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(The first article in an occasional series on designs that did not quite come up to expectation).

Some Twelve sailors may remember The Wedge as the only Twelve that had to do a three point turn in order to tack due to the very deep bow (one foot under water) ! 'The theory was that if the change of displacement throughout the length was as smooth as possible the boat would be able to achieve maximum displacement speed more easily.

The criteria of smooth change of displacement required that there should be considerably more buoyancy at the front of the boat and in order to keep the waterline fine this buoyancy had to be introduced by extending the boat downwards, so the deep bow was introduced.Because the boat was designed to go on open water and there is more room to manoeuvre at sea the difficulties of turning due to the deep bow were thought to be not insurmountable. How wrong we were ! Avoiding action had to be taken at least twenty yards away from another boat and directional stability was such that on losing the rudder in a force four she continued to sail quite happily in a straight line (fortunately we were sailing towards the shore) ! !

This problem and the lack of sensitivity in waves eventually forced us to the conclusion that the bow was too deep but since then there has not been the time or the inclination to modify the boat. It is gratifying to see that similar but less extreme designs are winning races,

Roger Cherrill  

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