Douglas Philips-Birt

Tony Marchaj, late 1970s.

C.A. 'Tony' Marchaj (1918-2015)

Biographical Notes:

Czesław Marchaj was born and trained in Poland studying aredynamic engineering at the State Academy of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Warsaw. After the Second World War his love of "amateur" yachting in small boats brought him to England where he enjoyed a nearly forty year career in studying and teaching aero- and hydrodynamic elements of sail boat design, principally based at the University of Southampton. He made extensive use of wind tunnels and test tanks in his research. He was a Member of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects. He retired to France in the 1990s, and saw out his final days in his native Poland.

Bibliography (yacht design):

Yacht designing


Sailing theory and practice, London : Adlard Coles Ltd., and New York : Dodd, Mead, 1964, first edition : ix, 450 p.     This work was originally published 1953, in much shorter form, in Polish, just before Marchaj came to England. It was then translated, and Marchaj made major additions to the text. It remains to this day a fundamental text, and is required reading at universites teaching the design of sailing vessels.


Aero-hydrodynamics of sailing

Aero-hydrodynamics of sailing, New York : Dodd, Mead, 1979, first edition : xv, 701 p.     This is Marchaj's second fundamental work, coming nearly twenty years after Sailing theory and practice. The author delves much deeper into the science, using the results of his own research in wind tunnels and test tanks, but still attempts to write "in such a way that it is readable and comprehensible to the scientifically inclined layman with an enquiring mind." (preface). The author unapologetically continues to use the British system of measurement "to avoid unecessary confusion", but introduces an appendix fo conversion to the SI metric system.


Seaworthiness, the forgotten factor

Seaworthiness : the forgotten factor, London, Adlard Coles, and Camden, International Marine Pub. Co., 1986, first edition : x, 371 p..     The 1979 Fastnet race brought serious attention to the safety factors in the design of ocean racing yachts. The ORC/RORC technical enquiries, in which Marchaj was involved, demonstrated that rating rules led to design extemes that were flawed. Six years later, with little change visible, Marchaj published Seaworthiness : the forgotten factor, noting that what could be a "simple and even trivial subject" had been "permeated with legalistic hair-splitting and shrouded in pretentious language..." This book, without being dogmatic, put a remarkably clear, scientific and mathematical end to the safety aspects of the deign debate.


Yacht designing

Sail performance : techniques to maximize sail power, Camden, International Marine, 1990, rev. 1996 : [xvii], 401 p.     This work treats purely aerodynamic design and practical criteria; it is included in this list as Marchaj was the first designer to recognize and study the effects of non-uniform, unsteady wind flow and the effect of periodic airstream oscillations seen as a possible drag reduction solution.




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