the name that naval architect Malcolm Barnsley has given to his quest for speed supremacy. Green and Marriot’s project has been in the offing for over six years. It is, in essence, a length-equals-speed approach to the record as the designers have created a 60-foot, soft-sailed vessel that at first glance doesn’t look so radical. However, the genius behind this boat is that it uses windsurfing technology for steering. Instead of rudders, which the designers feel would introduce unnecessary drag, <I>Bootiful</I> has a mobile rig that can be moved forward or aft to adjust the heading of the vessel.</P><P><TABLE align=right border=0 cellPadding=0 cellSpacing=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=8></TD><TD align=left vAlign=top width=263><IMG height=245 src="" width=263><BR><DIV align=left class=captionheader><FONT color=#000000><B>The seemingly&nbsp;normal <EM>Bootiful </EM>is a twin-hulled, 60-foot speedster with windsurfer-like steering.</B></FONT></DIV></TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2 height=8></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>The following passage excerpted from the project’s website explains the concept: "Her two flat bottomed hulls will skim the surface of the water like windsurf boards while another radical aspect of the design is the absence of rudders. The aim is to cut as much weight and water resistance as possible, so Simon and his two crew will steer by moving the mast and sail sited on a X-shaped crossbeam, backwards and forwards along the two hulls. This will be done using pedal power." (For additional information see the details at <P><P>While Green and Marriot continue to experiment with their vessel, Barnsley and his <I>Sailrocket</I> cohorts have built a one-fifth-scale model of their single-tack craft and tested it, most recently attaining 16 knots of speed in 13 knots of wind. Barnsley, who reveals that his concept is based upon Bernard Smith’s elegantly simple design work laid out in the circa-‘60s book "The 40-knot Sailboat," claims that <I>Sailrocket’</I>s performance computations indicate a potential for 53 knots of speed in 22-knot winds. </P><P>In contrast to <I>YPE</I>, plans call for the rig on <I>Sailrocket</I> to be made of a more conventional soft sail that will be inclined to weather. Barnsley realizes that both these choices limit the rig’s efficiency in comparison, but he maintains that his vessel will be almost 150 pounds lighter than Cunningham’s, which he says should compensate for the performance loss. He also expects that the inclined rig will create lift, effectively carrying up to 40 percent of the 30-foot vessel’s weight. (For additional information and pictures on this project, log on to the <I>Sailrocket</I> website at</P><P>Of course there are numerous other speed seeking syndicates out there, each following their&nbsp;own path toward achieving blazing speed&nbsp;across the water. Someone, somewhere, will eventually harness the wind sufficiently well&nbsp;to exceed 50 knots. It will be a remarkable accomplishment, not only on its on merits, but also because it will give the rest of us touched by speed demons a little comfort. The next time your fellow sailors or crew accuse you of putting too much emphasis on boat speed, let ‘em know where you stand. In the world of speed-seeking fanatics, you’re barely under the influence. </P><P><TABLE align=center bgColor=#c4d7fc border=1 cellPadding=5 width=468><TBODY><TR><TD><A name=sidebar><P align=left><FONT color=#000000 face="Trebuchet MS, arial" size=+2><B>Setting The Record Straight</B></FONT></P><P></A>Official records in the world of speed sailing are broken down into classes by virtue of sail area. Simon McKeon and Tim Daddo set the outright speed record in October of 1993 aboard the famed <EM>Yellow Pages Endeavour</EM> in Sandy Point, Australia—46.52 knots—when the boat was configured as a C-Class vessel. The other existing records include: </P><P>&nbsp; <TABLE align=center border=1 borderColorDark=#000099 borderColorLight=#c4d7fc cellPadding=6 cellSpacing=1 width=399><TBODY><TR bgColor=#ffffff><TD width=162><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>10 square Meter Class</FONT></TD><TD align=middle width=121><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>Thierry Bielak</FONT></TD><TD align=middle width=65><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>45.34 knots</FONT></TD></TR><TR bgColor=#c4d7fc><TD width=162><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>10 square Meter Class (women)</FONT></TD><TD align=middle width=121><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>Babethe Coquelle</FONT></TD><TD align=middle width=65><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>40.05 knots</FONT></TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ffffff><TD width=162><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>A-Class (10-14 square meters)</FONT></TD><TD align=middle width=121><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>Russell Long, <I>Long Shot</I></FONT></TD><TD align=middle width=65><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>43.55 knots</FONT></TD></TR><TR bgColor=#c4d7fc><TD width=162><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>A-Class (women)</FONT></TD><TD align=middle width=121><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>Caroline Ducato</FONT></TD><TD align=middle width=65><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>17.81 knots</FONT></TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ffffff><TD width=162><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>B-Class (14-22 square meters)</FONT></TD><TD align=middle width=121><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>Simon McKeon, <I>YPE</I></FONT></TD><TD align=middle width=65><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>44.65 knots</FONT></TD></TR><TR bgColor=#c4d7fc><TD width=162><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>C-Class (22-28 square meters)</FONT></TD><TD align=middle width=121><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>Simon McKeon, <I>YPE</I></FONT></TD><TD align=middle width=65><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>46.52 knots</FONT></TD></TR><TR bgColor=#ffffff><TD width=162><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>C-Class (women) </FONT></TD><TD align=middle width=121><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>Jean Daddo</FONT></TD><TD align=middle width=65><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>17.38 knots</FONT></TD></TR><TR bgColor=#c4d7fc><TD width=162><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>D-Class (over 28 square meters)</FONT></TD><TD align=middle width=121><P><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>Navarin/Columbo</FONT></P><P><EM>Vecteur Vitesse</EM></P></TD><TD align=middle width=65><FONT face="Trebuchet MS" size=2>42.12 knots </FONT></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></P><P>On land, the current speed-sailing record—116.7 mph—is held by Bob Schumacher and Bob Dill aboard <EM>Iron Duck</EM>, a 39-foot, fixed-wing, slewed landsailer. The record on ice allegedly stands at 145 mph, though that remains unconfirmed. </P><P></TABLE><BR><BR></P></TD></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><P><STRONG><HR align=center width="75%"><P></P><P></STRONG><STRONG>Suggested Reading:</STRONG> <P><STRONG><A class=articlelink href=""><STRONG>Vendee Globe Speed Machines</STRONG></A>&nbsp;</STRONG><STRONG>by Brian Hancock</STRONG> <P><STRONG><STRONG><A class=articlelink href="">Iceboating 101—the Need for Speed</A></STRONG>&nbsp;by Bruce Caldwell</STRONG> <P><STRONG><STRONG><A class=articlelink href="">Sizing up the Competition for The Race</A></STRONG>&nbsp;by Pete Melvin</STRONG> <P><P><STRONG>Buying Guide: <A class=articlelink href="">Spinnaker Poles</A></STRONG></P></HTML>

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