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Posts Tagged ‘Foiling’

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We love to get nerdy, and few can get nerdier than former Air Force Lt. Col., Boeing military aerospace engineer, Oracle Racing designer, and Sailing Anarchist Tom Speer.  This guy has been foiling since Egyptian Cotton sails – that’s why we can excuse the crappy sound and image quality from The Foiling Week’s video of Speer’s talk on the state-of-the-art in foiling, just last week.  It’s embedded above, and here’s the companion PDF to Speer’s talk.

 

July 15th, 2014 by admin

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vision-hydros

Our non-Swiss readers may not know that the HYDROS team up in Lake Geneva isn’t just a bunch of sailboat racers – it’s a big partnership between commercial players in the energy market, a major bank, one of the Europe’s top universities, and a pile of really bright sailors and engineers thinking up ways to push the boundaries of energy efficiency within a spirit of environmental responsibility.  As the closet tree-huggers most sailors are, we love what Jeremie and the team are doing – and not just with foiling sailboats.

render_hq_006-2Enter the bit of news we got today about the HYDROcontest, where in just 10 days, 14 student teams from 7 nations will come to Lausanne with the 20 or so  electric-powered boats they’ve been working on for the better part of a year.  The goal?  The fastest boat, using the least amount of energy; the winner may have the potential to revolutionize powerboats and shipping.  Check out the first episode of the HYROcontest series on Youtube here, and subscribe to their channel for frequent features showing off the new concepts they’ve found.  Note: The pic to the left is NOT one of their concepts – just a cool pic we found!

 

July 11th, 2014 by admin

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Luna Rossa

What do you get when you mix the world’s best sailing photographer, the world’s best foiling sailor, and the world’s prettiest boat graphics?  A damned nice screensaver, that’s what!

You’re looking at Moth World Champ and Luna Rossa sailor Bora Gulari (seated on hull, aft) surveying some of his full-foiling handiwork while the boys wait for the Cagliari sea breeze to kick in for some practice; go here to see some Borlenghi pics of the beast flying late last week, and here’s some video. Check the Luna Rossa thread starting around here for loads more.

While Bora and the boys played at mach 1, Luna Rossa helmsman Francesco Bruni was taken apart by the boys in US blue in the Petit Finals of the WMRT stop in Sweden; Bruni sailed like a man possessed until that point, when Canfield made him look positively pedestrian.  Canfield took the final spot, while Swedish native Bjorn Hansen won his third-straight Swedish Match Cup, beating Ian Williams in the final.  Watch the final day action from Marstrand here (and watch for Gulari in this weekend’s Mackinac race, navigating for Phil O’Niel’s TP52 Natalie J).

July 8th, 2014 by admin

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Newport is one of the world’s most iconic sailing destinations, and last month’s 11th Hour Racing Cup on Narragansett Bay was something of an introduction of the Class to a place filled with the world’s top sailors.  Scheduling issues and light air turned a potentially amazing regatta into a bit of an exhibition, but who better to make it all look great than the awesome Onne Van Der Wal?  Here’s his 3-minute HD wrap of the action.

 

June 25th, 2014 by admin

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The wind finally showed up on the final day of the foiling GC32 Austria Cup, with Chris Draper driving Luna Rossa to an undefeated finale, and 10 wins out of 13 races on the week. We’ll have more on this extremely exciting class for you soon; in the meantime, check out the full day’s racing from Sunday above with speeds over 30 knots, and hit up Youtube for the daily highlights and dozens of interviews.  The archived races from earlier in the week are on the Livestream channel here.

 

June 2nd, 2014 by admin

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big pimpin’

Our pals at Gunboat continue to work on the super-sexy coastal racer/cruising G4, but with a twist:  Now, you can get them with J-foils.  Flight of fancy or flight for real?  We grabbed team member and design dude Rudo Enserink for a quick update.

SA: With the J-boards and T-rudders, this is looking like a full foiler.  Is that really possible on a boat with bunks and a kitchen?

RE: Yes and no. We’re first going to build high-lift C-foils for safe but very fast foil-assisted sailing.  The mildly asymmetric C-boards can be raked from -1 to +7 degrees and will be set at the factory for safe cruising.   The lift of these foils maxes out at 80% of displacement, and advanced owners can play with the rake adjustment to optimize for purpose and conditions.  One of the great things about C-foils is that you can leave the windward daggerboard deployed in all tacks.
The hull and daggerboard casing structure is prepared for full foiling, as are daggerboard bearings and rudder bearings.

If there’s enough interest from the market we’ll develop an electronically stabilized full foiling package that will be available as aftermarket upgrade. The current concept for this is an L-foil and auto-leveling T-rudders.

SA: Who is building/designing the foils?

RE:  Foils are designed jointly by Doug Schickler from Schickler Tagliapietra, with Davide Tagliapietra, Pieter Jan Dwarshuis, Mischa Heemskerk and Rudo Enserink.  They will be built in by Holland Composites (also builder of DNA A-cats), in their autoclave, and you can see some progress at their Facebook page.

SA:   That’s a pretty serious VPP chart.  Is that with the C-foils or with the new J/L foils?

RE: This VPP is with the C-foils.

For more info on the very hot Gunboat G4, check out the full details here or ask questions in the thread here.  Title shout to the best cartoon of the 80s.

 

May 14th, 2014 by admin

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Launch of the GC32 with the new L-foils and T-rudders

Clean Report

More than 18 months ago, just a month after ETNZ revealed their AC72 was a flying boat and lured by the potential for a 32-foot version of it, I spent 12 hours flying to Dubai just to check out the brand new GreatCup 32 catamaran from F-18 sailor Laurent Lenne and designer Martin Fischer.  I took a cab straight to the Dubai Marine Center, and an hour later, we were sailing the sleek carbon cat in 8 knots of Arabian breeze.  And 20 minutes after that, the boat was broken.

Needless to say, I was underwhelmed.  The Southern Spars-built spine of the boat wasn’t right, and I wasted a couple of days in a plane to find it out.  To compound matters, it was pretty clear that the intricate, Alinghi 90-style S-shaped foils were cool-looking, but lacked true foiling ability.  They reduced displacement, but only in very specific conditions would they lift the boat out of the water and create anything that could be called stable flight.

But Fischer, Lenne, and Aussie project manager/COO (and longtime SA’er) Andrew “Macca” McPherson had just seen the future in the form of a flying red-and-black carpet in Auckland, and they were already planning on meeting it.  They spent much of 2013 studying, learning, and redesigning the foil system for the GC32, and while they didn’t put a ton of effort into selling a boat they knew was in the midst of a big change, they quietly sailed a 4-boat, 4-event Great Cup series in Europe.  And they kept working.

Fast forward to April, when I got a call from Lenne.  ”They’re ready,” he told me.  ”And you should get your butt over here.”  Hours after Charleston Race Week ended, I jumped on a plane from Charleston to JFK to Paris to Marseilles, and made my way to one of Europe’s biggest marinas in La Grand Motte, France.

An intense design process had led Fischer to a ETNZ72/Flying Phantom/Groupama C-Class style foil solution, with acute-angled, rake-adjustable J-boards with a massive 1.2m span, and adjustable t-foil rudders like a Moth.  Built by Heol, supplier of foils for just about every major French racing multihull for the past decade, the foils are serious pieces of machinery – a single dagger supports almost the entire weight of the nearly one-ton cat and its crew, is built under a massive 8 Bar of pressure, and weighs some 50 KG.  The good news is that you don’t often take them out; they insert from the bottom and retract up to the hull, allowing you to beach or ramp launch the boat with no hassle.

Launch of the GC32 with the new L-foils and T-ruddersBut even if they were a big hassle, it would be worth it, because after three days of sailing the GC-32, I can honestly say that this boat has the potential to change multihull racing forever – all of a sudden, non-foilers just seem kind of silly.  They’re slower, less forgiving, harder to sail, more loaded up, and just nowhere near as fun.  I’m leaving for the airport in just a few minutes and there is a long, comprehensive video being put together next week with all the details, so I’m going to keep this short, but after crewing, driving, filming, and spectating for the past 3 days in winds from 5 knots to 30 knots, it’s very clear that this boat is something entirely new.

What do I mean by that?  How about some numbers:  22 knots upwind at 44-50 degrees TWA, with more than 5 degrees of windward heel – almost like a moth.  32.7 knots downwind on the boat’s fourth day in the water, with too much sail area and old sails designed for a skimmer.  And our gybing angles, confirmed by Velocitek GPS replay?  40 degrees.  In other words, this boat sails downwind at roughly the exact same angles as an AC-72, and 80% of the speed, with a quarter the crew.  And at 235K Euro, it’s around 1% of the cost.

Far more importantly, a no-talent hack like me can EASILY drive the thing.  This is no joke – the GC32′s huge vertical lifting surfaces are nearly as big as those on the Oracle 72, and that means when you do something stupid – which I did plenty of – you don’t crash down like a Moth or AC72, and if you press too hard and get too much heel on, the boat gently slips sideways rather than pitching you over into the piss.  I hit 24.4 knots yesterday in 14 knots of wind, heating up to pass a fleet of Fireballs rounding the top mark off Montpellier beach…the lead boat just stopped and stared and let his competition sail by him.  An excellent driver like Macca or Adam Piggot only got to 26 – if I can do 90% of their speed, truly anyone can.  In other words, you don’t need to have Bora Gulari’s cat-like reflexes, Jimmy Spithill’s iron balls, or Larry Ellison’s mountains of money.  Just a couple hundred grand and a desire to fly.  The Daily Sail’s James Boyd hit 20.2 on Monday, so at the moment I am the fastest 32-foot foiling cat driving media person in the world –  a title I will wear with pride.  Back on you, Boydie.

More to come, and big thanks to Sander Van Der Borch for the gorgeous shots.  There’s more info and some data in the thread.

 

April 18th, 2014 by admin

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We love the fact that one of yachting’s most respected veteran photographers has jumped on the video bandwagon; more importantly, it’s great to see a guy known for his classic yachting and monohull AC work bringing a different perspective to the kind of high-speed shenanigans we at SA spend most of our time drooling over.  Onne Van Der Wal shot this excellent highlight reel from last month’s Line Honors US Moth Nationals in Key Largo, scoring a ride-along for 14 year-old son Adrian (who flies his drones) along the way.  Van Der Wal has been shooting video with Canon DSLRs for about three years now, but this is the first real high-performance reel we’ve seen from him, and we are most definitely fans.  Judging from young Adrian’s reaction to the Moths (and his clear lack of excitement about superyachts and classics), the next generation of Van Der Wal is going to be even better.

For more from the Nationals including interviews with champion Anthony Kotoun, past SCOTW Emma Aspington, world champ Bora Gulari, Swedish gold medalist Freddy Loof, and plenty more, hit up this gallery.  And be sure to check out Onne’s Vimeo page for a diverse portfolio of good sailing films.
 

April 9th, 2014 by admin

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Thousands of sailors are following the Flying Phantom project to see whether Alex Udin and his group have created the holy grail of high-performance sailing; a full-foiling boat that’s easy and stable to sail.   Based on this short video with some words from French multihull supercoach Philip Presti, (and admittedly in very flat water), it looks like they have succeeded.  Enjoy, and get in on the Phantom discussion in Multihull Anarchy.

 

April 7th, 2014 by admin

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While they tend to have a national culture that’s reserved and restrained, few can outdo the typical British sailor’s ability to talk smack.  Most of the real junkies will remember when Rob Greenhalgh and team went down to Sydney to deliver the “Smack down down under”, returning home with their tails between their legs (you can still buy this awesome movie!); well it seems from the above video that Robbie and friends haven’t learned their lesson…

Have a look at this UK Mothies video throwdown to our favorite Turkish American foiling master, almost daring Bora Gulari to become the first back-to-back Moth World Champion since the foiling began.  Let the games begin – and with an all-time record field at the Hayling Worlds, they’ve already started.  Title shout very appropriately to Ohioan metalcore band Like Moths To Flames. 

March 27th, 2014 by admin

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Sailing Anarchy was launched right around the time when the first Moth – Brett Burville’s surface-piercer – went flying.  As the Moth took over the world of ultra high-performance single handing, SA took over the sailing internet, and we’ve had a special relationship with the Moth ever since.  That explains our joy when we see just how incredibly strong the Moth is, with 2014 likely to mark the strongest year in the history of the foiling Moth.

This year’s North American circuit is well underway, with longtime SA’er and two-time World Champ Bora Gulari defending his National title this coming weekend against new US Sailing Team member Brad Funk and a fleet including Star Gold Medalist Freddy Loof, multiple keelboat world champ Anthony Kotoun, and all the rest of the adrenaline junkie crowd.  We’ll be there helping the US Class get photos, video, and news out via the US Moth Class Facebook Page this Friday to Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Moth Worlds at Hayling Island in the UK is about to set an all-time record for entries in a Moth WC – with 5 months to go until the event!  We Expect somewhere over 150 boats in Hayling including full teams from a number of America’s Cup campaigns – foils will be the key to the next Cup, and the smart designers and sailors know that, with the A-Class split over whether to go forward or backwards, there is only one singlehander that will let them hone their skills for the biggest trophy of them all.

Europe is heating up just as quickly, with the first Act of the EFG MothEuroCup taking place in Bordeaux, France soon. It’s the first of six awesome events held all over Europe, including the excellent Delta Lloyd Regatta in Holland in May, the Swiss and German Nationals, Traunsee Week in Austria and of course Europe’s best sailing spot in Lake Garda has to be on the calendar as well. In this second year edition of the MothEuroCup, EFG Bank has stepped up to the plate as the series Sponsor, offering more than € 13,000 in total prize money.

With EFG Bank supporting Stars, Vipers, Melges 24s, and now the Moth, we’re giving them a shout out; keep it up, bankers!  For a little video teaser of the Europcup, check this out on Vimeo.  Thierry Martinez photo from Hawaii.

 

March 20th, 2014 by admin

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 Our pal Jack from Cornwall checks in with some info on the just-launched double-masted foiling Cobalt Cat. You can check it out in this video as well as at the RYA Dinghy Show this weekend in London – always a great way to blow out the winter blues and get ready for the season ahead.

It was with great satisfaction earlier this month that the Team Cobalt Catamaran made its first leap up onto its hydrofoils in 10 knots of Breeze at Calshot Spit on the Solent.  This was the culmination of a 3 year part time build program for our team which we formed to design and build a 20′ hydrofoil bourne catamaran to take on the Round the Isle of Wight Record. An ambitious project to champion the merits of small multihulls and push the limits of the beach-cat platform.

The boat will be making its public debut at this weekend’s RYA Dinghy Exhibition in London where myself and Luke Yeates co-founders of Team Cobalt will be manning the stand in the Palm Court entrance. Come on down to the stand we’ll be giving talks on the project and running a “guess the weight of the boat” competition to win a Ronstan sailing watch.

Team Cobalt are now looking for syndicate partners to join the project and take it to the next stage of optimisation and taking on the challenge of the RTI course.  Get in touch with us via Facebook or Twitter.

 

February 28th, 2014 by admin

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aclassworlds2014d3dsWhile interest and membership in the International A-Class Cat remains at an all-time high, the just-concluded, semi-foiling Takapuna Worlds brought significant new questions to light in the world’s premiere singlehanded multihull.  

The problem isn’t necessarily foiling – anyone watching the Worlds saw a fleet where even the very best pro racers could only foil for some of the time, and most of them would be in similar positions if there were no J, L, or C foils at all.  The problem is that the Class is quite neatly split down the middle as to whether they want a foiling boat.

Current A-Class rule 8.1 limits the span of any vertical foil, which means only relatively small “J” or “L” shaped foils are allowed on an A-Cat.  Rule 8.2 requires all appendages to be inserted from the top, which further limits the size of the foils and makes the kind of efficient wand-type controls that make a Moth so effective difficult or impossible to fit on an A-Cat.

None of this is new – in fact, Rule 8 dates back to 2009, and was clearly written to keep boats from flying.  But as America’s Cup rules writers quickly learned (and nearly lost the Cup over), it’s easier to design around a rule than to design an effective rule.

So has it been with the A-Cat, and the cream of the Takapuna crop came up with huge board-holding cassettes fitting into massive holes in the hulls to circumvent rule 8.2 and a range of innovations to try to fly around rule 8.1, with less than satisfying results for those that think an A-Cat should truly fly.  Meanwhile, a vote taken at the AGM to rescind Rule 8 failed to garner the requisite 2/3 majority, and the half-foilers remain the best option available for the next year.

Many young folks look at the Moth and scratch their head about the A-Cat conundrum.  ”The Moth is so successful, why not follow right away with the A-Cat?” is a common refrain.  But unlike the Moth Class of the early 2000s which was on life support and in danger of being delisted by ISAF when John and Garth Illet pioneered the two-bladed foiling moth, the A-Cat Class is extremely healthy throughout Europe, America, Australia, and NZ, and compared to the Moth, the A-Class is a long, heavy and ungainly machine.  It’s also an expensive boat already; a top of the line DNA will not leave you a lot of change from $40 grand. A pre-foiling, top-of-the-line Moth cost around US$10k in 2000; today’s production Mach 2 is well north of twice that.  Can the A-Class support the additional expense it takes – both in money and weight – to handle foiling loads?

Will the thousands of A-Cat devotees around the world stand for the kind of wholesale obsolescence of their expensive toys that would necessarily follow if someone comes up with the kind of world-beating machine that Andrew Macdougall and McConaghy China have with the Mach 2 Moth?  And perhaps most importantly, what kind of  unintended consequences will follow from the inevitable 30-knot crashes of a boat three times the mass and two or three times the cost of a Moth?

No one knows the answer to these very tough questions, but a group of dedicated A Class sailors in Australia led by Steve Brayshaw and sailmaker Stevie Brewin has a real desire to see stable flight become a reality. After consultation with foil designers, they’ve realized they can’t do this under the current rules, so they’re taking the next step:  To see what it will take to make a stable foiling A-Cat.  They believe that if they can prove to themselves and the world that it can be done, the worldwide members of the A-Class will only then have the information they need to be able to support a rule change.

The Steves are calling it the A-Class Speed, and the boats will measure as A-Class cats in all respects with the sole exception of Rule 8.  This will allow them to insert new foils from the bottom into old boats with a minimum of fuss, allowing the kind of testing and development necessary to produce a proper foiling boat.   Brayshaw will make the Speed his main focus as soon as the new foils are available, while Brewin will also sail the current A-Class until the Europeans to continue to provide sails and service to his Brewin Sails customers.  Other A-Catters downunder have already committed to the project and anyone is welcome to get involved.  Various highly-regarded foil designers have shown real interest in the project, with one boat already hastily converted with promising results.  It is certainly going to be an interesting winter down under.

The first A-Class Speed Open Championship will happen on Lake Macquarie during the next Aussie summer, with the exact dates and venue to be announced as soon as possible.  All are welcome, including anyone who wants to compare their existing boats to the new concept.  For further information, hit up Stevie Brewin on Facebook or send a PM to SimonN in the SA forums.

And if you don’t know where the title for this piece comes from?  Screw you, kid.

 

February 24th, 2014 by admin

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It’s been another interesting week in the wide world of sailing on screen; here are the pieces we liked the most:

brand new friend

The number of Americans going sailing is still very near an all-time low, but as of this week, we’re in what may strike you as a surprisingly good mood about the state of the sport here in the good old US of A.  Why?  Because, based on Senior Editor Mr. Clean’s time at the 3-day US Sailing Leadership Forum in San Diego, we truly believe that, for the first time since Sailing Anarchy’s birth 15-odd years ago, our sport’s governing body seems to be on the right track – a track that, if it continues, will lead to real growth in the part of the sport that really matters – the base.

All the Yacht Clubs and all the regional racing authorities and all the ‘welcome newbies” programs can’t change the fact that we need far more people sailing recreationally to get more people racing, and one of the most impressive parts of the Leadership Forum was the makeup of the 600-odd attendees; almost half were female, with a median age of less than 40.  US Sailing doled out over $7000 in travel subsidies to help dozens of community sailing staffers show up, and they were overwhelmingly young and often female; these are the folks in the trenches bringing thousands of new faces into sailing every year.

If there is one criticism of the event’s format, it’s that there were perhaps too many seminars and breakouts in too short a time, and while the vast majority consisted of valuable, engaging content and speakers, a handful were nothing more than disguised corporate promotions for various service providers – something tough to tell from the titles of each session, but easy to tell when you sat down and found a business card on your chair.  But aside from that – and perhaps from the Hilton’s price-gouging that left the younger folks and community sailing staffers unable to have a single drink at any of the parties or even the hotel bar – Event Director  Katie Ouelette seems to have found a formula for an annual meeting of stakeholders that’s fun, exciting, and advances the sport forward in a way that’s been both sorely lacking and desperately needed.

Even the Yacht Club crowd was a younger and more vibrant group than we’ve ever seen at any non-youth US Sailing gathering, and like everyone else, they were treated to an information smorgasbord from a distinguished group of young and old speakers including our very own Mr. Clean.  That fact alone should tell you that US Sailing is clearly on a new path; it’s taken more than a decade, but we welcome them to the 21st century.

If you’d like to know what US Sailing is up to, and why we think you should drop the 60 bucks and join them for 2014, watch the 16-minute interview between Clean and US Sailing Executive Director Jack Gierhart above.  Give them a shot at doing good things with your money, and we’ll circle back around in early 2015 and tell you if they are living up to their promises – and you can get into the spirited discussion about it all here.  Title shout to Lloyd Cole, and look for the full directory of both the interviews we did and the useful videos posted by US Sailing next week – including Clean’s face off with other leading sailing media peeps.

find out why

Until November (and beyond, really), the Volvo Ocean Race is only as good as the stories it tells.  That’s why we’re overjoyed that they’ve pilfered one of SA’s videographer gems – young Sam Greenfield sucks you into the US/Turkish Team Alvimedica in this excellent piece posted yesterday.  Check it out above, and go and like Sam’s page here.  Whether or not the Volvo can handle his unconventional and no-compromise style, he’ll always be welcome here.

may the force 10 be with you

Who says you can’t sail in a hurricane?  Not the Red Bull Storm Chasers, and after a ridiculous 3rd stop in winds of ludicrous speed, France’s Thomas Traversa is the new king of the hurricanes.   There’s an excellent full report of the final stage of the three-event world-girdling event here.

 

mind over matter

Big money and big restrictions flowing from the Cup has stagnated most sailing videography over the past couple of years, and that only makes the sexy stuff coming out of UK production house RedHanded TV look even better; check out this trailer from the upcoming windsurfing movie Brutal Addiction.

 

neither fish nor fowl

 

The boys from ETNZ continue to crush the A-Class Cat Worlds fleet, in an odd Takapuna Worlds where some of the fleet is foiling some of the time, and none of the fleet is foiling in anything you’d call ‘control’.  This is largely because the daggerboard designs are limited to the non-acute angles of board that can be ‘fit in from the top’, as required by A-Class rules, and without a stable Groupama C or ETNZ-style ‘J’ board, or a sophisticated system of controlling the more open “L” boards (like OTUSA or Hydros), the boats fly in fits and starts.  It’s still faster to fly than drag in the breeze they’ve had, and aside from one DNF due to a rudder hardware failure, Ashby is on the verge of adding another one of these to his trophy closet.  This vid from Argentina Marine Media is the best we’ve seen yet, and you can find some great Cathy Vercoe pics here, and some video from Beau Outerridge here.  Of course there is plenty more first-hand reporting and debate about the recently defeated vote for a proper foiling rule in the thread, which will continue to rage on until someone makes a bold move either towards, or away from, the light. 

Former US A-Class Prez Bob Hodges put together a succinct note summarizing his views:

For those on this thread who are currently not active A-Class sailors and/or who have never sailed the boat.

The decision of the class as a whole to not change the current rules is because we are a cautious and conservative lot that do have a vested interest in how the boat and class evolves. I don’t think you can appreciate that perspective until you own an A-Class and you actively sail and race it.

It’s important to note that the top five at the WC currently are paid pro sailors. Theyare great guys, very approachable, and very supportive to their fellow sailors. But they do enjoy the advantage of someone else paying the bills when it comes to the equipment they are racing in this event. They understand the implications of what can happen if the class rules are changed to where the average A-Class sailor’s financial means cannot keep up with the development. How many of you can afford to race a C-class?

I consider myself in great physical condition for my age (55 years old). We have a huge range of sailors in this class from their 20′s to their 70′s that have been able to race the boat across the wind range of our class rules (5-22 knots). The boats have become much easier, safer, and more enjoyable to sail with the addition of curved daggerboards and rudder winglets. But there is no doubt that foil packages that actually fly the boat will raise the physical requirements to sail the boat. I’m excited but at the same time concerned that I may not have the physical stamina and agility to competitively race the boat at the performance levels I am seeing at this WC. If the physical requirements to sail the boat increase by say 25%, we could see a vacuum created that would need to be filled by younger sailors who probably do not have the financial means to own the boat (a Moth is 1/2 the price if you want to foil).

As the boats start to fly and the speeds increase to the low to mid 20′s, mistakes will be harsh on not only the sailor’s bodies but on the structure of the boat itself. The current boats are amazingly strong and durable. If we start to routinely fly, it remains to be seen whether the boat’s can handle the different load and torque dynamics on a routine basis. Crashing at over 20 knots of boatspeed will be hard on a boat that only weighs 75 kg and has a 29′ tall lever arm pushing the bows down, totally different dynamics than a Moth going over the cliff. If breakages and failures get out of control as the boats begin to fly, there is the potential for another vacuum to get created both in terms of losing sailors but also builders who get driven out of business because they cannot keep up with the warranty claims. There is also the insurance question. If the A-clas becomes a boat that has the potential for substantial damage in a routine “crash”, no insurance company will want to offer coverage. Some will not insure our boats due to mast breakage claims.

From my own standpoint, I don’t need to foil for the pure sensation of speed. I own a quiver of sailboards that in 15-18 knots are capable of sailing faster that an A-Cat will ever go even on foils and I can do that at a lot cheaper cost and at much less risk to my body and my financial investment in equipment. That is a perspective that I believe many in our class share.

I’ll speculate that it’s possible Landy’s strategy for racing a “conventional” boat is to not only sail what he is the most comfortable with but also to be a benchmark in this championship that will be important for the direction he leads the class as its class president. Scott Anderson’s performance so far is a great reference point as he typically does not trapeze downwind nor is he sailing a foiling package I believe. Scott is also in his late 50′s so represents what is possible competing against the younger guns in the top five that have the financial support of TNZ. If the breeze truly lightens to the 5-8 knot range for racing later this week, it will be very interesting to see how Landy and Scott perform. This is an exciting but kind of scary moment for the class. I hope we make the right choices to keep the class as vibrant as it currently is.

Bob Hodges – A-Class USA 230

 

February 13th, 2014 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 1.20.59 PMThe biggest swell in over a decade is about to slam into Maui, but the world’s most famous big wave surf competition – the Eddie Aikau – won’t be able to take advantage of it despite the surf falling square in the window of the event that’s only been held eight times in its 20-year history.  Such is the nature of big wave surfing, and in this case, onshore winds of 15-20 knots or higher will make the monster waves all but unrideable, so the Eddie will wait for another day.

But there are sure to be plenty of adrenaline-charged, fearless wonders out there, and we’ll be expecting the usual emergency room-or-worse news tomorrow morning.  Speaking of fearless, anyone remember when Laird Hamilton promised that foil boards would be the future of surfing, ideal for exactly these conditions?  Was he completely full of shit, or did the lure of selling millions of SUPs and sailing on the PUMA VO70 wash all that big wave ambition off the legendary surfer forever?  Calling Laird…Calling Laird…Come in, Laird…

If you get some shots of the monster waves, or you have the balls to bring a dinghy or sailboard out there to play, send us some pics.  Tip o’ the hat to Paragon Sail Charters for the heads up.

January 22nd, 2014 by admin

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While organizers struggle with pollution issues for Key West Race Week, 100 miles to the North, entry fees for the first event of the 11th Hour Racing Moth Winter Series were ZERO thanks to the event sponsor, an environmental organization.  That’s not the only innovation from a strong US Moth Class that now features crossovers from not just skiffs and sportboat superstars, but A-Cats and even Sunfish – Matt Knowles checks in with the report from day one in Key Largo, with photos from Marco Oquendo and a full gallery here.

17 International Moths descended on the Upper Keys Sailing Club in Key Largo Florida for the first stop in the 2014 winter series. In connection with its partner 11th Hour Racing, the US Moth Class is hosting a three stop winter tour dedicated to great racing and spreading the message of environmental sustainability. Day 1 was slalom racing in a fresh breeze that was forecast to build to frightening. A few sailors permitted discretion to thwart valor and stayed on the beach.

DSC_3358 - Version 2After a 6-race qualification series plus a repechage, 8 sailors advanced to the grand final. Just as the boats started, a 30 knot gust rolled across the course. In the end, only two boats managed to flimp back upwind to finish: Antony Kotoun (ISV) took the win over new class member Patrick Wilson (USA) who showed impressive boat handling in the big air. Tomorrow the class turns to fleet racing using an America’s Cup reaching start. Full gold fleet results: 1st Anthony Kotoun (Newport, RI); 2nd Patrick Wilson (Charleston, SC); 3rd Johnny Goldsberry (San Fran, CA); 4th Matt Knowles (Newport, RI); 5th Tommy Loughborough (Barrington, RI); 6th Bora Gulari (Detroit, MI); 7th David Loring (Charleston, SC); 8th Ben Moon (St. Pete, FL).

January 4th, 2014 by admin

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Ph1

Ryan Breymaier doesn’t just do huge trimarans and Open 60s; he’s also got an F-18 and loves hauling ass in little boats as well as big.  Last week, the Annapolis native and now adopted French super-rigger hopped over to Paris’s massive boat show – the Nautic  – for a few meetings and round table discussions with the IMOCA and Barcelona World Race folks.  While there, he checked in on a couple of extremely cool small-boat projects we’ve been following from afar, and he gives us a real pro’s look at the first of them below.  Be sure to Like Ryan’s Facebook Page here, and if you think your company might benefit from the kind of exposure Ryan’s prospective Vendee Globe bid would produce, get in touch with him today!

Other than the two C-Class cats on display at the Salon Nautique De Paris, the most interesting boats by far were the Flying Phantom and the Diam 24 OD trimaran.  At first glance they may seem competitors in the small racing multihull segment, they are in reality aimed at two very different skippers.

The Diam is for the F-18, A-Cat, or sportboat skipper looking to still go fast, but to do it with a bit more comfort; in other words, no trapeze.  Next week, I’ll give you my take on that sexy little trimaran from VPLP.

Today though, I’ll focus on Alex Udin’s flying catamaran, and it’s definitely for the ‘young gun’ beach cat sailor ready to step up to the next level – the foiling level.  Developer and creator Alex Udin (Sail Innovation) is quoting speeds of up to 30 knots downwind and sailing upwind at 55 degrees TWA, skimming the surface like the AC72s at the end of the San Francisco fun.  Want to foil upwind?  Crack off in a breeze to around 14 knots of boat speed and pop it up, then go upwind a few feet above the surface.

Ph4Since I tend to look at things through somewhat cynical and very specialized eyes, I like to get my wife Nicola’s opinion first.  She sails the F-18 with me and is a keen observer, and to her eye, the Phantom is a really, really nice looking boat!  They’ve followed some of the recent trends in cars; lots of graphics options and a matte paintjob that’s very cool and even a bit non-skid.  Of course the bottom will be wet-sanded and polished to a mirror sheen by any serious racer, but Alex clearly spent a lot of time making sure the Phantom looked just as good as it’s meant to sail.

With the subjective out of the way, I had a long look at the technical side of the Phantom.  The hulls are all carbon with a nomex core, carbon mast and carbon boom, with the hulls connected by huge alloy beams from the Cirrus F-18.  This guarantees a super-stiff platform without a lot of weight.

The hulls have a sweet profile with no distortion and plenty of volume in the bows; perhaps not so important for a boat designed to stay on the foils the vast majority of the time, but still pretty good to have when inevitable splashdown happens.

Test pilot Gurvan Bontemps is a top F-18 sailor who recently raced the Patient Lady at the Little AC in Falmouth, and he said without a smile that the boat is up on the foils in 7 knots of TWS (though he looked at my frame and said ‘maybe 8 with you aboard’), and that, contrary to what you might think, it’s just a bit more twitchy than a stock F-18.  A foiler for mere mortals?  It could be.

PH3The rudders are high aspect ratio, with ultra high aspect ratio elevators that bring to mind a moth’s T-rudders.  The rudders are mounted in lifting cassettes; not for adjustment underway, but for beaching and launching.  The rake adjustments come via the cassette mounts; instead of normal pintles and gudgeous, the cassettes attach to the boat with uniballs to allow the boat to be properly balanced with angle-of-attack adjustments to the entire rudder and elevator.

One of the keys to the supposedly straightforward foiling performance of the Phantom is the angle of the J-foil to the daggerboard upright; it’s quite closed instead of a right angle or something even more open; combined with the increased beam of the boat (compared to the F-18), this means stable foiling, meant for mere mortals rather than just the Franck Cammases and Mischa Heemskerks of the world.

Unlike the Oracle, ETNZ, or Team Hydros boats there is no cant adjustment for the boat (inboard/outboard foil movement); the Phantom only allows fore/aft rake adjustment with an endlesss string/worm gear moving the upper foil and thereby changing AoA on the main foil.  This sets the median speed of the boat and to some extent, the ride height, with the boat self-levelling as more of the foil comes out of the water.  In a great innovation and something we saw on the gorgeous Groupama C boat, the weather board is lifted not by a block and tackle, but by the weight of the crew as he or she wires up on the new tack.  Anyone who’s pulled up loaded boards knows this is a huge labor saver, and these boards are around 12 kg of pure carbon!

Ph5In the photo to the left, you can also see the camcleat for the 4:1 board downhaul – a necessity for foils developing enough lift to support the entire platform plus two crew, plus all the power generated by the very high aspect rig.  I couldn’t even get a good picture of the full mast; it was well into the rafters of the Nautic convention center. Attached is a sail plan drawing that shows it off well, and in person, the sails are beautiful.

I asked the obvious question as to what happens when you ‘yard sale’, and Gurvan says that a high speed capsize isn’t much worse than on an F-18 other than one thing: You fly a lot further through the air because you start so much higher up. In any case, the platform is as solid as can be, and according to the test sailors, it can easily take plenty of abuse.

At the boat show the cost is 32,000 Euro, which seems like a lot for a 20-footer.  But remember that this includes VAT and other shipping fees.  And when you add up the latest foil technology, the excellently-finished carbon construction, and all the design and testing work that has gone into it, I am sure it would be a bargain at twice the price.

Ph62 boats have already been sold to one America’s Cup team,  and several other prospective AC teams are negotiating for more.  TNZ were at the booth when I was, and they were at least as interested as anyone I saw.  Udin took 13 paid orders overall at the Nautic; not a bad start at all.

Will it really be easy enough to sail to gain mass acceptance?  The jury is still out on that one for a few more weeks.  But if so, I can imagine some incredible racing and a real game changer.

Get in touch with Alex Udin for more info or to order your Flying Phantom at alex@sail-innovation.com.

 

December 17th, 2013 by admin

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Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 7.14.21 AMOur old pal Alex Udin officially launches his Martin Fischer-designed, Franck Cammas-tested Flying Phantom at next week’s Paris Boat Show; will this sexy, well turned-out 18-footer finally open the floodgates on production foilers for the masses?  It very well might be, especially if, as we’ve been told, the Phantom is exceptionally stable and easy to fly.  We’re also told it won’t break the bank,  you can get it in about 17,000 different colors and patterns, and they’ve got piles of orders from everyone from old mothies to America’s Cup teams.

Have a peak at this excellent official promo video out yesterday, and for a more in-depth discussion on the boat and its creator, here’s a longer chat between Alex and Mr. Clean last month in England.

November 25th, 2013 by admin

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Remember when we announced the ‘flying’ Great Cup 32 Catamaran more than a year ago?   With its ‘compound W’ daggerboard shape and L-foil rudders, the Martin Fischer-designed boat looked slick, modern and sexy.  They even sold a few, raced a couple of regattas, and last month, pulled off a demo day in massive waves and 25+ in Nice while the Extreme 40s were sitting at the dock.

The main problem?  High performance foil design changed more in one year than it has in decades. Essentially, if you have a new ultra-performance multihull these days and you’re not flying, you’re failing – and the GC32 foil package was doing just that.

In the meantime, the AC72 showed everyone the way, and Fischer’s work on both the Groupama C foiler and the Flying Phantom project gave him the inspiration he needed to turn the 32 into a full foiler, and you can check it out above and here.  Sea trials will happen in France around the New Year.

 

November 14th, 2013 by admin

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Konstanty Ossowski shows us his idea for a foiling…something.  If nothing else, it’s interesting wallpaper.

 

October 26th, 2013 by admin

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