My first real boat was a 24-foot, ultra-heavy, 1960s era Bahama Islander that had a top speed of 4 knots. It didn’t have standing headroom. It didn’t have any electronics or even any lights. It didn’t have anything except for some worn-out sails and a creaky outboard that never really ran. I didn’t have anything except for a Banzai attitude, and I ran aground on every damn sand bar between Maine and Montauk. But I sailed the bottom paint off that sucker during my magical and not-so-misspent youth.
And my wonderfully not-so-misspent youth taught me so much about life, and adventure, and leaping before you look, and humility, and how much I need people (I originally planned to be an intrepid solo sailor on that heavy, high-tech craft until I came face-to-face with the stone-cold loneliness of solo sailing that cured me of that affliction for good!), and how hard, and rewarding, and meaningful, and goofy, and expensive, and beautiful sailing can be.
I’m so grateful for those early sailing adventures that taught me many, many things but…I never really learned about (or honestly really cared about) going fast. Like Ricky Bobby/Talladega Nights “If you ain’t first, you’re last” fast.
But as I find myself solidly in my “misspent middle age” or maybe more accurately, my “early misspent middle age” all I want to do is sail fast. Gimme a Sunfish―I want to go fast. Get me on an X-412 in a dying 4-meter-per-second breeze during the white nights of summer on the Baltic and the spinnaker will be flying we will be going…fast.
I was tweaking for speed even on my most recent passage from Miami up to Hilton Head on a stately and comfortable Jeanneau 57. The simple fact is I’ve developed an Elvis-sized addiction to double-digit speeds.
So, it’s only logical that I’ve been eyeing the foiling revolution like the speed freak I’ve become. I’ve worn out the internet watching videos of the zebra-striped Phantom pictured above, but that’s only the hors d’oeuvres prior to the main course, adrenaline-pumping speed that I’m about to embark on next week.
You see, the fully foiling Tesla-esque Gunboat G4 is about to lift off. And I’m going to be aboard next week in the Caribbean when it does.
Buckle up all you nice people out there in SwizzleLand.
We’re about to go on a wild ride.