EX­CIT­ING PROGRESS

Yachting World - - Front Page - Elaine Bunt­ing Ed­i­tor

It is al­ways fas­ci­nat­ing to look back over the decades at how much yacht de­signs and sail­ing styles have change. Few sports have evolved quite so much, or look so di­verse. Ideas unimag­in­able a gen­er­a­tion ago have been tried, tested and of­ten su­per­seded. To take just three ex­am­ples, con­sider the wing keel that Aus­tralia II used in the 1983 Amer­ica’s Cup, the free­stand­ing rigs of Mal­tese Fal­con and the high speeds and sta­dium rac­ing of the Ex­treme 40s.

When you con­sider of all the changes in yacht de­sign, the range of in­ge­nu­ity is stag­ger­ing. Our fea­ture on 50 yachts that have changed sail­ing (page 20) high­lights this. Be­sides these are im­prove­ments to gear, from sail­cloth, ropes, furlers and pow­ered winches to com­plex elec­tron­ics, which have driven the speed of sail­ing to new lev­els and made cruising runs of 250 miles a day, or more, com­mon­place.

A small but telling sign of the times that struck me aboard the new X-yachts X6 (On test, on page 63) is a but­ton within fin­ger’s reach of the wheel marked ‘Code 0 in’. To think of de­ploy­ing such a pow­er­ful sail with no more ef­fort than wak­ing up an iphone is re­mark­able, and such sys­tems are now quite re­li­able. This is chang­ing the size of boats that peo­ple can sail. And the pace of change, with foils com­ing into use on dis­place­ment yachts is, if any­thing, ac­cel­er­at­ing.

Ex­cit­ing times. Twit­ter @elaineb­unting Sir Robin Knox-john­ston has just re­launched Suhaili af­ter a three-year re­fit. The his­toric dou­ble-en­der, which Sir Robin raced round the world 48 years ago, is said to be back to full glory

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