Hy­dro­foil en­thu­si­asts will de­scend upon Bad­deck next sum­mer for a big cel­e­bra­tion

Casey Bald­win's grand­son plan­ning fes­ti­val for 100th an­niver­sary of HD-4 ma­rine record

The Victoria Standard - - Front Page - AN­DREW BROOKS

If you know Bad­deck at all, you likely know the story of the clas­sic HD-4 hy­dro­foil that skimmed across the Bras d’or lake on Sept. 9, 1919 to set a world ma­rine speed record. That ex­per­i­men­tal ves­sel was the brain­child of Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell and En­gi­neer/pi­lot Fred­er­ick W. "Casey" Bald­win.

Nearly one hun­dred years later Sean Bald­win, grand­son of Casey, has formed ‘Foil Bad­deck’ to or­ga­nize a 2019 sum­mer fes­ti­val in hon­our of the cen­te­nary of that mo­men­tous achieve­ment. Eileen Wood­ford will co-chair the com­mit­tee.

“The tech­nol­ogy peaked around 1970, mostly with mil­i­tary, ship­ping and fer­ries. That’s all fallen. But it’s re­ally come to the sur­face again with sail­ing. A lot of dif­fer­ent classes of sail craft have come out now and there’s re­newed in­ter­est in hu­man-pow­ered hy­dro­foils – like bi­cy­cle and pad­dling types,” said Bald­win at a May 9 pre­sen­ta­tion to the Vil­lage of Bad­deck Com­mis­sion.

Ac­cord­ing to Bald­win and Wood­ford, there will be events through­out the sum­mer. The fo­cal point will be “Foil­ing Week” (Aug 11-17, 2019) – a re­gatta and sym­po­sium of sail­ing hy­dro­foil tech­nol­ogy held in four lo­ca­tions around the world each year. This is the first time the event has ever come to Canada and the first time it has been held in such a re­mote area.

Bald­win at­tended a Foil­ing Week event in Mi­ami last year. Al­though it was small, he says it was well or­ga­nized and gave him a sense of what is pos­si­ble for next year. He and Wood­ford are cur­rently set­ting up a se­ries of events that will be of in­ter­est to lo­cals and vis­i­tors alike.

“I think it will be great for the vil­lage, it will bring in a lot of peo­ple from other parts of the world. Sail­ing en­thu­si­asts should make the har­bour quite a spec­ta­cle at times,” said Bald­win.

The In­ter­na­tional Hy­dro­foil So­ci­ety held their an­nual con­fer­ence in In­go­nish in 1984. Their 40th an­niver­sary is 2020, but the group has de­cided to move their cel­e­bra­tions up a year and mark the oc­ca­sion in Bad­deck.

A replica of the HD-4, along with the bro­ken re­mains of the orig­i­nal, sit in the Wa­ter Hall of the Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell Na­tional His­toric Site. Sean Bald­win was part of a team who built the replica in the 1980’s. Site vis­i­tors of­ten ask why the orig­i­nal was aban­doned along the shore and al­lowed to de­cay.

“It was an ex­per­i­ment, so it wasn’t built to last,” ex­plains Bald­win. “They tried to get the mil­i­tary in­ter­ested in it as a sub­ma­rine chaser, but that never came to fruition. They didn't have any fu­ture use for it, so they pulled it up on the beach and just let it go.”

Bald­win never had the op­por­tu­nity to meet his grand­fa­ther, but his work and ac­com­plish­ments have long been a part of his life.

“I lived in his house with my grand­mother and it was full of mod­els and im­ages and ar­ti­facts and pa­pers and doc­u­ments and blue­prints. I was to­tally im­mersed in all of that. I used to play in the HD-4 [on the beach] when I was five years old.”

Back to present day, Bald­win is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in seeing small sail­ing hy­dro­foil crafts ap­pear next year, such as the ‘Foil­ing UFO’ sail­boat made by Rhode Is­land-based Ful­crum Speed­works.

“To me, that's the kind of craft that will get kids in­ter­ested. We can get kids in­ter­ested in some­thing like that if we hang out a car­rot and say, ‘If you go through the sail­ing pro­gram, on the op­tis and the prams, you can get into one of these.”

Those in­ter­ested in help­ing the plan­ning com­mit­tee should con­tact Sean Bald­win, sbald­win@mcm2001.ca.

Sail­ing ves­sels like this 'Foil­ing UFO' will be part of a hy­dro­foil fes­ti­val set to take place in Bad­deck next year to cel­e­brate the cen­te­nary of the HD-4 world ma­rine speed record. Photo courtesy of Ful­crum Speed­works.

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