Wing-sails had early development on Long Island Sound

Intl C-Class Catamaran 2010 Championships at New York YC, Christophe Launay

If wing-sail technology didn’t have everyone’s attention after BMW Oracle Racing’s victorious 33rd America’s Cup, it definitely does now after the International C-Class Catamaran Championship won by Canadian defenders Fred Eaton and Magnus Clarke, hosted at the New York Yacht Club in Newport RI August 22-28, 2010.

The high speeds and almost instant acceleration of the cambered airfoils had members of America’s Cup syndicates, top designers and sailors in awe. Read more at the Yachts and Yachting website and at the SailingWorld blog.

What many of our junior sailors may not know is that early versions of these wing-sails were developed right here on western Long Island Sound. Indeed if you have visited The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk CT you certainly have seen the C-Class cat Patient Lady V displayed with her 1982 vintage wing-sail in the entrance hall (until the aquarium’s remodeling in 2011).

Patient Lady V displayed in 2010 at The Maritime Aquarium

How did Patient Lady V come to be on display in Norwalk? It seems that Tony DiMauro, who was commodore at Roton Point Sailing Association in the Rowayton section of Norwalk, had become one of the greats of the C-Class. He built a series of boats between the late 1960s and early 1980s named “Patient Lady” (I-VI), named it is said, after his ever waiting wife!

The C-Class regatta originally was started in 1961 based on a similar format as the America’s Cup, in which challengers competed against the defender in match-races for the championship trophy. The C-Class cats at 25 feet were quite a bit smaller than the AC yachts, so the event became known as “The Little America’s Cup.”

DiMauro led four consecutive successful defenses of the Little America’s Cup from 1977 to 1982 with his “Patient Lady” (III-V) cats. He first won in 1977 with Patient Lady III, which is still sailing today at Roton Point. Then his Patient Lady IV won in 1978.

Patient Lady V successfully defended twice against Italy in 1980 and 1982, so she certainly deserved her place of honor in The Maritime Aquarium.

Judith Bacal, Exhibit Director at The Maritime Aquarium in 2010, provided the photo of Patient Lady V .