The EXPRESS was inspired, in part, by the sentiments of L. Francis Herreshoff as found in his book "The Common Sense of Yacht Designs." His introduction to the chapter entitled "The Sailing Machine" so eloquently explains the reasoning behind a yacht like the Express that we have reprinted it here for your enjoyment.....Terry Alsberg
The reader may think that it is quite a jump from sea anchors to sailing machines, but I can assure you that they both can be equally salty. Nevertheless laying overnight to some sort of drogue is the exact opposite from making quick passages, and I must say I prefer the latter. To me the pleasure of sailing is almost in direct proportion to the speed, and wallowing around in some potbellied abortion, heeled over and straining under a lapping jib or some other rule cheating windbag, seems quite ridiculous. Some yachtsmen seem to think the sole object of sailing is to beat a brother yachtsman, and have adopted certain rules of measurement that insure the wealthy to be the winners. They sail around courses perhaps at a rate of five miles an hour, and if they have won they consider themselves great sailors. But the general public, and particularly the sailor, is getting sick of that game. He sees no sense in trying to force several thousand dollars worth of lead through the water with several thousand dollars worth of rule cheating sails handled by a big crew. The sailor wants to sail, and says to hell with the wealthy, bridge playing sea lawyers who win their races traveling at a rate slower than their ancestors.
This reaction can be seen all over the world in the recent interest in catamarans, proas, etc., which supports my opinion that some sort of sailing machine can be developed which besides being fast, can be safe, strong and seaworthy. I must confess that I get much greater thrill out of sailing fast than winning a race, and care very little for the luffing, backwinding and crowding at the marks. That sort of business may be all right for sea lawyers and sadists who want to hurt someone else, whose only thrill in racing is to spoil the other fellow's chances or rule him out on a technicality. But the true sailor is a pretty good natured cuss and says to hell with all that folderol. He says, "I want to see which boat will sail the fastest." The principal thing he wants to beat is the record around the course or the record between ports, and when he beats some long standing record, he says, "There now, that is sailing."
The reader may think my sentiments are what they are because I have not been on many yachts that got the finishing gun, but that is not so, for I have been on most all sizes of yachts from steel schooners to dinghies when they were winning. The truth of the matter is, I suppose, that I had some unknown Nordic ancestors who survived because of their success in sailing. They must have had strong instincts for sailing and that urge has been handed down. There are many others with this urge, particularly in England. Some of us will sail anything anywhere, anytime, and we do not intend to have this urge for sailing frustrated by the rules of gamesters. We are not sadists who want to beat someone. We are not exhibitionists who want to gain notoriety by ocean racing. We only want to sail and nothing will stop us. When I use the word "we" I mean the many real sailors I have been lucky enough to know, and while perhaps I should have used the word "they" still I am going to say "we" for a few more sentences. We get an indescribable thrill from being noiselessly propelled by the wind. We like the motion and feel of a lively boat, one which responds to her helm and feels like a living being. We want to sail and not wallow around in some tub fashioned after a fishing vessel that will have to start up her motor in moderate weather to get places. We want boats and yachts like those of our ancestors that could sail with their regular working sails, but we would like to sail even faster than they did. Perhaps there are not many of us left now who love sailing for itself and who would like to experiment with the sailboat unhampered by rules, but this chapter is written for that few.
Before starting out our one-sided talk about sailing machines, I will mention that much I will say has been influenced by some talks I have had with my father, and I remember quite well a broadside he gave me when he was nearing his ninetieth year. Although he was not much of a talker he could deliver heavy metal when he got in a raking position. He said, "Most of you young men around nowadays seem to have lost the feeling for sailing; you try to go sailing in heavy auxiliaries, but you never get the sensation of sailing in any such sort of vessel." And then he continued, "I remember one time at about the close of the Civil War we were on a schooner your Uncle John and your grandfather had modeled and built. We were bound for Boston while rounding Cape Cod got her up to ten miles an hour at times, and that is pretty good sailing. Another time, about 1879, I sailed one of my catamarans from the west part of Long Island Sound home to Bristol in one day, a matter of a hundred and twenty-five miles in ten hours. That was pretty good sailing. I often sailed around the island of Rhode Island between breakfast and supper, and in one of my fin keelers, Alerion, did it at nearly eight knots, which is good sailing for thirty feet waterline.
"No," he continued, "I don't understand why young men nowadays sail around in heavy auxiliaries if the want to get the sensation of sailing." And that is just it--the sensation of sailing. The sensation of sailing is what the true sailor wants, and he is getting sick of the rules which prevent a vessel from being a good sailer.
When God designed the animals He was not hampered with restrictions so he made each beast admirably adapted to its purpose. The hippopotamus was finely proportioned for riverbank work, while the gazelle was a good cross-country runner. But if He had made them all the same displacement for their length they would have been as uninteresting as our modern yachts.
I happen to know several sailors who do not like night sailing, having done too much of it already. They do not like the hardships of ocean racing in a sport that is supposed to be a pleasure. They are not exhibitionists, braggarts or liars who pretend they want to go to sea in rough weather. What they want is to sail in the daytime in pleasant weather and sail fast enough to get the sensation of sailing. The only thing that will satiate the desire of these men is the sailing machine, and they should be allowed to have it.