Friday, May 11, 2007

50 Knots

In 1993, an Australian team, with their yacht "Yellow Pages Endeavour", broke the World Sailing Speed Record. The new mark was set at 46.52 knots (86.52 km/h) in only 19 - 20 knots of wind. The World Sailing Speed Record is governed by a body of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). Claiming a world record requires the sailing craft to average the highest speed over a 500m course.

The initial design concept was brought to the team by its designer Lindsay Cunningham. The team was between defences of the Little America's Cup in International C Class catamarans (the fastest course racing yachts in the world) and Lindsay's proposal sparked the interest in making an attempt at the World Sailing Speed Record.

After setting the World Record, the Yellow Pages team decided to continue to push the limits of speed sailing. A new craft, "Macquarie Innovation" was designed and constructed in an attempt to be the first ever to break the 50 knot barrier.

Based on the same concept as "Yellow Pages Endeavour", Macquarie Innovation is the culmination of all the design lessons learnt from the Yellow Pages campaign as well as some new ideas. The total concept has been extensively tested both in computer simulations as well as in a flow tank at the Australian Maritime Engineering facility in Tasmania and the design team are confident that the 50 knot target is achievable.

Full scale testing has been performed at Sandy Point with some stunning results with peak speeds recorded in excess of 47 knots. The team believes strongly that it is just a matter of time before the world record is returned to Australian shores and that they will have the very significant honour of being the first sailing craft in the world to surpass 50 knots.

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