Cowes, UK: 'More than meets the eye' is how one RORC Rating office official has deemed the recent exclusion of canting keels from this year's Cowes Week. 'We've unearthed some very disturbing information that was kept from the IRC rating office for a few years, we're in the process of determining its validity, but if it's true, there could be some serious repurcussions for a number of owners... and a serious challenge to event organisers and rating offices around the world. Getting the canting keelers out of Cowes Week was the first step.'
Scuttlebutt Europe has learned that this information involves a scheme amongst a handful of maxi canting keel sailboats to utilise a hitherto unknown secret British/US satellite to effectively reduce not just wetted area, but the boat's mass and intertia.
One boat owner who insisted on anonymity told us 'We're doing our patriotic duty here... we were contacted by an intelligence unit of MI6 and asked if we'd install certain equipment in our keel bulbs to aid in attempts to perfect what is best described as a 'tractor beam' a la Star Trek.
'When we shift the keel bulb to windward, it connects to a geostationary satellite, which then activates the particle beam which 'lifts' the bulb and gives us a slight loss of weight but also a bit of forward thrust. The scientists have intimated that we're only on very low power, that if they dialed it up they could lift us out of the ocean and hurl us hundreds of yards. Here's hoping they're careful about that dial.'
The ultimate goal would be to develop systems that could increase the fuel efficiency and top speed of warships... but in the meantime, it's unlikely that any major event is going to allow a canting keelboat anywhere near the start line without an inspection of the keel that one owner has disallowed based on a national security letter from MI6.
'Excluding a keel from an IRC rating inspection because of classified weaponry is really not something that our office has envisioned to date. We don't even know who to talk to about it. So we're taking the only step we can and for the time being, banning canting keels from all RORC races, period.' said the RORC's Mike Urwin. www.scuttlebutteurope.com/