She was a bear to sail…

Coming across some great sailing shots recently, I remembered a stir caused around the Great Lakes about 30 years ago. Tim Coleman, a Brit, of the mustard fortune, brought what I remember as an amazing boat to attempt to set the world speed record on water.

I never saw it in action, but I remember descriptions of a trimaran hull. The innovation in its design was that the two outboard pods rode on a beam that was not fixed. That is, as the boat tacked, the beam would slide across the deck of the center hull. Members of the crew, riding in the outboard hulls as ballast, described the fright, as well as the thrill of being suddenly thrust into into the air as the boat changed course or the wind shifted.

The boat was a big one, called Slingshot. Imagine the experience–

slingshot

The crew consisted of helmsman, jib sheet tender, and two mainsheet tenders; grinder and tailer. She was a bear to sail for many reasons, and it was not uncommon for her winch grinders to be hauling away, right through the speed course…It was virtually a signature of these big Macalpine-Downie boats that they threw hardly any spray, and never looked like they were trying very hard. (from Big Boat Speedsailing)

These images of sailing on a different scale are wonderful. 

s12_16516059

(Thanks to the always delightful Coudal Partners.)

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