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Posts Tagged ‘holland composites’

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Just a month after Mischa Heemskerk and Stephan Dekker’s ridiculous, all-bullet (gold fleet) performance to win their first-ever F-18 World Championship, Mischa is back in the driver’s seat on Poland’s Baltic Sea coast as the A-Cat Worlds fleet fires up, and if this pic is any evidence, he’s on the prowl…[just joking, Carrie -ed].  Head to the thread to find out more about the deck sweepers, stabilizers, and no-boom rigs amongst the crazy tech in this fast foiling fleet.  Video preview here and big thanks toPJ Dwarshuis and the guys at DNA Performance for their help in putting together this comprehensive preview/form guide.  By the way, with both the Moths and A-Cats hosting their largest-ever world championships in 2017 and the average age continuing to plummet amongst the fleets, is there anyone out there who still thinks foiling is a fad?  News and photos from the event are over here.

19 nationalities and 150 boats on the entry list proves the growing interest in this highly competitive and foiling catamaran class. Dozens of past World Champs  in a variety of classes discovered the A class cat over the last few years as the ultimate in singlehanded excitement.  The A cats are challenging to sail, with nearly unmatched and highly-refined development in one of the last truly open classes left.  Many ideas coming from the A-class trickled down to other boats and even into the AC Cats; it’s not surprising then that many Cup sailors and designers play in the A for fun.  .

The reigning world champion and man to beat at the moment is DNA team rider, developer and fellow Dutchman Mischa Heemskerk. Mischa is on a roll, as last month he also won the Formula 18 class world title with 7 straight bullets in the goldfleet final and before that won the locally well known Round Texel race.

Mischa will face big competition from the squad from Polish A-Cat builder Exploder, which has put in countless hours in their effort to break DNA’s string of five straight A-Cat Worlds. Heemskerk’s biggest competition should come from Aussie Exploder riders like two-time World Champ Stevie Brewin and double Olympic medallist and Tornado world champ Darren Bundock, who’ve been working as a team to unseat the reigning Dutch champ.

While Poland may be better known for growing gorgeous women and brewing great vodka, their sailors are a major force to be reckoned with, especially with the added motivation of winning on their home turf.   The next generation of cat kids is led by 24-year old Jakub Surowiec who proved very strong at the last big European regattas, while Tymotek Bendyk and Jacek Noetzel are also factors – the latter is the longtime Polish champion and also the driving force behind the successful growth of the Class in Poland.

Mischa will again be sailing the stealthy black carbon DNA F1,  unchanged for the second year of production now. The platform is identical to his winning boat at last years worlds in Medemblik, Holland.

The DNA F1 is highly optimized for low aero drag, proving extremely fast in all conditions. The construction is state-of-the-art carbon/prepreg/nomex honeycomb, built in a unique one-shot method in Holland Composites‘ autoclave. Carbon fiber to weight ratio is unmatched, resulting in platforms that remain stiff for longtime.  We introduced the semi-rigid carbon trampoline last year, stiffening the platform and making the boat look extremely slick.

The ‘Z‘ foils, which have all four foils kept deployed in the water during sailing, as originally developed by DNA in 2014 are still unchanged. We have been playing with other foil designs however keep returning to the original shape – it is easy to optimize for one particular condition but in our view the best foil is the one offering the best all-around performance. You could see this clearly in the AC where they had various foils for different wind ranges – we have to make do with one throughout the entire event hence our quest for a good all arounder.

The decksweeper sails are common nowadays, but it was Mischa who developed the modern iteration of these super-efficient mainsails to a new level.  The sail seals all the way to the airtight trampolines, resulting in significantly higher efficiency of the rig.  This helped DNA take 1st and 2nd at the ’15 Worlds, and while Glenn is taking a much-needed family holiday instead of sailing Worlds, the America’s Cup winner and 9-time A-Cat world champ says he’ll be back soon to set things straight.


Sails might just be as important as foils in this fleet’s development, and Mischa Sails, the Polish Bryt sails and North Sails all use Contender Maxx cloth, which has proven very suitable for these refined and flexible rigs which needs to depower and repower within seconds. Brewin sails and Landenberger sails go for radial-cut sails from conventional laminates, some of them optimized for lower rigs and some top teams going boom-less, while other sailmakers stick to the ‘half-wishboom’ setup.  where other sail makers stick to the ‘half-wishboom’ setup.

Polish builder Exploder pushed foil development to the extreme by developing literally dozens of prototype foils and rudders designed by Spanish designer Gonzalo Redondo.  They’ve also varied their daggerboard and beam positions a lot over the last year, resulting in many different Exploders to come to the right setup. Exploder builds their boats out of home-made carbon prepreg/nomex, and in a more typical production method of two bonded halves per hull, making the boat a bit more straigh forward with less extreme beam shapes and conventional trampolines. Their Z foil (type number 21) looks to be the one to get right now, which surprisingly comes pretty close in surface and foiling angle to the now 4-year-old original DNA foil.

Foil design is all about finding the right compromise between control and speed , combining good low end performance with top speed and top control when it starts blowing. It really looks like the same challenge as seen in the AC , but on a smaller and more fun scale!

Upwind foiling seems to be the new challenge and it will be very interesting to see if this will pay off this championship. Australian sailors seems to have made a big step there, optimizing their rigs with shorter masts to get the center of effort lower for better, easier balance foiling upwind. Yet by doing this, they probably sacrifice some light wind performance there, so time will tell if it will pay off during the entire event.


Swiss manufacturer Schreuer with team rider and developer Sandro Caviezel pushes upwind foiling even further, developing his stunning airplane looking G7 with the same rigid trampoline technique first seen on the DNA F1. Sandro is looking extremely slippery upwind in this Swiss piece of art. Especially in moderate conditions and flat seas, Sandro could be a surprise contender.

It’s fantastic to see that the foiling revolution actually made the class stronger than ever. There has been a lot of discussion about foiling and about class rules in recent years, but the cool thing is that, in the end, those rules controversies led to the Z foil development, which proves to be the best foiling configuration possible for small catamarans. Loading boards from the top-down and leaving both boards down during racing brings easy handling of boats whilst sailing and also onshore. Most important, it eliminates the handling of boards up and down at each tack or gybe, and this important fact keeps racing interesting because tactical short tacks and gybes are not so costly.

The same type of boards are used now for the new Olympic upgrade of the Nacra 17. These boats are only on the water for a few weeks now, but sailors will quickly learn how to sail these boats fast and safe as happened in the A class. Without a doubt it will be an eye opener in the fleet of Olympic classes.

With the Polish Nationals/pre-Worlds having gone off in a mostly low-riding light-air affair, top Spaniard Manual Calavia came out on top, and the short-rigged Aussies may be scratching their heads to decide whether to go for the short rig (8 meters) or the common 9 meter rigs next week.

All European sailors stay with standardized 9 meter masts, nowadays nearly all produced by Scott Andersons’ Fiberfoam from Austria. Two choices there: The common and proven standard untapered section, which has been a class favorite for many years, or the tapered wingsection which was developed and built by DNA four years ago and now manufactured by Fiberfoam for DNA. The DNA’s mast section tapers from 165 to 125 mm, flattening out in the top to only 45 mm, so much more extreme than the original 60 mm thick standard section. Obviously, with the trend of foiling and smaller apparent wind angles these sections will become standard in the class quickly.

Attempts to wider wingmasts and even solid wings are still made in the class, but on the twitchy super light A-class, so far no one has proven any gain. But without any doubt, development also won’t stop in this area.

The A class is more alive than ever. More and more resources are put into development by builders and sailors, and foiling is no longer for pro’s only, but all average and above A class sailors are consistently foiling nowadays, making sailing the A‘s hugely attractive and addictive.

Which other class features competitive and attractive racing from 4 to 22 knots in all sea states, in more than twenty countries worldwide? We rest assured that the A-class remains the class to keep an eye on for the coming years.

-PJ Dwarshuis




August 18th, 2017 by admin

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Big Pimpin’

For the select few sailors looking for the ultimate in Grand Prix one-design, it looks like the TF-10 might just be it. With electronic rake control, off-watch bunks for distance races, and a M&M design that appears to be extremely well mannered, the TF-10 seems to answer all the right questions for even the out-of-shape or septuagenarian owner.

The boys at DNA put together the sea trial video above that includes quite a lot of info directly from the owners mouths – owners with experience in everything from Melges World Championships to J/105s at the Big Boat Series to Marstrom 32s in Sweden, and they explain why they’ve decided they’ve moved out of all that jazz and into this.  We’ve been told they’ve all signed off on the design, the components are greenlit, and production on hulls 2 and 3 is now under construction in Holland with the fourth beginning soon.

Sailing Anarchy will be aboard hull number 1 as soon as possible for a full review; a truly stable foiling multihull has long been sailing’s unicorn and we’re goddamned stoked to check her out.

Details and sea trials are over on the DNA site here.



August 18th, 2017 by admin

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Day 3 - 1

With the first of the TF-10 foiling trimarans not far from splashing, DNA Performance Sailing now has a line of four hot multihulls, all flying over the water rather than in it.  We’ll bring you reports from next month’s sea trials and let you know if the TF is indeed as easy to fly as Morelli & Melvin and the NYYC owner/racers who commissioned it intended.

We’re even more excited though about a different DNA project; the electronically-stabilized auto-flying G4 cat.  We all know the future of foiling is automated and whether it’s the DNA system or something else entirely, we’re geeking pretty hard on the possibilities.  Get your geek on in this video explanation of the system.

May 18th, 2017 by admin

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With the first of the new full-foiling Olympic Nacra 17 scheduled for delivery very soon and the ranking-essential Euros just around the corner, one of Team USA’s best hopes for a medal was messing around in Holland, preparing for the coming battles above the water.

The Keith Brash video above (and there’s another gorgeous one here) is of double Moth world champ Bora Gulari along with his new crew, 2016 FX competitor (and soon to be Stanford Masters grad) Helena Scutt.  And clearly, smart is fast – check out this video for the first-ever of a Nacra 17 nailing a foiling gybe.

Head over to Bora and Helena’s Facebook Page here and like and share them.    Let the Olympic flying begin!



April 11th, 2017 by admin

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Clean Report

The Gunboat G4’s famous flip in St. Barth’s a couple of years ago didn’t do wonders for the marketing plan behind that ‘cruising’ foiler, but the dedicated racers developing the DNA F4 one-design spinoff of the G4 have been following a different, more logical path.  Two-time America’s Cup winner Shannon Falcone (who sailed the G4 extensively) and the team at DNA have been working up the 30-knot-plus machine in Antigua to find her limits before going into full production, and they found those limits a few weeks ago while testing the boat on a squally day off the West Coast of the island.    We spoke to the guys in Holland to get the story (and if you want to see the F4 being built in the DNA factory, click here for the full tour we did back in November.)  Here’s a photo from under the boat, and here’s a look at the F4 at 30 knots on a more typical daysail.  In a bit of bad news for race fans everywhere, the golden F4 won’t make the start of yet another record-setting fleet in the Caribbean 600.  Anyway, here’s the official statement:

Thanks for your inquiry, Clean.  Although everyone knows cats can flip, we would wished it wouldn’t have happened on a sunny day in the Caribbean after they’d already survived rough weather and storms from NY to Bermuda and then another thousand-mile trip to Antigua without issue!  But hey, it happened – so let’s learn from it.  That’s why Shannon has been working so hard to learn the boat.

While we hope you get the story straight from Shannon [it’s coming sooner than you realize] we learned from him that he was sailing inside the jib, heading towards the harbour while his crew were on the bow getting the furled FRO down on the tramp.  A squall and a big shift caught them with the jib on the winch, and even with the main blown off completely, the pressure on the jib slowly carried them over.

In association with Andrew “Macca” Macpherson, we’ve been working for some time on a system that’s essential for these kinds of boats, and this incident reinforced its need. While winged AC boats and sealed-mast cats lay on their sides in a capsize, boats with more conventional masts turtle almost immediately, making recovery complicated and causing damage to electronics.  That’s why we’re excited about the mast-mounted inflatable balloon system we’ve been engineering for the TF-10 trimaran and G4 and F4 foiling cats; in the rare case that one of these boats goes over, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to be righted quickly and easily.

We’ll have more news on the system later, and while we get the boat back in racing shape, feel free to check out this video of the F4 sailing in BDA and Antigua.  She’s a dream!

February 15th, 2017 by admin

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World Exclusive

We’ve been teasing you for a few months about the unlikely rumor that a brand new fleet of foilers were headed for the New York Yacht Club. Thanks to our pals inside Morelli & Melvin, we just got the first publicly available renders for you to drool over. This weapon is currently on the build floor at Holland Composites (though they hid it from me during my half-hour tour of that excellent shop last month).  Above is a pretty sexy look at the slick boat, here’s a sail plan render and here’s one showing some more deck.

Known as the TF-10 (TriFoiler 10m), the M&M trimaran isn’t quite a production build, at least until the first 5 boats splash.  The design and Class are owned by a partnership of five NYYC owners who will form the nucleus of a one-design class to be based in Newport with winter sailing in the Southeast.

Newport mad scientist Malcolm Gefter is a key figure in the new boat, and as unlikely a character as you can imagine to be leading a charge for one of the quickest boats in the land.  Gefter is a unique guy; he’s equal parts mad genius/inventor, big pharma executive, and a guy who likes to wash his own boats.  He also lives in a castle in Newport, but rents out the upstairs to needy sailors.  In other words, he’s a bit of a contradiction – as is the TF-10.

We’ve watched Gefter for the better part of a decade now, as he’s climbed from being the marshmellow in the doggy Swan 42 fleet, to a middle pack Melges 32 owner, to a Marstrom/M32 helmsman.  Once the Euros came down to Miami and started beating up on the older American M32 owners, Gefter looked for something equally thrilling without requiring any huge gym rats aboard and found, well, nothing.  And with the help of Morelli & Melvin along with input from Andrew ‘Macca’ MacPherson – the guy who co-created the GC32 – they came up with the answer.  We asked Gefter a few questions about the new boat.

SA: What are the key features of this beast?

MG: It was essential that the boat be easily foldable and legally trailerable, and that it could be rolled onto the YC lot, put together, and launched with a regular yacht club hoist or ramp.  Just as importantly, you can fold it up on the water and dock the boat in any old 33′ monohull slip.  The cost of doing just that saves huge storage and transport and launch cost each time you want to sail.

SA: What about the foils?  There seems to be plenty of conflict between the tripod/l-foil (AC45, GC32, Phantom) and 4wd/z-foil concept?

MG: One the goal of a truly exciting foiler was reached, the next most important feature was ease of use, and that means z-foils. Both foils are deployed whenever you are sailing, and rake controls for both rudders and foils are electronically controlled by helmsman or trimmer, and there’s just no comparison between z and l-foils when it comes to ease of use.

SA: At 10 meters, it’s big enough to do coastal races for sure.  Is it safe enough or are you gonna need a full-time safety tender like the GC fleet?

MG: It’s 100% pre-preg carbon fiber construction with a good Southern mast, so it is strong enough, and the boat will weigh just 1100 KG; 1500 with crew and gear.  Safety will be in the hands of the crew and skipper, but the light weight and Z-foils really help there compared to a more ‘on-the-edge’ boat that uses L-foils. Also there is room for a proper bunk, toilet, and  nav station in the center hull.

SA: And when will those 5 boats drop?

MG: All 5 boats are under construction in Holland right now, and the first will splash in late Spring 2017.

SA: The all important question: How much?

MG: The goal is under $500k

SA: That’s a fuck ton of money for a 33-foot boat, no?

MG: It’s all relative!  While multihulls are clearly dominating the discussion at the very highest levels of performance racing, they still haven’t really caught on with high-end racing in the US; think of all those mini-maxi, TP52, Carkeeks, Fast40/Melges 32/40 guys still paying for 8-15 crew to sail around at 8 knots upwind and 15-20 downwind, and almost all of those boats costing many times more than a TF-10.  We believe that foiling is a MUST for the future, but only if it can be done safely and without professional racers.  Otherwise, it just won’t catch on!

SA: So why does the TF bring in all those guys?

MG: We all love the way a GC32 looks, but the only one sold to an American (Argo) competes only in Europe.  Even a relatively inexpensive non-foiling multihull like the M32 has sold just 9 boats here in four years.  That is a great boat (I own one) but it can be scary and is always extremely physical.  The solutions we have with the TF10 answer all those questions, but they do cost money.

SA: Can you explain how?

MG: Accessibility to the masses (of high-end sailors) is the key to this thing, and when we consulted a number of the world’s top designers, we realized that all ocean-racing multihulls are trimarans for one reason only: Safety.  As I have found out numerous times on the M32, CATS CAPSIZE EASILY and pitchpole for real, and they are not capable of racing seriously and safely in a real sea state.  Converting a 33 foot cat into a wider, more technologically advanced trimaran increases the cost substantially.

SA: What about running costs? This thing is seriously high tech; does it need a high-tech support crew?

MG: It needs nothing!  Remember that guys in top Melges 20 or Melges 32 classes are already spending 300k a year easily on pros, sails, transport to regattas, etc.  TP52 guys are spending a small fortune to build their boats (which only last a year or two on that circuit) and a large fortune to race them.  The TF-10 has just 2 fully-battened sails, and unlike monohull sails, they can last for years [not if you want to win -ed].

SA: You say you won’t need pros for this boat in contrast with a GC or M32.  Why not?

MG: Most of the energy needed to sail a foiling boat goes into raising and lowering of foils during maneuvers. Like the Olympic Nacra 17, the A-Cat, or the original Hydroptère, this boat is designed to sail with all foils down so you don’t need a 1500 dollar/day Star crew to pull them up and down.  Since it is sailing on four points it is MUCH more stable than a GC, and the owner drives from the center hull all the time, so the driver need not be Usain Bolt to get across the deck in a quick gybe.  The traveler is behind the tiller, meaning you never need to let go, adding more safety at the most common time for things to go wrong.

SA: Will it still get up and go despite being designed primarily for safety?

MG: Polars are well in excess of 35 knots on some points of sail…when the crew are ready!

SA: What do you do until the crew are ready?

MG: Lift the foils slightly and you can sail just like a Corsair or Farrier for beer can races or leisure sailing with friends and family on the wide platform.  Think ‘Ferrari’ – it can go on the street, it can sit in traffic, but it can still get on a race course and put in some serious hot laps against real competition.  We can mess around in the bay or do boring old windward/leeward racing, or we can do stadium sailing, coastal racing, record attempts – and we can do a lot of this doublehanded!

SA: Thanks a lot Malcolm, and good luck with the boat.

MG: No problem.  We’ll see you when it splashes.

Title shout to one of folk/rock’s all time classics, as reimagined by a troubled legend.


December 13th, 2016 by admin