It almost ended before it started, with the crash of their first-speed yacht record attempt, the disaster that broke the short-lived Wood Duck. The Iron Duck tells a story of how Bob Dill and Bob Schumacher went on to build and sail the fastest wind-powered vehicle in the world.
In 1999, they shattered the 100 mph mark and secured a place in the record books that held for ten years to the day. The wind-powered world speed record was an obsession of Dill’s who thought he could break it with the initiative engineering ideas he had to build the Iron Duck. Bob Dill’s infatuation with the speed record drew him to drag his best friend Schumacher along across the country every year for a decade. They persevered through unpredictable playa conditions, design iterations, and entirely self-funding an ambitious record attempt. The campaign was a success with Bob Schumacher, who set a new and seemingly unbeatable speed record at 116.7 mph. However, both friends have always wanted for the trophy to be in Bob Dill’s name.
Today, we follow Bob Dill as he brings the legendary boat out of retirement to sail it one last time (his 70th birthday) before scrapping it and saying goodbye to the 30-year project. As in the speed trials, the wind doesn’t readily cooperate, and Dill has to decide if he is ultimately ready to let go of the dream of the Iron Duck.
Directed by Ben Dolenc (USA)