In 1954 the Olin Stephens designed yacht Finisterre was launched, to late for the Bermuda race that year. She was a 38 foot centerboarder and there is no more accomplished racing yacht. She ranks as one of the most significant yachts in the history of the sport.
In 1994, at the age of 49, Jim Clark, owing to a company called Silicon Graphics, was one of the legends of the high-tech world. Now, 20 years later, he has become a legend in sailing (see Sailing World 28 October 2014.)
The notion of designing a vessel from a luxurious interior out doesn’t sit well with me, but this is likely the situation with most new sailboats today. In aircraft builds an approach called Lean is followed. This means that base functionality is engineered first before creature features (features that are intended to get a customer to buy).
During the last 10 years, sailing technology in the Americas has made its greatest advancement since 1900. The US national park service provided some valuable insights in presentations made during the AC34.
Evolution then Revolution
Prior or to 2,000, multiple generations of family members slowly evolved fixed foil on center-line designs, moving the builds from wood, mettle, and cotton into carbon fiber, and moving ballast from the bilge to keel foils.
Joshua Slocum was from Nova Scotia, Canada. He owned several ships as well as commanding many others. After loosing one of his ships, the Aquidneck, on a sandbank in Brazil, he and his family sailed the Liberdade, a canoe of about 35 foot, from the site of the grounding to Washington DC USA, his new home.
I’m occasionally asked if I miss the larger, deep draft sailboat. The answer is always no. That type of craft now seems to me like a helpless one-legged seabird soaring above the surface of the sea, never able to safely land or seek shelter.
Twin keels become more effective with increased angle of heel, while a single keel becomes less effective.
“No other nation has put so much faith in bilge (or twin) keels as the British. Other countries have flirted with them, but we became so enamored with the concept that they were the first choice for anything less than about 36 feet.”
According to Sailing Today, September 2000 page 83, Van de Stadt’s Dehler 25 sloop bested MacGregor Yachts by a year or so in the use of water ballast. The German Dehler 25s were produced from 1984 to 1991 and water ballast was reported in the US to be used for trailering reasons and cost savings.