Akzo Nobel

Awlgrip is a registered trodêmark of Alao Nobel

the helm, as they almost invariably exhibit a leisurely reaction time to rudder inputs.

Once launched on our course in the middle of a fleet of some of the loveliest creations to grace salt water, I reflected on yacht design and technology. It's too easy, in our world of carbon, Kevlar, and Mylar to dismiss these gaff-rigged sloops as obsolete. What's fascinating is how highly sophisticated they were, and how many of the advances in technology and design are owed to the development of new materials. Triple-head rigs existed for the self-evident reason that no wooden topmast and bowsprit could have withstood the stresses of a single large headsail, which could not have been built anyway, since Egyptian cotton, the sail cloth of choice 80 years ago, would not have been strong enough.

There's no shortage of sail on these craft: a typical gaff-rigged cutter could spread 3,500 square feet of sail (main, club topsail, forestaysail, jib, and jib topsail) on a

The foredeck crew on the 1914 William Fife design Sumurun keeps an eye on Trumpeter (at left) and another boat during a starting sequence.

wireless is more.

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