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Posts Tagged ‘foils’

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3Whether or not foiling kiteboards make it to the Tokyo 2020 Games, long time US sailboarder Steve Bodner is doing his best to get to the top of the heap in the fastest-developing sailing discipline in history.  Here’s his update (and watch the sort-of video accompaniment here):

Progress, it doesn’t come easy or fast but when you least expect it. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to come at all despite everything you’d hoped for. The important thing, is to keep moving forward.

I’ve been on the kite foil now for just over 18 months, jump starting into the new discipline just after having learned how to kite a year before that. The transition to foiling wasn’t swift, but now that I’ve got some time on the water, things are becoming easier. It’s an amazing feeling, a total game changer from the previous 30 years of sailing and windsurfing. I’ve gone from barely kiting to getting most of my sessions on the foil.  It took me most of last year to learn how to foil and most of this year learning to go downwind comfortably. The sport remains awesome yet humbling in so many ways. I can foil in most conditions from 10-24 knots. However, all that changes when you line up on the race course, especially in San Francisco.

This past August, the Hydrofoil Pro Tour came back to San Francisco for the second time. Last year I entered knowing that it would be a huge learning curve just trying to get around the course, and I barely made it. I found my weaknesses and made huge strides over last year going downwind.  This year, the middle of the fleet is now where the top of the fleet was last year (making most of their transitions), and the top guys are now going around the course 20-30% faster with the improved gear. It’s a fast-moving discipline and an even faster moving fleet. I was just one of two guys still using tube kites. Its no excuse for still not being able to tack but this is a sport where you need to devote time to improve your skills and keep up with the equipment just to make it around the course, a difficult proposition for anyone coming up through the fleet.

I still can’t make a tack. My gybes, while getting better, still end up like some story of roadrunner cartoon running off a cliff and falling into the abyss. All that recovery time puts me back in the fleet and outside the time limit for an official score. I know it’s just a matter of time ’till it comes, but all the meanwhile, getting DNF’s in the score sheet is getting pretty depressing. I keep reminding myself it’s all about the journey. As I look back at my windsurf racing career, there was a lot of time spent in the back of the fleet at international regattas getting up to speed and gaining experience. I was never the fastest or the most talented but I stuck with it the longest and the persistence eventually paid off. Now that I’m in a similar position, it’s hard to see the progress when you’ve tasted success. Full story over at my blog.

Onward & upward,
Steve Bodner
USA-4

August 25th, 2016 by admin

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If the America’s Cup were a one-design battle, we’d likely see the awesomely talented Pete Burling and his ETNZ boys run away with it, just as Pete has done against largely the same competitors in the past few years of Moth and 49er racing.  But even the highly restricted AC50 box rule allows enough design differences to likely take the ultimate prize out of the hands of the skippers, and the likeliest winner will be the team that can figure out how to get the most out of their foils, aero, and wing controls.

With variable ride control (à la the Moth) and changing foil shapes banned, designers tell us that variable foil bend characteristics may prove the key to the top speed puzzle.  You can see just how much bend the Oracle Team USA trial horse is putting into their foils, as seen above and shot the other day in Bermuda.  There’s plenty of carbon bending knowledge inside the sport – see Moth, Finn masts, for example – but could the importance of flexi-foils mean the F-1 connected design team at BAR have a real head start?  After all, Formula One has been playing around with variable bend issues for a long time, most recently earlier this year.

Iron pumpers will recognize from whence comes our story title.  For the rest of you, clicky.

June 20th, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 12.27.22 PMApril in Charleston is one of the world’s sweetest sailing destinations, and as you may already know, it ain’t all about Charleston Race Week!  The weekend before the big event is a mess of racers who do not give a shit what your PHRF number is, or how many inches of prebend you carry in your stick – no, they’re all about speed, speed, and more speed (with some partying mixed in).

It’s the fourth running of the Charleston Fort 2 Battery, founded with the help of Sailing Anarchy in 2014 and already at over 80 racers in 2015, just its second year. For this race, if you can’t hit 20-plus in your boat, you may as well grab a camera and join hundreds of spectators who fill the harbor rain or shine. 4KSB’s need not apply.

Hardworking founder and anarchist Tim Fitzgerald pulled in some ‘sweet’ sponsors to fule the beach bonfire party – Sweetwater Brewing and Charleston Distillers are on board for the libations, as is Holy City Helicopters for the aerial shots.

Last year over 5000 people tuned in as Sailing Anarchy brought the race to you LIVE and you can see it again this year if you’ve got 20 minutes and an internet connection. It’s like no sailing you’ve ever seen before and it happens fast! There were high speed wrecks, a destroyed catamaran, some bruised moth pilots and PLENTY of wind.

The 2016 F2B also scores a ‘world first’ for any sailing sprint race – just like a marathon or Ironman, all competitors will be ‘chip-timed’ for perfect accuracy, so you’ll see the results the instant they cross the finish line.

On Fort 2 Battery weekend, James Island will become the first place to hold a mixed-foil regatta, when the moths and kites go head to head Friday on the slalom course, with course racing over the weekend. From local talk it sounds like many plan to spectate the 60mph closing speeds and 30mph NASCAR style wipeouts when some of the fastest sailors in the country go head to head with few rules. We don’t even know what to expect, but if racers decide to weaponize you could see mothies running over downed kiters, and kiters boosting to chop moth sails to bits with their foils. The possibilities are endless and you may be seeing the start of something new.

Register now!

Mac Dickson photo.

March 21st, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 10.58.53 AMAC Breaking

One of the things you try not to think too much about when you’re sailing a GC32 cat is the foils.  It’s the same way surfers in Western Australia or South Africa avoid thinking about the 5 meter-sharks swimming beneath them; and a modern cat’s foils are at least as dangerous as a Great White.  And now, they’ve taken first blood out of one of the world’s top sailors in Quiberon, France.

Team France/Groupama skipper Franck Cammas fell overboard from his GC32 today during a training session for prospective Team France AC sailors, and according to Breton periodical Ouest France, his ankle was partially severed by the knife-like rudder as the boat sailed past.

Whether you’re sailing a GC32, AC45/50, Flying Phantom, Nacra FCS – it doesn’t matter.  All the helmets, spare air, and kevlar spine supports in the world won’t save you from several meters of carbon-fiber blade cutting off your own appendages – or worse.  If it can happen to one of the quickest and most dexterous sailors in history, no one is really safe, and with the Extreme Sailing Series moving to the GC32 for 2016, organizers are going to have to think long and hard about just how many severed limbs they can tolerate.  Or maybe...it’s not a problem after all!

We’ll have more on this breaking story as soon as we have it, and we send our best wishes for a speedy recovery to the one of the sport’s most influential sailors and a longtime friend to SA and to sailing everywhere. Head over to the Team France thread for the latest.

 

November 30th, 2015 by admin

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Long the place for the dreamers and tinkerers to play, the evolution of top-end sail racing has finally made winged catamarans not only technologically interesting, but actually cool.   How else do you explain all the good looking youth engineers throwing their souls into the Quebecois Rafale Little America’s Cup project? Here’s an update from Canada, and head over to the thread for the latest likely entry list and chatter about the Little AC.

Our hulls are in the last stage of fabrication, i.e. just adding the daggerboard cases. Plateform assembly should be well advanced by the end of the week, depending on a few missing bits and pieces.  A prototype set of our hydrofoils has been tested by the Mystere Composites team on their Espadon Air Design 20ft catamaran. Results have been very encouraging with some good speed and stability. Our set of foils and rudders are being built as we speak by the Mystere team.  The wing is also at an advanced stage of completion. The front element is 90% complete. The flap / rear element is 60% or 70% complete. Most of the wing assembly should be complete by next weekend.

We are on track to be hitting the water on the weekend of July 4th and 5th. We should have 1 months testing and debugging before we ship the full kit to Switzerland.  There are still some questions marks on some key elements, especially shipping and budget. We are keeping our head down and hoping for the best.

I have to give a big shout to all the people who have supported us and helped us get this far, especially all our sponsors who have trusted us to deliver! We hope to make a good showing in Geneva and make them proud.  Overall I have been really impressed by the resourcefulness of the team and what we have manage to achieve considering where we started from. Few would have given us much chances of making it this far. For sure we have had to make many compromises along the way to save time and/or money. The result will be a boat that is slightly heavier than we would have liked but it’s not a bad effort for a first attempt. It will be a tremendous plateform to work from in the future.

 The team keeps some update and uploads regular photos on our Facebook page, accessible also from our website (http://etsclassc-rafale.ca/)
-Juls.

 

 

July 1st, 2015 by admin

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The A-Cats continue their uncertain march toward full foiling despite Class rules specifically formulated to prevent it; To paraphrase Jeff Goldblum, ”Flight finds a way”, and it certainly has.  And in spite of (or, perhaps, thanks to) the rules rift, the Gunboat A-Cat North Americans at SailNC on the Outer Banks has one of the biggest NorthAm fleets in the Class’s history.

While we won’t see the illegal but logical bottom-in L-foils that a few Aussies are experimenting with in Sydney, a 60+ boat fleet will include quite a few cassette and J-board foilers and some serious talent on hand.  Our own Senior Editor is on the ground in Manteo, North Carolina to help the Gunboat team provide all sorts of interesting coverage of one of the coolest events in the US this year, and it all begins above with a good look at some of the sailors and some of their rides.

Best place to follow every bit of 5 days of sailing on the breezy Carolina coast, including a pile of pics already? SailNC’s Facebook Page.

June 9th, 2014 by admin

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The secrets are gradually dissipating; Franck Cammas says his Groupama C is already hitting 27 knots downwind and 15 up, and ‘lots of development is ahead’.  Check the Little America’s Cup thread for the full translation and endless conversation; we’ve been given the ‘all-clear’ to reveal all the secrets on the Canadians’ Fill Your Hands and Penalty Box Productions Petey Crawford is working on it…it’s getting good in the land of the C!

 

August 15th, 2013 by admin

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For a while at least the continuing legal and PR battle between Bruce Kirby, Performance Sailcraft Australia, and LaserPerformance has been well overshadowed by something that hasn’t happened to the Laser in, well, forever. It’s new development, something the Laser has been crying out for. But at nearly 6 grand (Oz$), does the Laser foiling package make any sense at all?  Think about it:  $6k is the cost of 5 beat up Lasers or one, nice race-ready Laser.  It’s also half the cost of a good used foiling Moth.

We know there are plenty of potential customers amongst the tens of thousands of Laser owners out there; will we see an exciting new LaserFoiler Class in the next couple of years?  Something that could put some pizzazz back in a boat that’s suffered from a horrible image, terrible customer service, poor quality, poor availability, legal problems, etc. etc. etc.

Info on ordering, delivery, and development of the Glide Free Kit is all right here.  Let us know when you get yours; it’s new boat review time!  Got questions?  Thread is full of info here.

 

August 13th, 2013 by admin

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Multihulls still haven’t figured out how to fly upwind, and that means the optimal foil shape for upwind floating is completely different from the horizontal surfaces required for downwind aerial stunts.  That’s led to complicated S-shapes, C-shapes, L-foils, and all sorts of hybrids like the Swiss Hydros foiling C, but leave it to two-time Little America’s Cup champs Fred Eaton and Magnus Clarke (along with ETNZ designer Steve Killing) to take a step back and do it the right way; with double boards per side.  This lets the C-boats keep their traditional close-windedness and uphill efficiency (Jenny Provan shows how it’s done above) while going full flight & fury downwind.

Keep an eye on the already stellar 2013 Little AC thread; every few years, it’s the most interesting discussion in sailing – at least for the techno-obsesssed, like us.

July 6th, 2013 by admin

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