Please select your home edition
Edition
September 2022

The other types of sailing

by Mark Jardine 12 Dec 2022 19:00 GMT
Emirates Team New Zealand's wind powered land speed world record attempt at South Australia's Lake Gairdner - December 11, 2022 © Emirates Team New Zealand/James Somerset

Look on Wikipedia and the opening paragraph for Sailing's entry is, "Sailing employs the wind - acting on sails, wingsails or kites - to propel a craft on the surface of the water (sailing ship, sailboat, windsurfer, or kitesurfer), on ice (iceboat) or on land (land yacht) over a chosen course, which is often part of a larger plan of navigation."

Sailing isn't defined by the boat or craft, but by the physics of deriving power from the wind, and as this has become more and more efficient, it has been possible to sail faster and faster.

While Emirates Team New Zealand's main focus is on defending the America's Cup, they have a little side-project going to break the land speed record. When it's not been raining, Glenn Ashby has piloted 'Horonuku' on South Australia's Lake Gairdner, a large endorheic salt lake, and on Sunday he achieved the goal, recording 222.4 kilometres per hour (that's 138.2mph or 120 knots) in just 22 knots of wind.

This is a marked improvement over the 202.9km/h recorded by Richard Jenkins on 26th March 2009 in Ecotricity Greenbird on Lake Ivanpah, California, USA.

Some may see this as a distraction from the America's Cup but Emirates Team New Zealand Principal, Matteo de Nora, sees things differently: "The land speed project has been a new opportunity to push the boundaries in aerodynamics, structural forces, construction methods and materials fields. What is often underestimated is that the technologies we explore in challenges like this - or in an America's Cup campaign - are ultimately the foundation of tomorrow's technology. Being ahead of the times in technology is what fascinates us about all the challenges faced by the team so far."

The team aren't done yet, and aim to push the record even further, most likely in early 2023. Maybe they're trying to target the record claimed by an ice yacht of 143mph on Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin, way back in 1938, but there are some doubts about that speed and how it was recorded.

Many moons ago, in Southampton, a group of friends and I invented a radio-controlled land yacht class, which we eventually turned into a one-design called the 1DL. We had some great fun racing them in the late 90s and early 2000s in car parks, using traffic cones as marks, and even revived them recently for an event. The retail boom signalled the end of regular racing, as the car parks started to get filled with cars, but maybe we can get them back out in the downturn and as shopping continues to move online.

Back on to the water, the Bembridge Illusions held their 40th Anniversary Regatta over the weekend. For those who don't know the class, it's a sit-in 12ft keelboat designed by Olympic bronze medallist Jo Richards. It's a bit like a 2.4m, as used in the Paralympics until 2016, but also has a spinnaker.

It was a bitterly cold weekend in the UK, but 23 hardy sailors still went out to enjoy the racing, which continues throughout the winter on the Isle of Wight. Being so close to the water there really is no place to hide when the bow hits a wave!

All this goes to show, once again, how diverse sailing can be. Fast, slow, ancient or modern, on land, on ice, on sea, or above the sea, you can be powered by the wind in many ways.

With foiling boats, the boundaries are blurred between surface-borne craft and flight, leading to the question, 'is gliding sailing?' After all, another word for a glider is a sailplane, they use naturally occurring currents of rising air, and they share many similarities with modern sailcraft in both wing and foil shape.

In the same way, kitefoilers are also similar to paragliders and, as you can see below, they're certainly not afraid of getting some airtime. Maybe sailing is a bigger pastime than we thought?

At the end of the day definitions are just what is meant by a word. As long as we're out enjoying the wind and the world around us, who really cares what the actual definition of sailing is? The great thing is that there are so many ways we can enjoy it.

Mark Jardine
Sail-World.com and YachtsandYachting.com Managing Editor

Related Articles

New Allen blocks at boot Düsseldorf 2023
We speak to Ben Harden about the latest in the range, including the mighty TiiTAN We speak to Ben Harden at boot Düsseldorf 2023 about the new products from Allen, including the redesigned 40mm range, the deck organiser range, the High Roller block range, and the mighty TiiTAN. Posted on 31 Jan
All vessels great and small
January is a great time 'Down Under': Loads of annual regattas for coveted titles January is such a great time 'Down Under': A load of annual regattas for coveted Australian Championships, with many very much steeped in a grand history, and often a World title or two are in there, as well. Posted on 29 Jan
First look at boot: Peacoq foiling doublehander
Video interview with Patrick Billot, the CEO and Founer of Foily Mark Jardine, Managing Editor of Sail-World.com and YachtsandYachting.com, talks to Patrick Billot, the CEO and Founer of Foily, about the foiling Peacoq dinghy at boot Düsseldorf 2023. Posted on 26 Jan
First look at boot: The Tiwal 3R
We speak to Emmanuel Bertrand about the revolutionary inflatable dinghy Inflatables and their use in watersports have come a long way, with inflatable stand up paddle boards and canoes now commonplace. The rigidity though for a performance dinghy has though been a challenge, but the Tiwal 3R addresses that. Posted on 26 Jan
What have we learned from The Ocean Race Leg 1?
How the latest generation of IMOCAs stack up against each other As I outlined a fortnight ago, I was concerned about The Ocean Race, and whether - 50 years on from the first Whitbread - a fully crewed, multi-stopover round the world race in the latest cutting-edge foiling machines was relevant. Posted on 23 Jan
“Could have. Might have…
…but second still feels pretty good. Epic Hobart.” So read my message from Lee Condell. ...but second still feels pretty good. Epic Hobart.” This was the message Lee Condell sent me after he and Lincoln Dews arrived aboard Sun Fast Racing. Posted on 15 Jan
The changing face of offshore racing
Is it a battle of technology, or just an adventure that we're craving? Sunday saw the opening battles of The Ocean Race, with both the IMOCA and VO65 fleets taking part in the Alicante In-Port Race. It was a testing day on the water with the wind dropping to almost nothing towards the finish. Posted on 9 Jan
Metaphors run thick and deep
The 2022 Sydney Hobart did many things Now you might think you show up with a well-prepared boat, great crew, some provisions, point South, and it all happens. The 2022 Sydney Hobart did many things, but the greatest, and most distinct element is that the plan that remains omnipotent. Posted on 1 Jan
A Sure Thing
Following the Sydney Hobart has become rather an obsession Following the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race straight after the festivities of Christmas Day has become rather an obsession. Being in the UK, the start is not at a social time, and requires dedication to get up for, but in my book it's worth it. Posted on 26 Dec 2022
For when inclusion is not just a byword
There is no doubt that this is my overarching sentiment regarding andoo Comanche There is no doubt that this is my overarching sentiment regarding andoo Comanche. From back on August 1 with Beginning a Winning to now, I have been afforded all that I could want. Posted on 18 Dec 2022