Monthly Archives: January 2015

An IMOCA fitted with foils


Second in the last two editions of the Vendée Globe, Armel Le Cléac’h has given himself the means to win the next race with his new 60-foot IMOCA Banque Populaire VIII, which is now into the final www of her construction. Packed with innovations, the VPLP/Verdier designed boat will be fitted with foils. After her launch planned for March, Armel Le Cléac’h will be tested in the 2015 Transat Jacques Vabre which he will race double-handed with Erwan Tabarly.

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Leçon de foils par VPLP Design

From VPLP Design

imoca vplp

Dans la classe IMOCA, le passage aux foils s’inscrit dans un courant logique. Une première évolution a été de mettre du “tilt” sur les quilles (axe de rotation de quille angulé par rapport au plan de flottaison du bateau, typiquement des angles compris entre 4 et 9° avec les nouvelles quilles standard IMOCA) , permettant de créer un angle d’attaque sur la quille et donc de soulager le bateau. La conséquence directe de cet angle de “tilt” est de perdre du couple de redressement, car la force s’exerce au vent. La continuité de cette démarche a été de travailler sur les foils pour regagner le moment de redressement perdu par la quille en continuant à alléger dynamiquement les bateaux (plus les bateaux vont vites, plus la quille et les foils portent et plus le bateau s’allège et va vite) …

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GC 32 Racing Key West Race Week 2015

Video credits: Nick Bowers / Kettle Cinema

Quantum Key West Race Week provided the opportunity for the GC32s to make a spectacular debut in the USA.

During the five days of racing held in balmy temperatures off the southernmost tip of Florida, crews experienced a range of conditions. The beginning of the week saw lighter winds in which the foiling catamarans could sail at almost twice wind speed and the 20 knots on the final day enabled them to foil not only downwind, but upwind too.
Four GC32s took part: Flavio Marazzi’s ARMIN STROM Sailing Team and Erik Maris’ ZouLou made the trip from Europe to line up against two US teams – two time Melges 32 World Champion Jason Carroll on ARGO and fellow Melges 32 sailor Alex Jackson racing Leenabarca.
ARGO set the pace at the regatta. Despite Quantum Key West Race Week being its first competitive GC32 outing, Carroll’s team benefitted from training time in Key West prior to the start and familiarity with the race course and seemed to relish the light to moderate winds early on. ARGO led up until the penultimate day, but was not dominant, with all but Leenabarca claiming bullets in races along the way.
By Thursday the ARMIN STROM Sailing Team and ZouLou crews were getting into their stride, and two races in stronger winds left the top three boats impressively tied, but with ZouLou ahead on countback, going into the final day.
Former Olympic Star sailor Flavio Marazzi’s team won the first race on the last day, the Swiss crew demonstrating their experience in the brisk conditions. They led around the top mark and then extended away.
Sadly while lying in second, one point off the lead, ARGO was forced to retire after this race when one of the fittings broke holding her transom-hung rudder to her hull – a race course littered with lobster pots providing an additional hazard for the crews.
“We thought about whether or not we could repair it or lash it in place, but given how rough it was out there it was going to be a recipe for further damage if we continued to race,” explained Jason Carroll.
With ZouLou claiming the final race, a second was enough for ARMIN STROM Sailing Team to win the GC32’s inaugural prize at Quantum Key West Race Week.
While the GC32 can easily handle 20 knot winds, Friday’s short sharp chop meant crews had to throttle back. Marazzi explained: “The problem was that if you went too fast on the downwind, you jumped out of the waves and that was a risk. Since we just had to finish the race, it was a balance between holding back and going fast enough to win the regatta.”
Despite three crews making their GC32 race debuts at Key West, Marazzi was pleased with the high level of racing and there being no stand-out crews. “It was great that everyone was on the same points going into the final day and that it doesn’t come down to the boats or materials or different sails, but boat handling and team work.”
Despite his disappointment, Jason Carroll enjoyed his week: “It was awesome – I had a great time. Clearly this was the boat to be on at this event.”
ZouLou skipper Erik Maris has previous experience on Extreme 40 and D35 catamarans, but had only spent one week training in October aboard the GC32 prior to Key West. America’s Cup multihull sailor Thierry Fouchier, the jib and the genniker trimmer on board and who has sailed most top racing multihulls, commented: “I am pretty impressed with the boat and all the systems work pretty nicely. It is still early days for the class, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t attract more and more owners and get some very good racing. The boats are easy to sail and you can learn foiling fast. And they are pretty safe which is good.”
Former Team New Zealand helmsman Cameron Appleton was calling tactics on Alex Jackson’s Leenabarca, which suffered some technical set-backs. “I’ve never come last in a regatta before and had so much fun! Alex walked away with a huge smile on his face. These boats have made multihull foiling accessible to less experienced guys. You can get into them and steer them well, then it is about refining your skills. The learning curve is huge, but it is not on a level you can never achieve.”
During the latter part of the week Appleton said they had been hitting speeds into the high 20s, but it was the GC32’s handling that was impressive: “Once you get up on the foils and you are used to the sensation, the boats are actually a lot more comfortable than you’d think. We were doing stuff that you couldn’t do on other multihulls – bearing away and so forth – you would have flipped over. After racing we power reached at an angle that you would never usually consider on a multihull, but the sense of power and control was right there.”
Flavio Marazzi is also President of the GC32 Class Association and says that he hopes GC32 racing in Florida will become a regular feature over future northern hemisphere winters.
In the meantime the GC32s are gearing up for the start of the Europe circuit, the GC32 Racing Tour, kicking off with the GC32 Austria Cup, to be held on Lake Traunsee, Austria over 27th-31st May. The participation of more teams will be announced over the next few weeks.

Adam Koch Custom Designs – AK55 first test session

This is the very first session on my new freeride, hydrofoil specific kiteboard. Inspired by the Americas Cup and Moth sailing designs. You can see there is a learning curve. You have to erase all the old school board habits and simply ride the hydrofoil more. By session number 4 I have become more comfortable with the possibilities a board like this can offer.
Although this is cutting edge and for sure the first of it’s kind… I take the information from this forward thinking board and apply them to more traditional designs.
Pushing the limits forward is my frame of mind while hanging onto what we have learned from the past. I hope you enjoy and thank you for all your support.

AquaSkipper – the Jesus-mobile

“Aquaskipper” is a human powered hydrofoil.
It’s similar to the original Swedish Trampofoil, which is no longer available.
There’s also one called the “Pumpabike” from South Africa.

They’re also called “hull-less watercraft” and “flapping wing propulsion vessels”.
You bounce up and down to make the wing fly and propel you.
If you stop you fall into the water and swim back to the dock.
It’s completely ridiculous and works really well once you get the hang of it.

Gunboat G4 will Foil


Gunboat G4 Foil

One thing is seeing a render and wonder if these guys (Gunboat & Holland Composites) are really targeting the 40′ carbon light cruiser to foil… but having an image of the ‘TNZ’ foil production mold is a big proof of their intentions.

We’ve seen the 72s and the GC32s stable flights, so the technology is proven, although getting that package on a cabin cat will be a shocking sight if any, and I wonder of the logistics/systems to be implemented to handle such a machine, as is not targeted for a full racing crew.

More info of the production plans at

Ben Ainslie Racing launches in Bermuda


Ben Ainslie Racing team training in Bermuda

Ben Ainslie is leading his team on to the waters of the America’s Cup race course in Bermuda this week. The squad is training with two foiling catamarans – the small, light, Nacra 20s – on the Great Sound.

Ainslie says the training session is important for two reasons – learning about conditions on the race course area of the America’s Cup; and upskilling the sailing team on foiling catamarans.

“Sailing the Nacra 20s here enables us to get some time on the water and get some more feedback to our designers on the conditions out here. It’s a different time of year from when the America’s Cup will be held, but it helps us understand things like wave state and the wind conditions over the island,” Ainslie said.

“It also allows us to up our skill level in the foiling 20 footers. These boats are great because it enables not just the helmsman and trimmer types to get foiling but also the bigger guys who don’t always have this opportunity to get their skill levels up as well.”

Ainslie has raced on the Great Sound before, but it’s been nearly 20 years, during a youth world championship event. He says racing on the tight confines of the race course area will be a challenge for all of the teams.

“I think it’s going to be a great challenge for all of us because the wind conditions are variable and the tight course means a lot of manoeuvring which should open up the racing,” he said.

“We’re here this week, then we’re back home and testing on the AC45 – which is going to be quite chilly – and that’s a continuing development process. We open our team base in June, which is a big milestone for us, and then we’re looking forward to the America’s Cup World Series starting in Cagliari in June and of course in Portsmouth in July.”

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Laird Foilboarding Kauai

Text from Men’s Journal

Hawaii-based videographer Adam Guy recently captured an awe-inspiring foilboarding session of Laird Hamilton in Kauai. With tow-in from a jet ski, Hamilton glides a foot above waves as he outruns the curling surf.

A foilboard is a surfboard with a hydrofoil attached below. When a surfer reaches a high enough speed — with the help of a jet ski or kite — the foil lifts the board above the water. By riding the submerged foil, surfers get a speed boost from reduced friction along with a smoother ride that’s not susceptible to choppy water…

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