I’ve seen it kicking around online for a few years now: Russian designer Vlad Murnikov’s quest to build the fastest monohull on the planet. Usually any mention was accompanied by a cool looking drawing, but not much else. SpeedDream, as the project was called, seemed like just that: a dream.
Now I am starting to wonder. Murnikov, who drew up Fasizi, the first Russian Volvo entry, is not a designer bound by convention, and he has hooked up with speed-loving Cam Lewis, and sailor and author Brian Hancock. His vision was enough to intrigue the BBC, which put SpeedDream in pretty good breakthrough company with L’Hydroptere DCNS and Sailrocket.
The notable difference was that L’Hydroptere DCNS and Sailrocket were actual boats, and SpeedDream was still all paper and CAD drawings. But now the SpeedDream team, with the help of sponsorship from Yandex, a Russian search engine, has managed to build a 27-foot prototype.
According to Hancock, who is serving as the SpeedDream creative and marketing director, “This prototype that we have built is really to test three things: the extreme (flying) keel, the true wave piercing bow, and the athwartship step in the hull. The main idea really is to build a boat that is efficient with low drag rather than just piling on power.”
You can read more about these key design features here and in SW‘s Nov/Dec issue. And here are two videos of the boat sailing:
Okay, so there is a pretty fun-looking 27-footer out there, and the real dream has inched that much closer to reality. So what does the SpeedDream team dream about in terms of records? Some of the ambitions, with talk of 50-plus knot speeds, 40-45 knot averages, taking the Jules Record back from the multihulls, and 1000-mile 24-hour runs seem a little nuts. “The big targets will be transatlantic, 24-hour run, and around-the-world,” Hancock says. “But of course that’s quite a ways off.”
Count me as skeptical that a monohull will ever really threaten the multihulls when it comes to speed records, and the speed sailing Triple Crown. But Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) are always more interesting than pragmatic ones. And every once in a while someone pulls off a BHAG, and our sense of what is possible changes a little bit. So SpeedDream has my attention. And even if they simply produce a super-fast, record-setting, monohull that alone will be worth tracking. You can follow SpeedDream’s progress through the SpeedDream blog or via the SpeedDream Facebook page.