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Nobel Prize for Yacht Design

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Nobel Prize for Yacht Design


My Dear Chap;

It is a little known fact that many a great yacht was conceived in a dim backroom with a designer probing the carcass of some sea-going mammal for secrets of streamline hull form – and not just the little ones. Before political correctness it not only made good sense but was tantamount to professional negligence if you didn’t. (And don’t think the Wright Bros didn’t ‘specimen’ the odd Albatross in search of the ‘great mystery of flight’)

So it is no accident that the graceful run aft of the old America’s Cup yachts bore a striking similarity to the rear section of the mighty Blue Whale and indeed there was hot debate when the Aussies won the Cup back in ’83, if they hadn’t ‘bucked convention’ and gone for the slightly fuller proportions of the Minke when it was discovered the winged keel was an exact copy of the smaller leviathan’s tail flukes.

You see, the Blue Whale has a higher top speed than the Minke, but as any designer worth their salt knows, there’s no point having a hull shape that’s efficient at a speed the vessel never, or rarely reaches. Yes, in these ‘whale worshiping times’ yacht design has as awkward a past as those nations built on the toil of slaves – although it seems your lot have come full circle on that one.

But where did it all begin? Where did yacht design and ‘fishing’ first collide?