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The marriage of sailboat and submarine

Jan 7, 2010 In the 1989-90 Whitbread around the world race, a Russian monohull named Fazisi did surprisingly well considering the limited experience its Russian team had with a global sprint. Fazisi had a low freeboard and was reportedly a wet ride as it was more likely to pierce through waves than go over them. Now a yacht designer associated with Fazisi named Vlad Murnikov is heading a team to build a boat that could make Fazisi look positively dry. Murnikov's proposed 100-foot, 18-ton monohull design called SpeedDream will be part sailboat and part submarine as it takes a low freeboard wave-piercing boat to a new level. According to Murnikov, SpeedDream will be capable of speeds of 50 knots and just might record 1,000 miles in a single day. Imagine the sight, SpeedDream zipping by at 50 knots. Now that's a rooster tail.    

From the press release: In 2008 world-renowned adventurer Richard Branson tried to break the current  transatlantic monohull sailing record of 6 days, 17 hours, 52 minutes, 39 seconds  on his 100-foot Super-Maxi yacht Virgin Money, but had to abandon his attempt when  the boat started to break apart in the middle of the ocean.

So, is it possible to beat what Branson calls "one of the greatest records of all."  Can a sailboat reach speeds in excess of 50 knots in stormy open-ocean conditions?  Is it possible to cover 1,000 miles in a single day under wind power alone? Can the  performance gap between offshore monohulls and multihulls be bridged?

Radical boat designer Vlad Murnikov believes the answer to all of these questions is  yes and is assembling a new international team of designers, engineers,  adventurers, and sponsors to prove it. "The SpeedDream Team," says Murnikov, "will comprise specialists with diverse expertise in offshore racing yachts like Volvo  70 and Open 60, multihull and powerboat design, hydrodynamics, structural  engineering, and advanced composites."

The team's two-year quest is to build the fastest monohull sailboat on the planet. "Not simply to beat the existing transatlantic record," Murnikov says, "but to  shatter it by more than a day! And then we'll go on to challenge other world  records like the transpacific and nonstop circumnavigation records."

Murnikov is certain that, with the right crew and weather conditions, his boat will  cross the Atlantic in record time reaching top speeds in excess of 50 knots. "With  sustained speeds averaging 40-45 knots, SpeedDream will certainly break the 24-hour monohull speed record and could conceivably break the 1,000-miles-in-a-day  barrier. No other sailboat has ever come close to this before," he says.

Murnikov was designer and project leader of FAZISI, Russia's first-ever entry in the Whitbread Round the World Race, the premier oceanic sailing competition in the  world, now known as the Volvo Ocean Race. In the 1989-90 Whitbread Race, not only did the remarkable FAZISI with its crew of novice sailors, overcome impossible  odds to place 11th in a field of 23, it posted the next-to-longest 24-hour run  racking up a then-incredible 386 miles in a single day.

Murnikov says his unique SpeedDream concept improves upon the once-  revolutionary FAZISI blueprint and advances the scientific art of boat design into  uncharted territory. Taking full benefit of cutting-edge ideas, materials, and  technologies, his finished boat will feature an extremely light 100 feet long hull  weighting only 18 tons. It's slender triangular shape with super-sharp wave- piercing bow will possess extremely low water resistance and will cut through waves  without pitching, slamming, or slowing. Awesomely high speed will result from  efficiency, not just raw power. A canting keel on an 18-foot strut and specially  designed hydrofoils will provide ample stability to carry a generous sail plan on a  120-foot carbon fiber mast. Since, at fast speeds, the deck will submerge  frequently, it will be sculptured to shed water quickly, reduce resistance, and  provide sufficient protection for the crew.

Other aspects of the SpeedDream project are as innovative as the boat's design.  Novel TV coverage is envisioned to maximize sponsor exposure and marketing  return on investment. Equally original will be SpeedDream's approach to crew  selection and training, ensuring that the best international sailing talent will be on  board to unleash the craft's ultimate potential.

For more information, please review the attached SpeedDream project presentation  or contact Vlad Murnikov directly at vmurnikov@verizon.net (For confidentiality  reasons, images of the boat used in the presentation are not actual design  renderings but only illustrations providing a fairly accurate representation of the SpeedDream design concept.)