Kite Foiler Beats Two Cats and One Moth!

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Doug Lord, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  2. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Kite Foiler Beats the World-----

    Analysis from the guys that filmed it:

    Thanks all for watching! Was a blast to make, especially being able to bring all the athletes together. Some thoughts from the race

    Kite - Dominated all around the course, truly impressive efficiency. Actually made it really hard to film since he was basically gone at the gun!

    M32 - Pointed higher than the Moth and Nacra, about the same boatspeed. Almost as fast as the kite downwind, deeper and faster than the Moth and Nacra.

    Moth - Nearly as fast as the M32 upwind, but couldn't quite hold the same angle. Pointed higher than the Nacra, but very similar VMG overall. Faster tacks than the Nacra which is why I think they rounded Mark #1 ahead both races. Downwind, similar angle to the Nacra, but at times a tiny bit slower. Jonny wiped out downwind on Race #2 while holding a 5 second lead over Casey/Page...but I think they would have passed him anyway as they were finding new modes downwind and charging!

    Nacra - Lowest angle, but very fast. Keep in mind these guys only had 5 sessions on the boat, so they will likely improve the most very quickly. Downwind they had moments that were blistering fast. Each leg they went faster then before!

    Thanks for watching and supporting Waterlust. For those commenting about "what's the point?"....there is no point, it's just fun, and that's enough motivation for us!

    cheers

    -Patrick
     
  3. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    In some ways it makes one wonder why you'd bother to get into a foiling boat, doesn't it. After all, they are fun but they are also comparatively slow (against a kite) but not cheap, widely popular, simple or good in confined waterways.

    It could be a good thing for boat sailing if they accepted that times have changed, and that the kites are now faster and boats should just concentrate on being accessible, cheaper, tougher, etc. The sport of boat sailing could get back to concentrating on the formula that classes like the RS Aero, 400, Laser, Opti, F18 etc follow, because that's the formula that is popular enough to keep the sport viable.

    The growth in the Aero (the first shipments have only just gone out and yet there are apparently the number of Aeros on order is similar to the number of foiler Moths that have been sold in a decade!) and the continued strength of classes like the Laser show how popular the practical boats can be.
     
  4. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    The ability to access higher wind speed at higher altitude often wins. It looks like it was a low wind day. Didn't they do a big foiling free-for-all race at the conference? My recollection is that lots of kites showed up and they did not win.
     
  5. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Foiling is the Future

    While the kite foiler is revolutionizing kite sailing if you think a Moth is tough to learn this has got to be exponentially tougher from the stuff I've read and the testing I've witnessed.
    Sailboats that foil offer better ride and faster sailing(than other sailboats).
    Foilers are not limited to high performance, super fast, high top end boats: they can be designed to foil in very light air-under 5 knots-opening up a whole new space for sailing above the water. That was part of the problem with the Rave and Trifoiler-they could only foil above 10-12 knots of wind.
    The sky is the limit in foilers to come-comfort, ease of sailing, foiling in light air-a whole new way to sail-and mostly-to have fun.
     
  6. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Modern foilers have been on the water for about a decade. In that time they have shown some brilliant performance, but the numbers remain very small.

    There were just 15 kitefoils at the US titles; 6 competed at the Australian titles; apparently just 20 at the World Cup.

    In foiling dinghies, Moths doing really well numbers-wise at world titles and at national level in Oz and the UK, but overall world membership is "stagnant" at about 360 (compared to 10,000 in Lasers). The R Class has dropped down to just 6 boats at the nationals since foiling arrived. The RS600 FF is a dead class.

    When foiling arrived in multis, we saw the smallest AC for decades. The next AC may be about the second smallest for decades. Off the beach foilers are going fast but numbers remain small.

    So what's the total number of foilers sailing at world level? It like there's less than 200 after a decade and lots of promotion. In major nations like the USA it seems that there are just 40 sailing foilers of various types at national titles. In Australia and the UK the average is roughly 100 or so.

    In the same era, simple watersports like Stand Up Paddleboarding and Hobie type sailing kayaks have become extremely popular, regularly attracting much bigger fields that foiling events. It's also funny to see how many people who are world class in high-performance sailing have moved to SUP racing. New classes of conventional boats (Aeros, Fevas, Waves, Wetas) are selling much faster than foilers - and unlike foilers, no one's writing off millions of dollars promoting them at a loss.

    Foiling's fun, but the sooner it's seen as a minority interest, and perhaps essentially as a separate sport, the better IMHO - then sailing can get back to promoting the simple, tough, cheap and accessible gear that caused past booms in sailing and current booms in SUPping, kayaking, road cycling etc.
     
  7. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Foiling Generation!

    "Modern foiling" still hasn't arrived yet but its well on its way led by the Moth and the revolutionary UptiP foil which is the first single mainfoil for a catamaran(or trimaran) capable of controlling altitude with no moving parts on the foil. The refinement of the UptiP foil on the Flying Phantom, GC 32, the C Class Groupama and the soon to be sailing Exocet 19' trimaran and the Fire Arrow test model have produced foils with automatic altitude control requiring no foil adjustment by the crew in some cases and ,at any rate, much less foil adjustment that was required in 34.
    Not only that but the science behind the UptiP foil is now being used on Open 60's to provide vertical lift, lateral resistance and increased RM in one single foil eliminating the need for the traditional daggerboards on some boats.
    New boats using foils are being introduced more frequently than ever before -foiling is going to change the way a great number of people sail.
    The Red Bull Foiling Generation program aimed at young people is just getting started and hopefully it will help produce a whole new generation of foiling sailors.
    The revolution has barely just begun- the excitement it generates is simply awesome-it will have a profound effect on all of sailing!
     
  8. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Something like 9,600 British sailors do national sailing titles each year.*

    Some 70 of them are on foilers.

    In what activity is something done by .007 of the national-level active population "revolutionary"?

    If we look at the way foilers have grown in the UK, and allowing for the fact that there was already an active Moth class there, it seems that on current growth rates foilers will make up 25% of national-level sailing in the year 2075....

    That's a very slow "revolution". Put it this way, if the American Revolution had followed that same timetable of 200 years to victory, the British would still be in charge when the Laser and Hobie were around. If the Russian Revolution worked as slowly as the foiling "revolution", the Czars would still hold half the country. This is a revolution for turtles.

    And we can't forget that cats, windsurfers, kites and canoes were vastly more popular within a shorter time than foilers. They show that even something with much faster initial growth will normally tail off pretty quickly.

    While we're looking at trends, it's probably fair to say that the 'growth' in foilers in the UK seems to have hit a very flat spot a couple of years back, with a recent revival. And there has been very little growth at national level in real terms in places like NZ and the USA.

    Are foilers great? Yep. I quite enjoyed the couple of times I've foiled a mono in a nice breeze (in front of witnesses, unlike some people) but is the hype from some quarters overblown? Yep.


    * I use the Brits because Y&Y creates good stats, and they probably have more active sailors at national level than any other country.
     
  9. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    IMO, foiling is a fascinating stuff, whether you are looking at it with favor or not. Being essentially an aeronautical engineer borrowed to THE nautical world, I do like the idea of applying foils to boats.

    But when it comes to the potential of the diffusion of hydrofoils, I don't see things as pink for sailboats as Doug does. I had given a few thoughts to it lately - so this is my opinion:

    1) When it comes to sailboats, foiling will imo remain a niche for young and physically fit sailors who want to feel the thrill of speed. It requires a learing curve and lots of training, a good coordination and an acceptance of the fact that from time to time one can get catapulted in water at very high speeds. The latter fact can be a significant barrier to older sailors. A young body can deal with physical traumas much better than the older one.
    Besides that, there is a cost issue. Whether it is an add-on or a built-in feature of a sailboat, a foiling system is a complex product which requires a good engineering, high-strength materials and complex mold shapes. Each one adds cost to the basic product, which is a classical boat hull (whether mono or multi). Unfortunately, our world is drifting towards a future in which money will be very scarce for a huge percentage of population, so the cost will become a primary parameter for choosing one's sport.
    Unless a radical change in the world economy happens, the vast majority of sailing population will IMO keep choosing the less costly options, like classic (yet high-performance) mono and multihulls. Besides various types of board sailing, of course.

    2) Powerboats are probably better platforms for the application of hydrofoils. Having an on-board power source they can be equipped with fully-automatic ride-control devices (not a necessity though), and plus they can offer a comfort which can attract a much broader part of the boating community. Since they are not pushed by often treacherous wind, there is much less probability to get thrown in the air by a wind gust or instability.
    And it also comes almost natural to think about a combination of electric propulsion and foiling. IMO, in the future we shall see a boom in the design and production of boats like this one: http://www.gizmag.com/quadrofoil-hydrofoil-electric-personal-watercraft/34528/ - that is exactly how I see a relatively cheap and fast foiling experience for everyone. Kind of Volkswagen of hydrofoil boating. :)

    That's my two cents worth.
     
  10. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    A very reasonable opinion with tangible support. Kudos for not falling into a rant.

    IMHO your prediction that foiling will not be more than a small fraction of one design sail race share is quite likely and development classes might buckle under the cost of foiling performance and ban them to increase participation. The pivotal question is the cost/enjoyment that foiling presents. CT's case is that the cost is high and the risk that the investment will be obsolete in a short time is higher. Sailing class popularity historically has little correlation with speed.

    The counterpoint would be that your data is all backward looking -of course there are far more old boats than new. The correct statistics would be foiling sailboats produced in a recent period vs the number of non-foiling produced in the same period and what are the dynamics of the ratio? Is the share shifting in favor of foiling? What is the retention rate/churn for foiling sailors? There is no question that foiling is getting marquee names that designers covet. As an answer to "what's new and exciting in sailing?" foiling ranks high with the round the buoys crowd -like it or not. The question I don't have an answer to is the leveling of competition -this is a critical hurdle of sailboat racing and I don't know the answer. Are the races more compelling to buyers of boats? Red Bull thinks it is if only for the 'look at me' value.

    To me foiling is a key technology for doing something that sailing has needed for years -offer an alternative to the rule that bigger is faster. Even after the Gee-Wiz phase has passed sailors that want to go fast will see foiling as a valuable option compared to larger boats and their higher cost to campaign. This will be my approach -not a way to make fast boats faster but a way to make fast boats smaller and cheaper.

    CT's comparison to the popularity of kayaks and SUP is evidence that sailing (not just foiling) is missing market opportunity. My view of the problem is that sailing just doesn't fit most peoples schedules as well as paddle craft. The confluence of the sailors available time, the weather, and the water is just too small compared to the cost of ownership. Leisure time is just too precious to spend bobbing around because the wind died. My approach will be to sell new sail craft to the larger paddle market rather than try to take sailor share. Sailing has simply done too little at the entry level.
     
  11. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Foiling Generation

    Actually the revolution is quite pervasive and not limited to just sailboats:
    click--
     

    Attached Files:

  12. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Sky and Daiquiri, good posts. Just to reiterate, I'm not saying that foiling isn't great fun, fascinating and a great part of the sport - just that claims that foiling is "the future" or "a revolution" are arguably overblown.

    Re "The counterpoint would be that your data is all backward looking -of course there are far more old boats than new."

    Sure, but the same applied in earlier situations when new types (such as plastic beach cats, windsurfers, 'family' dinghies and kites) came on the scene and in most (perhaps all) of those situations, the new types of boats formed a much larger proportion of the total fleet a decade after they arrived.

    For example, 9 years after the Windsurfer was created they were selling over 13,000 each year, and that's just the Windsurfer (TM) brand, so windsurfers were over 100 times as popular as foilers at a comparable stage in development.

    As another example, just three years after the Mirror Dinghy was launched into a crowded marketplace, there were 5,000 of them afloat. And even a boat as big as the J/24 sold far more boats in its first few years than the foilers have done in their first few years, it seems.

    So new types can become a major bigger proportion of the sailing scene that foilers have become, even when seen against the mass of older boats. The RS Aero might prove that the same can be done today.

    "The correct statistics would be foiling sailboats produced in a recent period vs the number of non-foiling produced in the same period and what are the dynamics of the ratio?"

    That'd be partly correct, wouldn't it? You can have a great initial surge of demand for a niche product, but it may never go beyond being a minority interest.

    There's about 150 Moths built each year, and an unknown (so far) number of other foilers. There are about 100 Finns sold each year, a couple of hundred F18s, 150 or so 29ers, 1000 Sunfish, 300+ 420s, 1710 Lasers despite the lawsuits, 400 RS Fevas, and allegedly a similar number of RS Aeros. Add the other non-foiling classes and all the yachts and the claims of a "revolution" can be seen in context.

    "Is the share shifting in favor of foiling?"

    There has to be a share shift in favour of any new technology, but that doesn't mean they develop past a niche interest. There was a vast share shift towards windsurfing, for example, but that collapsed. Same with the share shift towards big high performance cats or skiff types.

    All of these types are great (as are foilers) but all demonstrate that even if you achieve initial growth then it doesn't necessarily revolutionise the sport.

    "What is the retention rate/churn for foiling sailors?"

    Quite high, according to a chart on the Oz Moth website and people I know. They are great fun but seem to require great commitment.

    "There is no question that foiling is getting marquee names that designers covet. As an answer to "what's new and exciting in sailing?" foiling ranks high with the round the buoys crowd -like it or not"

    It's not whether I like it or not, it's whether the question is a popular one and what the answer is. Around my club and my old club (which can both start 50-70 centreboarders each week) the questions don't often arise. People have seen foilers in action and everyone knows that they can be amazing, but whether young or old, they don't seem to consider them in their sailing future. That's partly because of the conditions we sail in, but if that's the attitude around here - the world centre for high-performance dinghies - I get the strong feeling that typical sailors don't really care.

    Lots of the sailing media make a big deal about foiling, but IMHO that is just an example of the sort of out-of-touch thinking that has seen magazine sales plummet.

    As noted, foilers are great. But the objective analysis of sales, market surveys and other factors that drive participation in sport seem to show that, as Skyak says, the real growth would come about if sailing could look towards simpler, cheaper and less time-consuming forms of the sport.

    The real growth area in sailing seems to be kites and poly plastic boats like the RS Feva, Hobie Waves, Hobie Adventure Island etc. These are selling in much higher numbers than the foilers and yet the mainstream sailing world is pretty much ignoring many of them, while focussing on the wonderful yet tiny world of foilers.
     
  13. snowbirder

    snowbirder Previous Member

    Foilers interest me, but the draft makes them less than practical.
     

  14. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    I live just north of Melbourne where for well over 20 years Dr. Sam Bradfield designed and developed foilers.
    I've lived in Florida most of my life and there sure are a lot of shallow areas and a lot of places with 3-5' and more. I'm curious: how much water would you consider enough?
     
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