Almost every week on the news you hear of some "sail machine" breaking the sailing speed record. Macquarie Innovations broke the record this week with a top speed of 54.23 kn0ts (100km/h) and an average of 50.43knots in a 500m stretch of water at Sandy Point.
Can one call this sailing? What happened to the Sailor, canvas sails and the art of sailing. These boats don't resemble a sailboat. It looks more like something out of a Mad Max film or Kevin Costner's career sinker, Water World. Now don't get me wrong, I am all for new inventions, better technology and breaking records. But where do one draw the line.
How can one put these "Sail machines" in the same class as a sailboat? They are all about aerodynamics, the latest technology and lightest materials. Just build to go down a straight line in order to get a break a record. No more is the man, the artist, a factor only the machine.
In this pursuit what happened to looking at tell tales, trimming the sheet on your mail and flying the spinnaker in the most effective way? What happened to outsmarting your opponent by just catching a header before the rest of the fleet?
Why would one like to scream down a line in a machine build to go straight when you can outsmart and out run your opponent around the cans in a race. Is it all the fault of the big corporations trying to beat their foe with there latest technology? Maybe it is the humans nature to be competitive, no matter what art form they destroy.
Call me old fashioned or not, but I still believe in the Art of sailing where man is still major factor.