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Gold medal winning Olympic coach helps create the ultimate coach boat

by Salthouse Boats 20 Jan 2021 02:31 PST 20 January 2021
The Salthouse Coach Boat has been designed ahead of its time to cater to the new world of high speed sailing © Subzero Images

Grant Beck is one of the world's most successful Olympic sailing coaches. He trained – amongst others - Barbara Kendall, Bruce Kendall, and Tom Ashley to Olympic medals and has made his mark across the sailing scene across a 40 year period.

When Greg Salthouse set his mind to creating the world’s best high performance coach boat, he introduced Grant to the project knowing that his experience as a user of coach boats for decades would make the boat the best it could be.

Grant recounts how coach boats have changed: “Twenty years ago, we were supporting slow boats. We could get away with just about anything. But since the advent of windsurfing in the Olympics and quicker boards, and then multihulls and 49ers and now foilers, it became more apparent you needed a boat that could keep up with them.”

“We became dissatisfied with what we were using and started the quest for something capable of teaching with.”

There are four critical qualities that a coach needs from a high performance coach boat:

Coaches need a boat that keeps them dry – hence the high bow that cuts through rough water upwind.

“It’s hopeless if you are motoring at speed, and you and your paperwork and electronics and tools are soaked.”

Coaches also need the smoothest possible ride they can get to stay focused.

“As a coach I want an easy ride in very rough water, and the hull shape, the tube design, the bow, the positioning of the consoles and tanks all lead to a boat whose trim offers an easy ride,” says Grant.

The third requirement is stability. Coaches can expect their athletes to rest and recover onboard between races. It can be common to have three or four sailors on one side of the boat, and their highly valuable Olympic vessels leaning on the other side.

The fourth requirement is maneuverability at high and low speeds. “This is a great aspect of the Salthouse. It’s like driving a car, you don’t have to compensate for the bow drifting or failing to respond. It doesn’t steer you, it has unbelievably good seakeeping,” he says.

Salthouse Coach Boats are also notable for their relatively plain utilitarian appearance: there is not an ounce of bling onboard unlike many other brands. They certainly don’t stand out in the carpark.

“This was a deliberate decision. It’s an extremely purposeful boat, and each one is specifically customised for its owner. The minute you start blinging up a boat designed to work at high speed in difficult situations, it’s a recipe for problems. This is an incredibly simple platform,” Grant explains.

And of course in 2021 we are seeing the AC75s on the race course and all that they promise to deliver for the next generation of high performance sailing.

Grant assures us that this boat is willing and able for the next generation, when it comes.

“It’s already there. It was a boat designed ahead of its time. As the boats we see sailing get faster, it is already in a place to be able to serve them.”

For more on Salthouse Coach Boats see

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