A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists. Who said that? Ok we don’t expect you to know, we don’t expect you to check our web page to find out. It was L. Ron Hubbard, science fiction novelist and founder of the Church of Scientology. He also said ‘You don’t get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.’ We thought you might like to see the secret designs of an awesome aluminium hulled 225’ (68 metre) sailing schooner that LRH commissioned from Laurent Giles & Partners Ltd in 1968.
This typically groundbreaking design was the last new project that Jack worked on before his death, the un-tinted preliminary sail plan for the three mast version is the last drawing that we have from his hand. It is dated June1968. Conceptual but also practical as it was the basis of a scale wind-tunnel test model. Subsequently the efficiency of the three mast rig was investigated at the wind-tunnel at Southampton University, at the time the only facility of its type in Great Britain equipped to measure wind forces on ships and sailing yachts. The research highlighted areas for further consideration and ultimately a four masted arrangement was proposed – hence Peter Anstey’s pencil sketches and the note ‘see later’ at the top right of the drawing. An image of this arrangement is to be seen in a very informative technical piece on page 36 of Yachting World Annual 1973 and we are fortunate to have these unique and distinctive general arrangement drawings, hull and keel lines plans, weight and powering calculations and test reports in the Laurent Giles Archive.
1968 was a time when rig technology was yet to take the next leap from aluminium to composite masts, and when sailing controls were still manual; not yet in mast furling, or fully battened sails. No computer technology; no large lightweight custom yacht fittings or low stretch rigging and sail cloth.
The Yachting World article also refers to the development of special fabric testing instrumentation which was essential in the advances of new generation of sail cloths. Without these technological breakthroughs it was thus that the sail plan was divided among three (later four) masts rather than a tall sloop or ketch.
For large yachts this technology did not emerge until the creation in 1987 of the 190 ‘ (58 m) aluminium motor sailing schooner ‘The Other Woman’. Design number 0983 and not just a game changer but a whole new ball game – also from Laurent Giles