Soviet Union’s first, Fazisi was launched 24 years ago

SpeedDream flies the keel - Yandex-SpeedDream to debut during Cowes Week
Brian Hancock
Twenty-four years ago an extraordinary event happened on the Solent. The Soviet Union’s first, and by happenstance last Whitbread entry, Fazisi was launched and took her maiden sail on that famed strip of water between the south coast of England and the Isle of Wight.

The boat was designed by Vlad Murnikov, a forward thinking naval architect from Moscow. With the hammer and sickle emblazoned on the Soviet flag flying from its stern, Fazisi caused quite a stir as 1989 was long before reforms came to that part of the world and most western people had never met an actual Russian. Fast forward two-plus decades and Murnikov is back with an equally revolutionary boat. This time there is no Soviet flag, but the boat is sure to turn heads and draw a crowd.

Yandex-SpeedDream is a quest to build the world’s fastest monohull. SpeedDream is the name of Murnikov’s design and Yandex, the Russian tech giant, is the technology partner to the project. The boat is a 27-foot prototype of what Murnikov believes is a breakthrough in modern monohull design. The boat features unique and innovative design attributes including a true wave piercing bow, a lateral step in the hull, a feature found mostly on powerboats, and a keel that cants in excess of 80-degrees. This means that when the boat heels more than 10 degrees the keel comes out of the water and flies.

The unique low-slung look of Fazisi - a boat that turned heads. - Yandex-SpeedDream to debut during Cowes Week
Brian Hancock

'When we arrived all those years ago with Fazisi we were thrilled and excited by the response of the western world to our ‘behind the iron curtain’ project,' said Vlad Murnikov. 'The support was overwhelming and we really made a huge impact with the boat. Yandex-SpeedDream is nowhere near as big as Fazisi, but the boat is so unique, innovative, and sexy looking that I think she will make as big an impact, capturing just as many hearts as Fazisi did.'

Yandex-SpeedDream will be based on the Isle of Wight at Cowes Yacht Haven and will be demo-sailing during Cowes Week. The skipper is world-renowned sailor Cam Lewis who was the only American on board Commodore Explorer when they became the first boat in history to circumnavigate the world in less than 80 days. He has also participated in the America’s Cup and has won numerous world championships in dinghies.

'SpeedDream is one of the most unique and interesting boats I have ever sailed,' Cam said. 'Vlad’s mantra that a multihull has to become a monohull before it really starts to pick up speed is right and I think of SpeedDream in a similar way. The boat can be seen as a catamaran with the hull itself as the leeward hull, and the flying keel as the windward hull. No drag and a high righting moment means that the boat really flies.'

Joining Cam as co-skipper is Vladimir 'Kuli' Kulinichenko, considered Russia’s top offshore sailor. Press is invited to contact SpeedDream media for a demo sail. Public will be able to see the boat flying its keel from the Esplanade and The Green to the west of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes.