The Ghost. Article by Spike Selig

Sailing Texas home page
Home Page
Sailboat Photo Gallery
Texas Lakes Advertise with us Contact Free Sailboat Ad

  • Index of Articles in Frank's Corner of Sailing Texas

    The Ghost

    To: All those who, when they get through reading this, will become "Ghost Lovers"

    The Skimmer

    The Skimmer

    There is a revolution coming in how we perceive sailboats. I hope you and others who read this will send me your comments and feedback. I have been working on building a Ghost 13 size sailboat with the hope of going into production. The boat will have the big cockpit, light weight, and simplicity the Ghost but will be quite different in most other respects.

    I just spent two weekends racing a Y Flyer (18 foot scow) in the Indianapolis Sailing Club. My crew, my son, ended the second weekend with back pains and stiff leg muscles from crawling through the boom centerboard gap each time we tacked. We were cramped for space on an 18 foot boat! The new boat design will have the Ghost's full length seats running clear to the bow, but the seats will not be suspended above the hull as in the current Ghost design. Instead the seats will be spread further apart so that they anchor or bond to the outer hull creating two new glue joints, one full length glue joint located in the part of the seat where your butt goes (below the small of the back), the other full length glue joint located where the base of the seat flanges onto the now foot well inside of the hull. When you stand up you will be standing on the inside of the hull instead of standing on a false floor. Standing lower in the boat has the added benefit the standing crew having a lower center of gravity, making the boat less tipsy.

    The top and the bottom sections of the seats form two triangular air tanks running the length of the boat. The triangular shape of the thus formed seat tanks, now bonded in three places for the full length of the boat at the deck overhang, at the "butt" line and at the foot line create a symbiotic relationship, the hull stiffening and strengthening the seats and the seats stiffening and strengthening the hull.

    The hull and seat parts can now be built with less material making a lighter boat. Less material, lower cost of production. A further weight reduction comes when you eliminate a false floor. The new boat will be stronger and lighter, less prone to damage. With the new hull design, you can jump in from the dock without putting a hole in the seats or floor. At the same time, the new design eliminates the Ghost's front deck. You cannot walk on the Ghost's front deck, as the boat will tip, as your center of gravity will be too high and you weighing more than the boat will tip it over. Further complicating this, with the new design you can step off the dock into the low center of gravity floor and stooping to go under the Y mast walk to the transom, this with a hull lighter by the weight of the removed deck. With the inside of the hull becoming the cockpit floor, the cockpit in the middle of the boat seating area will be 6" deeper for more comfortable seating, knees not in your chest!, center of gravity lower for less tipsiness. This also moves the seats farther outboard, allowing crew to sit farther off center for stability without their having to get up on the rail to hike out.

    The centerboard trunk on any sailboat is always in the way, is heavy, and is difficult to construct-repair. The new design calls for eliminating the centerboard trunk and replacing it with lee boards hung on struts outside the hull. The struts will be hinged and crossed in an X so that attached wing shaped asymmetrical foils can be adjusted to upright vertical for light wind sailing. When rotated down, the X configuration rotates the foil to near horizontal like the wing on an airplane, in effect becoming a hydrofoil. The foils "flip upside down" on a separate pivot each tack so the wing cross section's vector points up, sideways, or a combination depending on the need, ie reaching running, planing, non planing.

    The A, E, C scows all switched to asymmetrical (An airplane wing is asymmetrical and has a right side up for flying. a traditional rudder and centerboard have symmetrical airfoils like the rudder on an airplane, works on both tacks but not nearly as efficient as a symmetrical) section lee boards that must be changed each tack, one up, one down.

    The new design simply flips the airfoil upside down to change tack both foils used on both tacks. In the down hydrofoil position, the inner end of the foil rests against the hull for greater support. In this down semihorizontal position, the lee board becomes an asymmetrical, wing shaped hydrofoil, the lift of the foil allowing hydroplaning, the lift, now far out on both sides of the boat, now creating resistance to healing, the tapered profile of the foils creating stability and resistance to being pounded in waves.

    The Ghost's center rudder will be replaced with two flip over asymmetrical winged rudders mounted outboard of the transom. All four foils, both sides of the boat,will flip over (turn upside down) so that the wing resists leeway or creates lift in the desired direction. The foils lift the hull out of the water eliminating the restriction of 1.3X the square root of the Waterline length lemitation on the boats speed, or what is called hull speed. The only two ways to go faster than hull speed are to create a wide flat bottom that planes up over the bow wave at the expense of dragging in light wind as most current designs do or go to hydrofoils which do not have a hull speed or any other theoretical speed limiting characteristics.

    With hydroplaning capability, the hull can be skinny as it does not have to plane to bet up over the speed limiting bow wave. The non planing hull can now slip through the water without the drag of a flat bottomed planing hull. Net effect super fast in light wind foils upright. Extreme speed on the rotated to horizontal hydrofoil in higher winds.

    The mast will will be shaped like an upside down Y the feet of that Y attached to the deck overhang, the joint of the Y at boom height. The junction of the Y high enough that the crew can go under it to get from front to back in the boat. No mast in the way!

    I am working on a wishbone boom that straddles the mast and extends out to the bow where the jib's tack attaches. The jib is self tacking on the wishbones and has no jib sheet. As the main is let out the jib stays at a constant angle to the main, even on a run. One main sheet controls both sails. That means only 1 rope for the skipper to deal with while sailing. The jib and main roller furls the main rolls up along the boom, the jib rolls up along the front edge luff. The goal of the rig is that when sailing, one rope does it all. The goal of the cockpit is to get the deck to glue to the bottom and act as high efficiency stiffeners. The goal of the hydrofoils and rigging is to provide a boat that is super fast in light wind and stable and super fast in heavier winds the heavy wind speed having no theoretical top speed limitations all this with one control line. The balance of the main and jib mean little effort to pull the main in. Both the windward and leeward hydrofoils will be rotated right side up so that the they will act as a wing on an airplane, the wing right side up and on the correct tack. In light wind the lea board are vertical, but because of their tapered top to bottom profile and their far outboard location they provide light air stability resisting tipsiness, a problem with the ghost 13.

    Stable hydrofoils have no theoretical speed limitations. Canting the rudder hydrofoils should make the boat stable in pitch. Top speed with the foils way outboard and a brave crew should reach the top speed that windsurfers and hydrofoil sailboats are now reaching - 60 plus miles per hour The boat will have an optional front deck that fastens on if you want storage. A boom tent and two hammocks can be strung between the bow and stern as there is nothing in the way (mast-centerboard). Hull weight is targeted at same as Sunfish-Laser. The changes to the Ghost 13 concept should make a nice family day-sailor with deep comfortable cockpit. It would have the Ghost's outstanding light wind capability and turn into a stable rocketship as the wind comes up.

    If I can get this boat built it could be the answer to what is wrong with the sailing industry, that industry having difficulty convincing potential new sailors that they need a heavy, extremely expensive, horribly uncomfortable to sit in boat that is filled with all kinds of ropes and controls. The crew is expected to crawl over the centerboard trunk and tangle of control lines. This design should fix what is wrong with the sailboat industry.

    The name of the design will be Skimmer with a picture of a skimmer (a large graceful gull-like bird that flies low in the water with its bill slicing through the water on the sail. If we can get this boat off the drawing boards, who wouldn't want to sail it? Another Hobie revolution? For the large boat owner, a great second boat.

    The Skimmer

    The boat in this video is averaging 60 miles per hour. A small boat with hydrofoils placed correctly could match this. Steady as a rock in 2-3 foot waves. Hydrofoils outboard for stability. Rudder both lifting and providing pitch control. Canted tapered foils control stability and hobbyhorsing. If a windsurfer can get to 52 knots, the skimmer should be able to do 52 knots, (60 mph).


    Spike Selig, "National Sales Manager" Ghost 13

    Please let Frank know what you think about this new section of Sailing Texas. We need feed back!
    Email Alison.

    If you would like to add your thoughts on this or on any sailing topics, please Email Alison at and I will post your sailing experiences on this website.

  • Index of Articles in Frank's Corner of Sailing Texas

  • Sailboats for sale

    Catalinas/Capris for Sale

    Hunters for Sale

    Macgregors/Ventures for Sale

    Sailboat Photo Gallery

    Ad views Counter