When Alexander Graham Bell was experimenting with flying machines, he developed hydrofoils as a means of getting airborne from water. In 1919, on the Bras d’Or lakes in Cape Breton, Bell and his collaborator Casey Baldwin broke a world speed record when their prototype HD-4 skimmed across the waves at 61.5 knots. Fifty years later, the Canadian navy set a record for the fastest speed of any warship with their hydrofoil craft, HMCS Bras d’Or. In Fastest in the World, John Boileau tells the story of the naval architects and engineers, excited by the prospect of developing high-speed submarine chasers, built this world-class vessel.
This book examines how, just when Canada was on the brink of taking a unique role in antisubmarine warfare, the government withdrew support for the Bras d’Or. The orphaned vessel is now on view at the Maritime Museum of Quebec at l’Islet near Quebec City.