WestlawnMasthead27_Sept2013H.pub - page 8

The Masthead
A Brief History of Sailing Multihulls
work against each other. If we in-
crease the power to get more speed
we must increase the stability of the
hull correspondingly. An increased
hull has more resistance, both from
sectional area and surface friction.
So what we would gain one way we
must lose in the other.
Well, a boat must have width, and
the wider she is, generally speaking,
the more stable she will be. But a
wide boat cannot have great speed,
however much power you will apply
to her. So the next thing that is to
be done is to decrease the sectional
area and, in a measure, retain sta-
bility; the boat would have power to
lift at a distance each side of the
keel, where it would do great work.
I kept on following this principle,
getting the keel higher and higher,
until by and by the keel came out of
the water, when, lo and behold!
there was the double boat! Nothing else to be done but take a saw and split her in two, spread it apart a little way, and
cover all with a deck, and there you are! That was the rough road which I travelled, and having arrived thus far I abandoned
my ill-shaped hulls, and in their place substituted them with two long, narrow, very light boats and connected them at the
bow, stern and middle.”
Even as Mr. Herreshoff was reinventing the catamaran, it is surprising that the catamaran was not a firmly established
concept. The testimonies of explorers in previous centuries had unanimously described the craft's performance. Yet the
western catamaran’s devel-
opment, was instead the re-
sult of a reflection on the opti-
mization of performance in
Starting with the monohull in
(1), Mr. Herreshoff increased
the beam to increase stiff-
ness (2); As the beam is fur-
ther increased the keel is
raised and the maximum
draught is offset from the
centerline to either side (3)
until the keel is completely
out of the water. It could have
been simpler to split the boat
along the centerline and
spreading them apart (5), but
evidently Mr. Herreshoff even-
tually proposed two narrow
hulls (6).
On June 24th, 1876, the day
after the Centennial Regatta,
Sept. 2013 Page 8
John Gilpin
Nat Herreshoff
John Gilpin
Nat Herreshoff
1,2,3,4,5,6,7 9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,...36
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