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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.