Superyachts Will Fly Across the Water

Cowes Week is the home to the sailing sailing world and again this year, hosted a fringe event with the reappearance of the very exciting Extreme Racing Series.

As invited guests of Oman Sail we were privileged to witness this fast, exhilarating, spectator sport that offers the shoreside viewer the opportunity to witness race sailing without the need to board a boat or charter a helicopter.

A recent addition to the sailing scene, Extreme Sailing is a commercially run sail boat racing series, now in its 4th year.  It uses its own custom designed, 40ft, high-speed, racing catamarans and has written the own rulebook to make it a very user friendly form of racing.  It even allows sponsors to participate carrying a fifth man on top of the boats four man crew.

Instead of spending hours sailing around elongated courses well offshore, Extreme 40’s race race laps around a short easy to see course in races that last less than 20 minutes each.  With up to 8 in any one day, they are deliberately run close in shore so spectators can watch and cheer.

Described as a sport, it is both a show, and a VIP experience with the whole event organised as an integrated sports, media and corporate hospitality package.

But why do we, as superyacht journalists, think this is such a good idea?  the reasoning is, we think, rather simple.  Rather like Formula 1 car racing where innovations made for the race track eventually filter their way to the road driven car so to, will these ultra light yachts make an impact on sailing.

One such pointer to this was, the very discreet viewing we, as yachting journalists, were given when we witnessed the demonstration of Daddy Longlegs the prototype of the C-Fly a yacht designed to fly across the water on hydrofoils.

This clever little boat, kept secret until just now, is the brainchild of Chris Edwards and others, who have come up with a working yacht that can rise up onto its fully retractable foils and achieve speeds of 15 knots across the water in just 12 knots of wind.  In rougher water the foils retract and the boat handles conventionally as a displacement yacht.

Transfer that technology to superyachts, as you will be able to in years to come, and you have cracked it.  How to build the ultimate in Green Superyachts!

One comment

  1. It’s great to see that the Extreme 40s seem to have really got it together to create a race series as a spectator sport and TV friendly event. It’s been a long time coming and it should do a lot for sailing generally. There was some great 0n-line video coverage (especially of THAT crash), and the growing popularity of online viewing should help things along nicely (no need to wait for the BBC nowadays!).
    Let’s also hope the America’s Cup organisers manage to get themselves back on track and re-gain the momentum they had at Valencia in 2007. It looks like Ben Ainslie has the potential to take Team Origin all the way.
    With all of this, we might be seeing more people choose a superyacht that’s also a piece of sports equipment, rather than a mobile home with an engine on the back!

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