Speedweek '97

Portland Harbour, Dorset
27 September-3 October, 1997

Here are the boats which ran this year and recent years past, at Portland:

Comments are by Robert Downhill and Dave Culp


The "Bristol mob" brought Gamma out of retirement sporting both its wing and on another occasion a windsurfer sail and got a speed of 9.14 knots. This shows the advantage of long thin hulls in light winds and calm water.
Designed originally by Adrian Thompson for Peter Gardiner, in 1983 she attained a speed of 24.58 kt in 1983. In 1984, Gamma was awarded a design prize. Gama has become somewhat of a perennial entry at SpeedWeek. Here's a photo of Gamma, in her original "Pacemaker" rig.

Green Machine

A group of French students led by Malric Leborgne from Southampton Institute built and raced this wingmasted planing triscaph, inspired by "Yellow Pages Endeavour,"in 1996. Somewhat smaller, and painted green, she is known as "Green Pages," or the "Green Machine."

Exoplane 5

Didier Costes of Paris designed "Exoplane 5", a fully balanced inclined rig one-way proa. The angled sail generates lift to provide stability. A curved hydrofoil is used to resist leeway.
This is the fifth is a series of Exoplanes, dating back to the late 1970's. Typically assisted by students, Didier has steadily improved this series of boats, originally inspired by Bernard Smith's 1964 book, "The 40-Knot Sailboat."
Didier was unable to make this year's Speedweek, but he did prepare a paper fpr presentation at the Week's Midweek design seminar.

M Demartres

Sailboards have a long history at Portland. The best speed of the week was by a windsurfer M Demartres with sails from Gunn who achieved a remarkable speed of 19.65 knots.
I think he got the only major gusts during the week and is proof that if you want to win you have to be out there all the time. When the course was open sail number 974 was there and in consequence he walked away with most of the tankards which were presented daily for fastest of each day. I asked him why he could sail all the timewhere others found it difficult to get going. He said his board was light with a large wetted area and a large sail thus giving him an advantage at low speeds.

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