From Impossible Idea to Reality – the World’s Fastest Sailboat Vlad Murnikov
”All my life I have been designing and building increasingly unusual and innovative boats,” says Vlad Murnikov. “I’m not new to controversy and doing impossible things.” Undeterred by living in land-locked Moscow, Vlad began his career by building a radical lightweight boat in his single-room, second floor Moscow apartment. “It was a 25-footer, and the trick was that my room was 20-feet long.”
Vlad went on to design a shallow draft lifting-keel expedition yacht to sail in the Arctic Sea, and even converted an old PT-Boat into a luxury cruiser. Then in 1989-1990, he launched the FAZISI campaign, the first ever Russian entry to compete in the prestigious Whitbread Round the World Race. Despite underfunded construction and a relatively inexperienced crew, FAZISI demonstrated the second longest day run of 386 miles during the race and finished 11th out of 23 boats.
After moving to the US, Vlad produced the MX-20, one of the first sport boats and the winner of the 1995 Boat of the Year Award. But the MX-Ray design was a much bigger success, in his view. This tiny 13 footer, capable of reaching well over 20 knots, became the first ever single-handed dinghy with an asymmetrical spinnaker. This spawned a whole new breed of fast and exciting little boats, bringing high performance to mainstream sailing at affordable cost.
Vlad’s current project, SpeedDream, is a quest to build the world’s fastest oceangoing boat. Described as an “ocean sailboard” or “monomaran”, its roots can be traced back to the MX-Ray and FAZISI. This boat should be capable of reaching 50+ knots, cover up to 1000 miles in a single day, sail steadily at high speed without much deceleration or acceleration, and be strong enough to cross the ocean in one piece.
After toying with the idea for ten years, in the last year Vlad has reached out to other designers, performance optimization specialists, and structural engineers. With their help he has developed and built a 27 ft. prototype. Initial tests prove that his SpeedDream concept works.
Vlad’s ultimate goal is not just to build a super-fast record-setting yacht, but to bring innovation into the sailing mainstream. “If sailboats were as fast as powerboats, or even faster, without burning any fuel, then who would want a powerboat?”