Large cats and tris are now capable of bursts of speed in excess of 40 knots. Take the recent race around the world on large cats like PlayStation, Club Med and Team Adventure, in which the boats routinely averaged 30 knots of speed and were capable of churning out 500-mile days. The so-called Holy Grail of speed sailing is now 50 knots, and a team of Australians (who else?) is poised to break that record this week.
In a flimsy craft called Macquarie Innovation, the three Aussies, helmsman Simon McKeon, trimmer Tim Daddo and designer Lindsay Cunningham, have set up shop in a sheltered lagoon southeast of Melbourne. They will attempt to sail 50 knots over a 500-yard stretch of water. They already hold the record at 46 knots in a 1993 run on a boat, also a design of Cunningham's, called Yellow Pages Endeavour.
The vessel requires some 15 knots of wind to make the record attempt. More next week on the progress of Macquarie Innovation.