After Vendée Globe winners Team Banque Populaire elected to go with B&G for the pilot systems on their own first fully foiling Ultim we spoke to B&G’s R&D team about their rather enormous new brief…
‘Sailing upwind everything feels relaxed and calm, and you’re unaware that you’re doing 23kt,’ says Matt Eeles, B&G’s R&D lead on the Banque Populaire project, ‘but as you bear away onto a reach you really feel the power and acceleration. Your senses are heightened as the full power from the canted wing mast and the sails rapidly accelerates the boat from 20 to 40kt.
‘With the foils raked back and emitting a resonating scream there is no sign of the bows burying. Looking outside the helm position without goggles is nearly impossible as the apparent wind beats you in the face and your eyes hurt as you try to stare at the foils to see all three hulls flying in the air.
‘We frequently saw SOG go into the 40s, peaking at well over 40kt under pilot when fast reaching in 25kt TWS,’ he adds. ‘High averages will be crucial for this project and I can easily see them being able to achieve averages into the high 30s sailing downwind while maintaining a safe and stable platform. After reaching at over 40kt, downwind at 35kt was quite a pleasant ride!’