Gliding on the water at motorboat-like velocity can augment the thrills of sailing, and this feat can be achieved by sailing on the brand-new ‘foilers’ which are already a big hit among the sailors. Adventure-junkies and skippers can enjoy high-tailing towards distant shores with the new fleet of foilers, whose hulls reportedly hover in the air.
Anthony Kotoun, a professional sailor, grew up sailing dinghies in the Virgin Islands before he won multiple national championships piloting a ‘Moth’, which is the smallest established class of ‘foilers’. He has described the sport as extremely fast and quiet.
Amateurs can also indulge in a new fleet of more accessible foilers which allows gliding at nearly 30 knots (or over 34 mph). Sailors usually belong to two schools, the casual boaters and the racers chasing down the newest speed-boosting technologies. The recent trend includes the foil, which is a daggerboard made of carbon-fibre or aluminium that lifts the hull out of the water so that the boat can travel faster and with less power. The two schools seem to be merging on the acceptance of foil designs that are getting safer.
Jimmy Spithill, the America’s Cup-winning skipper of Oracle Team USA said that this is the future and it will become more mainstream, as at higher speeds the risks of capsizing and crashing increases. But with the foilers you can just set up the boat more conservatively by adjusting the foils to make the boat easier to handle.
The foils on smaller craft have slower and steadier designs, instead of the speed-optimised J-and-L-shaped foils which are found on most of the America’s Cup boats. Meanwhile, France-based Phantom International, employ four foils, with two of them Z-shaped, which is set up to provide increased stability.
Thijs van Riemsdijk of DNA Performance Sailing has said that with the foilers you could have fun with very little wind also. A beginner could rig and also launch the F1 A-class catamaran of the company, which is an 18-footer, from a beach in around 20 minutes. It could reach speeds of nearly 30 knots in a 15-knot wind and the starting price is around $30,000.
DNA’s new G4, a 40-footer boat is intended for weekend cruising and is priced for $1 million. Meanwhile, the founder of France’s Phantom International, Alex Udin, launched the Elite in 2014, which is a $42,500, 18-foot racing boat that could easily go twice as fast as the speed of the wind. Another latest invention, the Udin’s Essentiel, which can carry sailors on its aluminium wings can soon become a new generation of the sport as it is a much safer option.