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Posts Tagged ‘dave Clark’

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These 12 UFO foilers are now crammed into the box called OZ Invader 1, bound from New England to the land of vegemite and croc pies.  From Fulcrum Speedworks: “Gerben’s use of high density shipping make these unquestionably the most cost-effective UFOs ever shipped down under. Join us in tracking the ship (Seatrade Orange) as the boats surge towards New South Wales.”

It remains fascinating and exciting to track the progress made by a handful of young sailing nerds as they crack the long-impossible ‘people’s foiler’ market, and maybe the coolest part is the way the boat’s sailing characteristics are being developed transparently and collectively, with the SA Forum a sort of ‘clearing house’ for the sailors and builders.  Case in point?  Dave and Nick have come up with some new tricks to making the little boat go, and both explained their techniques today.  Here’s a sample (go to the thread for the ongoing discussion):

If the boat starts trying to foil “to infinity and beyond” you need to get the bow down. That means add rudder lift or reduce mainfoil lift by going pin forward. You can also move weight forward, but for starters I’d suggest sitting on the middle pad and adjusting the foils. Upwind you’ll move forward, so you only have one butt cheek on the middle pad, and downwind you’ll move aft similarly, but you never sit fully on the front pad. (Disclaimer: “Moth” mode where you do sit fully on the front pad and bias the lift to the mainfoil might be a fast mode, but its not the easiest or most stable for a beginner.) Based on the windspeed you should have been in the second “pinhole” (really a dimple) from the bow for mainfoil AoA. You might have even been able to go all the way forward with the mainfoil pin, but at 200 lbs I think you’d want to wait for a little more breeze to do that. 

Heisman tack is the way to go when not foiling even in heavier wind. You move towards the middle of the boat as you pull the sail over the top of your head. In light air you’ll stay on the old windward side with weight aft as the bow gets down to your new course. However, in bigger breeze and waves you’ll move across quicker and put your weight a little more forward. If you get stuck in irons and have to back out of a tack, move weight forward if the boat starts dig the sterns in. If you keep weight aft while backing down in bigger waves, you’ll reverse pitchpole over the stern. 

Flatter water is your friend as a beginner. Ideally, you want 10-12 knots and less than 1 foot of chop to make your UFO as easy as possible to foil, but I’m guessing those conditions show up at the SF city front approximately never. So let’s talk about waves. The bigger risk in waves once you get the weight placement and foil tune lined up is launching the boat right out of the water going up a steep wave, not stuffing the bows as you’re already experienced. As a beginner I’d focus on reaching along perpendicular to the waves. The easiest point of sail to get a UFO on the foils is bearing away below a beam reach, but I’d suggest you stay parallel to the chop to start to take waves out of the equation as much as possible. Keeping the ride height on the lower side as you’ve already done, will help with getting launched off waves. As you get comfortable move to working on weather heel and then making VMG upwind.

Waves are much easier to foil through upwind. You’ll you want to steer for low spots in the waves like you would in any other boat. You can also move weight fore-aft and ooch the bow down over the crests. At lower ride heights you’ll bash the windward hull through the crests and at full ride height you’ll be able to keep your hulls dry. The boat will sail like any other dinghy in terms of technique in waves, only you’ll be hovering a couple feet over the water. Additionally, due to windward heel your rudder is no longer just a steering control; it’s also a pitch control. Heading up pushes the bow down and bearing away lifts the bow up. So now in concert with all your wave steering and old-fashioned dinghy kinetics you can play pitch with the rudder. Simply, this means heading up slightly over the crests of particularly bad pieces of chop as you ooch the bow down and do everything else you can to keep the boat planted.

Finally, there’s a dirty trick for foiling upwind in waves. It’s very simple. Add rudder lift. You’ll know when you’ve added enough, because the boat will be absurdly easy to sail upwind in waves. It’s a truly amazing feeling, because most of the stuff I told you above about pitch-stabilizing the boat in waves can be ignored without crashing. When I first really discovered this mode I was running into 4-6 feet of wind against current chop on LI Sound in 12-14 knots of breeze off of Stamford, CT. The mode was so stable, I started pointing the bow directly at the biggest waves to see if I would get launched and crash back down. Again and again I cruised straight through particularly nasty pieces of chop until I finally found a particularly steep 6-footer that caused the boat to launch and crash. Note, I didn’t ooch the bow down over the crest or use my rudder to pitch-stabilize the boat. Either would have kept the boat on its feet even on the particularly big and steep wave.

Sailing in the super rudder lift mode is truly ethereal, but it does have two downsides. One, you’ll have trouble getting foiling, because the boat will pitch bow down and try to dig the bows. You’ll need to move weight aggressively aft to resist this and try to foil parallel to the wave sets, so you don’t dig the bows into the face of the chop. Once you’re up and flying you can turn upwind, and if you have the boat set up right you will know. Two, it will be impossible to sail downwind in waves in this mode. You’ll need to take a couple of turns off the rudder before you try to make VMG downwind on the foils. 

You’ll note I’ve said nothing about foiling downwind in big waves and nasty chop. Unfortunately, there’s no dirty tuning trick to make it easy. You just have to practice, practice, practice until you begin to acquire ninja skills. All the same physics and techniques apply as upwind. You’ll reach along the wave troughs and push the bow down through the low spots in the waves. Additionally, you’ll start to notice that your speed and the frequency at which you’re hitting the waves is very important. If you’re slow and you try to go low over the crest of a wave you’ll more likely than not get launched. If you’re fast and carrying apparent low, you can crush right through a wave set and maintain stability. Basically, there’s a lag in the flap control system, so if you punch through the crest of the wave quickly and the wand starts going forward again, the flap never gets pushed down long enough to launch you. However, if you linger on the backside of wave either due to speed or angle, then its off to “infinity and beyond” followed by a large splash.


P.S. When you dig the bows, release the mainsheet and head up. Most of the time you’ll be fine. You can get green water on the second pad and survive as long as you ease the mainsheet immediately.

December 3rd, 2018 by admin

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SA’er ‘Ezra’ gives us another disinterested review of the little foiler we dig so much.  Will it live up to the hype? Let’s find out.  Photo not of the reviewer…

I sailed Dave’s demo boat at the Wickford regatta this Saturday and had a blast. Conditions were SSE 15-18 gusting occasionally to 20 with a pretty good ebb against the wind, so some decent chop. The plan was to do some “match racing” with Dave but unfortunately in launching he dropped his rudder and it sank to the bottom (I guess he had forgotten to rig the rudder downhaul -apparently he had a late night the day before- which would have kept it in), so I headed out to the course solo. My impressions:

The boat is really easy to rig. We had to put the boat I sailed together, which consisted of sliding the 3 piece mast together, pinning the wishbones to the spreaders and sliding the mast into the step. Tip the boat on its side, insert foils from the bottom, attach the wand arm to the main foil, tip the boat back up (foils are held in the retracted position by cool little keepers on the rudder head and mast pod), rig the mainsheet and hoist the sail. Because the rig is so bendy, it is really easy to hoist the main even though it has a lot of luff curve with the stays released. Rig Cunningham and outhaul, slide the dolly under and you are good to go. Town Beach in Wickford is shallow for a good ways out, so I put about a foot of rudder down and sailed out to deep water, where I then dropped the main foil and the rudder and went on my way.

It was about a 2 mile beat out to the course. I did a commination of semi foiling and foiling to get out there. For such a short boat, it handled the chop well, although I had my ride height probably set too low so even when foiling I was punching through some waves. What really go me is how much bigger the boat feels than it actually is-the main foil is always working for you, even when “displacing”. Once I got up to the course area I had some great rips with a bunch of down-speed sailing in between (I am NOT in very good hiking shape right now and my hip flexors were screaming!). The boat is really very manageable when down speed-compared to my time sailing I 14s the boat is very easy in the between races milling around mode, even in good breeze and chop. Down speed tacks were the most challenging-it was easy to miss stays, but pushing the main out to leeward and backing the tiller would get you going quickly. I had 3 “near” crashes, the first 2 were nosedives into waves that happened just as I was building speed to foil-probably because I bore off to a reach too aggressively-in both cases I buried the bows to well past the mast pod (in fact I was sitting pretty far aft and was under water to my chest!), but I just held on and amazingly the boat just popped back up and kept going. The third ended my day-I was going nearly DDW, in the middle of the boat on my knees when a puff hit and the boat came up on the foils and promptly heeled to windward, pitching me off. I didn’t want to get separated, so I held on to the tiller extension, hoping the boat would flip or round up. It did stop, but not before I cracked the tiller. Dave jumped in, jury rigged the tiller and gave us a show of how to sail the boat properly!

The boat I sailed had literally been put together the day before, and the only breakdowns I had (apart from the tiller, which was serious user error, but which Dave says he is going to beef up) was a knot pulling through on one of the shrouds which I fixed on the water and one of the wishbones pulled out of its end fitting due to not enough plexus at the bond surface, which we electrical taped to finish the day.

I think the thing that struck me most about the experience and what I think sets the UFO apart is that the boat is so manageable. Yes it is demanding and physical when you are ripping, but when I got tired, I never felt a concern about being able to get back to the beach.

June 16th, 2017 by admin

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UFO Production - 1

We haven’t seen ‘average’ sailors so charged up about a new singlehander in a decade, and with UFO production hull # 1 currently in the mold, shit’s getting real for the US-designed and built ‘people’s foiler.’  Get to know the genesis of the project and the latest news right here on SA, and head over to the new builder’s website to find out more.

March 22nd, 2017 by admin

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Longtime Anarchist Dave Clark updates all of you foiling freaks on the new UFO.  Ask him specifics in the thread. Check out the latest video of some winter UFO foiling from the air and the water over on Youtube.

Production orangeHey Folks,

Time to get excited! Things are coming together over here in Rhode Island. The UFO is finally through the stage of production preparation that I’ve come to refer to as “Industrial foreplay” and it’s go time. The hull and deck molds move back onto the Zim Sailing factory floor this week, where they’ll commence to build the first 40 boats. The first 100 sets of foil struts are being finished up at the extruder in New Hampshire. The next 50 sets of spars are on their way from the manufacturer overseas. North Sails is hard at work making the first 20 suits of sails and Schaffer Marine in New Bedford is going full-tilt machining parts. The objective is to build 100 to 150 UFOs in 2017 with the capacity to step up production further as the class grows. This is the start of the period where you folks with deposits will be getting the heads up of the materials nearing the mold and thus the option to opt in or out.

The Tweaks: What’s changed since The Foiling Week?

Controls: Every little percentage gain in foil control allows for a truer flight path. While these things aren’t noticeable in the beginner or intermediate use ranges, they pay off in spades at the high end, enabling you to fly higher and more aggressively in all conditions.

We added a stiffer all-carbon wand with a carbon paddle, taking all available buffering out of the wand. Buffering does a few beneficial things but also comes with some flaws, especially in extremely gusty conditions. All told the stiffer wand realizes the full benefit of our ‘mountain goat’ style gearing.

We lengthened the wand sprit. There’s been a revolution in the moth class around getting the wand as far forward as possible, as it increases the gain on the sensor and thus responds to pitch changes more immediately. This enables the boat to be flown more confidently in big waves.

Both of these things benefit performance racers and recreational sailors. From a performance racers perspective, the combined effects enable you to race harder. From a recreational perspective, it makes the boat hardier and smoother in challenging conditions.

Sail: We found it necessary to add a full-length batten just above the clew to get rid of a set of creases that propagated upwards from the tack. Further we added a cutout for the clew to add an extra bit of leech tensioning capacity, as a tight leech is critical to going really really fast on foils. We also added a fillet bulb to the bottom of the endplate which assures a solid deck seal. This bumps up the efficiency of the sail by another increment. The front end of the fillet bulb additionally functions as a pouch to stow the halyard and other items, closing with Velcro.

Dolly: While the single-axle beachcat dolly is the best option for a catamaran, keeping the bunks upright and lining them up on both bows is more annoying than it should be. Further, while a retaining strap across the deck does hold the dolly, it’s more trouble than it could be to tie on and untie. We found that the easiest usable configuration is a beachcat dolly with cylindrical pads and short tethers on either side, which clip to the gunwales. This makes the dolly easier to put on and take off the bottom. Further we concluded that a wider wheelbase made it easier to pull the boat towards a ramp on a reach, so we moved the wheels outboard of the hull. A tertiary benefit is that the new dolly from Dynamic Dollies packs exceptionally well.

Hiking straps: Outstandingly short sailors and outstandingly tall ones pointed out that the straps were either too far away or too close for them. Making their position adjustable solves this problem easily.  People also wanted the straps to stand up more, so that sliding a foot into one would be easier. To do this, we rigged them with rigid tubing, which causes the straps to stand up.

Cosmetics: While I personally often scoff at considerations like this, it’s nonetheless an important feature to a good percentage of people and the UFO has gotten noticeably more spruced-up. While our original hull tooling was incapable of imparting a high gloss finish, the production tooling imparts a polished gleam to the gel-coat. Further, all the aluminum parts are anodized black, there’s a little bit more exposed carbon in the package and a few more decals and bright colors.  In line with the UFOs alien aesthetic, the production sails are clear with neon green trim, which together with the white hull and black hardware, foils and spars yields a tri-tone neon green, white and black color scheme. The available deck pad color options are neon green, black and white and the gelcoat options are black or white.

The fully enumerated list of tiny updates, improvements, cleanups is too long to go into. This is merely the shortlist. Beyond that, it’s the same old basic fun-machine we know and love.  And with that, I need to get back to the fight.


Dave Clark
Fulcrum Speedworks llc.


February 7th, 2017 by admin