Welcome to SpeedDream, a quest to build the world’s fastest sailboat. This (occasional) blog will be about all things speed, records and offshore sailing. The blog is written by Brian Hancock, author of seven books, a multiple circumnavigator and SpeedDream‘s Creative and Media Director.
It’s been a big week for the SpeedDream Team as they continue to test and refine the concept in advance of sailing the boat. Like a house where the walls and floors go up quick and it’s the interior detail that takes time, the final stages of building SpeedDream have been slow, but necessary, as the team works through all the different details that have gone into the breakthrough design. Finally, after eight months of construction the bright red keel finally made contact with cold Maine water as SpeedDream27 was officially launched.
Tatiana Murnikov, wife of Lead Designer and project coordinator Vlad Murnikov, did the honors with a traditional bottle of champagne. Instead of cracking it against the razor sharp, wave-piercing bow, it was decided to use the solid bulk of the lead bulb as a place to smash the bottle and with one swift crack SpeedDream27 was officially named and launched. The boat was lowered into the water and settled quickly onto its designed lines.
Earlier in the week SpeedDream27 was fully rigged with all sails hoisted and all the lines, sheets and deck hardware put through their paces. There is an elegant simplicity to the entire layout that will allow the crew to manage the boat at high speeds and in a very wet and fast moving environment. The intricate keel canting mechanism was fully tested in a dry run without the keel attached, and it went off without a hitch. The mechanism is push button controlled from the helmsmans station and allows minor adjustments to the keel angle as well as a single button push for a complete side-to-side cant through a tack or gybe.
With the christening and dry sailing completed, the next phase is a series of in-water tests that will place increasing loads on the keel mechanism and the rest of the boat. This critical area of the overall SpeedDream design is truly revolutionary and while in theory and in dry sailing it has performed as designed and engineered, there will be a need for refinement over the next couple of weeks.
With the leaves changing in Maine and crisp, cool fall breezes blowing, it’s tempting to cut the lines and leave the dock for a sail, but despite the temptation these next few weeks will be slow and steady, with careful step-by-step analysis before the maiden sail.
Follow SpeedDream‘s progress at speeddreamblog.blogspot.com/