Everything about the new SuperFoiler racing circuit in Australia is about adrenaline-fuelled speed – and that applies as much to the design and technical development of the equipment as to pace around the course. For the Doyle Sails team tasked with producing the horsepower for these high-octane foiling trimarans the challenge was irresistible, despite the tight timeframes for designing, developing and delivering fast one-design sails for the fleet.
The SuperFoiler circuit is the brainchild of Australian father and son duo, Bill and Jack Macartney, and aims to take over the mantle of the highly successful 18ft skiff grand prix circus, which Bill Macartney pioneered. They commissioned designers Morrelli & Melvin to come up with a supercharged small foiler, sailed by three people all on trapeze, with a brief to perform in 5-25kt. The result is a hot rod, demanding to sail but capable of speeds up to 40kt. ‘The closest thing to these boats are the America’s Cup foiling multihulls,’ says Pete Melvin. Measuring 7.9m long by 5.1m wide, with a 12.5m mast and 33m2 sail area, they are highly technical with a mass of control systems to master.
‘The power-to-weight ratio is very high, with a 5m beam and weighing only 250kg,’ says Melvin. ‘Most other boats of comparable size are two to three times heavier.’
To bring the concept to reality Doyle joined forces with Innovation Composites, who built the platforms, and Hall Spars, who supplied the rigs and foils. Doyle CEO Mike Sanderson embraced the concept, describing it as ‘the next level of excitement above the 18-footers and a whole new world’. Read on.