We ask top sailors and marine industry gurus to choose the coolest and most innovative yachts of our times. Michel Desjoyeaux nominates Monitor

“It has to be Monitor, of course! The father of all flying rockets!” says Desjoyeaux. One of the world’s first sailing hydrofoils, Monitor was created in 1955 by Gordon Baker, who designed military hydrofoils, and built by his company, JG Baker Manufacturing, with input from the US Navy.

“[It was] at the same stage of the current America’s Cup, with the technologies of that time,” explains Desjoyeaux. “Today, it’s very difficult to find pure innovation, as lots of solutions have been tested/tried. Most of the time, only successful ones are known. (Though I heard that at the end of the 18th century, they pulled a flying machine on Thames river, by horses running on both sides!).”

Monitor carried cotton sails and could foil in around 13 knots of wind on two ‘ladder foils’ forward and a submerged foil at the transom. Early speeds were around 25 knots, and in October 1956 it hit over 30 knots, sailing at twice the windspeed. It is now at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia.

Photo: Courtesy of Mariners Museum USA

Make sure you check out our full list of Coolest Yachts.

Monitor stats rating

Top speed: 30.4 knots
LOA: 7.92m/26ft 0in
Launched: 1955
Berths: 0
Price approx: $20,000
Adrenalin factor: 98%

Michel Desjoyeaux

Michel Desjoyeaux is one of France’s biggest offshore racing stars, and the only skipper to have won two Vendée Globes. He is also known for his design innovation – he was first to sail a canting keel Mini Transat design in 1991, and later developed widely-adopted designs such as IMOCA 60 kick-up rudders through his Mer Agitée racing stable.

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