C class catamaran, Lady Helmsman

Lady_H_sailing_175-0x350The catamaran Lady Helmsman was a revolutionary high speed sailing craft, capable of reaching speeds of up to 30 knots. She was one of the first boats to be fitted with a very broad mast, known as a wing mast and could sail at 9 knots under mast alone.

Unlike a traditional mast, the wing mast is an aerofoil shape working as part of the sail. It increases the sail’s surface area, improves its shape and the vessel’s speed. Lady Helmsman was also one of the earliest boats to use modern construction techniques such as cellular foam and plywood, which helped to make the boat extremely light.

The word catamaran comes from the Tamil words katta (to tie) and maram (log). Such vessels are common in Polynesia and Hawaii, but weren’t commonly used for racing until after World War II.

Built 1966, by Reg White, Sailcraft. Designer: Rod MacAlpine Downie. Dimensions: Length 7.67m Beam 4.26m