Dashews test ‘unsailboat’ prototype

Renowned circumnavigators Steve and Linda Dashew’s latest project, a knife-like voyaging powerboat, underwent sea trials off New Zealand recently. The 83-foot vessel, which resembles a cross between a light-displacement Dashew sailboat and a Coast Guard surfboat, manages to cruise at 12.5 knots with its pair of 150-hp John Deere engines.

“We’re doing 13.5 at full load and have had a chance to test the boat in 35 to 50 knots of breeze and steep seas,” Steve Dashew reported by email from New Zealand in May. “Hard to believe, but we are more comfortable in adverse sea states than [in] any of our sailboats.” The paradoxically named Wind Horse – the “unsailboat,” as they call it – has a 6,000-mile range at 12 knots and has a foil-stabilized hull. The Dashews hope to explore certain areas of the globe – Tierra del Fuego, Iceland, Alaska – that are harder to reach in close detail by large sailboat. The vessel was built by Kelly Archer Boatbuilders in Auckland, New Zealand.

Full details of the design process and sea trials are at the couple’s website, www.setsail.com.

By Ocean Navigator