mookiesurfs

F-16 Viper or Falcon?

Recommended Posts

Can anyone do a comparison of these two F-16s? Both seem to be great boats, but I'd like to know the differences and pros and cons of each. I got Bow onto an F-16 and an F-18, and she is much happier on the -16. I'm much happier sailing with her, so that's where we're going. Just trying to pick the right boat. Probably couldn't go wrong with either one, but it would be nice to have some experienced input. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i reckon i can speak to this a little. in the simplest terms, the viper is built down from an F18, while the falcon is built up from an A Cat.

the viper, designed and built by Goodall's AHPC, has many common components with its F18 progenitor, (beams, rudders, boards, etc.) but this also makes it a bit heavier (at 129 kg or so) than the F16 class rule minimum of 104 kg. there are many more used vipers than falcons out there for sale. aluminum mast and epoxy glass construction. AHPC makes a good product, and supplies both the boat and sails.

the falcon is US-built with sails by the Glaser's loft in CA. multiple hull construction materials are available, from carbon to glass, and this boat often approaches the class minimum weight. a carbon mast is also available. it is a more elegant design, imo. this platform is the second F16 offering from Matt McDonald's Falcon Marine in FL. used Falcons are like hen's teeth. excellent fit and finish and great support direct from the factory.

both are well sorted out - good systems and materials, straight out of the box.

i've raced both. i've been Greg Goodall's crew and raced against his son Brett. i've been friends with, and competed against, Matt and Gina McDonald for years. they're all really good people.

i own a Falcon (kevlar layup with a carbon stick) - could have had either, but the Falcon is the boat for me.

happy shopping - i'm sure you'll find one that suits you well.

1267057178_20150712_1310071_edited.thumb.jpg.25105782fc113a3f28b3c7735ca263db.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the beach cat fleet in Dubai (light wind - flat water) the falcon seems to be the faster boat when both are sailed singlehanded.

The falcon is also lighter.

2-up in bigger wind & waves, i think the viper may have the edge.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it was my money, I would go for the Falcon, however price/availability is the issue. Both boats have very similar aluminum rigs and both sails are good/great, I may give the edge to Glaser in terms of ease of use (less trimming). Both are well built boats, but I prefer Matts attention to detail, build quality and slight edge in support.

John, how fast do you need to get into the back of the bus on the Viper? I've found on the C2 its a quick move back compared to the Infusion. I'm never in the Infusion foot strap and am there almost immediately in any puff on the C2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do consider the Nacra F16 as well, a few more around at not too unreasonable prices, about the same weight as the Viper and the ability on the later boat to fit C foils.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't speak to the Falcon. We regularly had a Viper race straight up with our F18 guys. Big air or not, they could hold their own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The post 2014 Nacra F16's are a solid boat and the convertible trunk is a nice plus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well that's interesting. Everyone up to now has poo-pooed the Nacra 16, for what seemed like valid reasons. Were these probably pre 2014 boats?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, samc99us said:

John, how fast do you need to get into the back of the bus on the Viper? I've found on the C2 its a quick move back compared to the Infusion. I'm never in the Infusion foot strap and am there almost immediately in any puff on the C2.

hi Sam -

F16 is so much lighter than the F18 that you'd find you have to really be mindful of your weight and where it is on the boat. more anticipation required. there's a sweet spot for pitch and yaw, and the crew has to work to stay in it. i find i'm much more active on the side of an F16 - crouch in, step back, hike hard, repeat. very rewarding, though. as the breeze comes up, there's less moving around - settle in and hang on. as mentioned above, the F16's speed is very comparable to F18 - i think the F18 has the edge up to about 10-12 knots, then they're pretty even up to about 18 knots, then the F16 really starts to shine. racing at F18 weight (about 310 pounds) in 18-20 knots, our little Falcon was first across the line, racing against F18s, Nacra 20s and an F20C - we just didn't need to depower as much, and everyone else was max downhaul and travelled out.

i've stuffed both the Viper and the Falcon to the beams and recovered - to me, the Falcon seems to dive later and slip free earlier than the Viper. subtle difference in shape. i know there are F18 drivers who feel the F16 is wildly unstable and just plain too short - they've come by their view honestly.

mookie - i'm one who poo-poos the Nacra F16 offering of any vintage. of course, form your own opinion.

IMG_8340b_edited.jpg.1d373d02b2d2f9cd0f38699bff6dc3dc.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We run 375 lbs combined crew weight on a C2 F18. No issues stuffing and don’t typically need max downhaul in anything but gnarly conditions. The big downside from the Infusion is the C2 kite up does not like to turn down once she loads up.

I wouldn’t have any reservations with going with any F16 as long as your combined crew weight is on the lighter side.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

oooooo,  aaaaaaaahhhh!  Boards? Insert from the top or bottom? Is it stable? upwind and down?

Seriously, I think we'll be on a floater for an all-around second-hand fun boat.  But, is the foiling Viper any faster around a course? As much as we multi-hull speed freaks would love more speed, it seems like development is at the point where consistent foiling requires substantial talent, and easy foiling or light wind foiling means slow foils. And, around a course, floating and foiling are a wash except for the most talented/experienced. 

Am I wrong?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is not legal for F16 racing, so hard to tell if it will be any faster around the cans.  Answer is, yes it is, in some conditions.  Very light wind it is just more drag.

Bopards insert from top.

Stable if you know what you are doing.

Design allows for second set of boards and rudders to allow for racing.  Switch out for play.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That does sound like a fun boat.

John, I was comparing notes with my comment. I have sailed the Blade F16 and the Viper F16 in breeze on conditions and lighter stuff, in breeze over 20 kts (the Viper over 30 kts), both at 330 lbs combined crew weight. In both situations I missed my F18. The F16 runs out of bow and wipes out hard very quickly in short steep chop. The Blade is the worst and I won't get on one again as I think it is a dangerous boat, it has to be sailed hard and on the edge at all times or you will pitchpole. Both react to crew placement on the wire. The F18 responds just as much but doesn't give you that instant feedback; from that perspective the F16 is a good training boat for the F18.

BTW we beat all the boats on the course over the line both times I sailed the F16; I never said it was slow, just a tad short. 17' with that rig and weight could be a real weapon.

I am interested in the foils as with C-boards and t-foil rudders I think it will make a great boat for lighter teams. The full foiling version should be interesting!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No John, but have talked to Brett about it.  Have sailed my Exploder foiling A, so have some refrence points.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks, Ken - looking forward to hearing more once the boat makes it here. did they have to move the trunks forward to foil? does that mess with the balance when using straight boards?

Sam, the Blade is certainly a different animal, but i wouldn't use the word "dangerous" - or maybe all high performance cats are dangerous. certainly less buoyancy. in racing that boat, it seemed that using the buoyancy of both hulls (rather than flying a hull) on the run was quicker. the Blade is one big step closer to an A Cat (the Classic) than the Falcon, imo.

there were the same "too short" descriptions applied when people stepped off the Nacra 20 and onto the F18. i'm not criticizing - i think that's just the discovery process with any new platform. the combo of short and light makes the F16 feel very different, but like anything, you get used to it. like a short wheelbase offroad truck - a billy goat on the trail and a bronco on the highway.

mookie - there are a few boats for sale on the east coast. i wish there were more out here in california. the Glasers have a Falcon (Long Beach), and Annie Gardner and Eric Witte have a Viper (San Diego), so when they're in town (very infrequently) we have fantastic competition. most of the time, we're sailing in a handicap fleet or with the F18s, so make sure you're okay with the reality of your racing situation.

here's the Blade...

293475678_altercup4.thumb.jpg.0cf2a36c2713fe28afe3b08d7948158d.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last I heard the plan was to have the trunk forward for foiling.  Another trunk for the stright boards in normal location.  

I have not seen the final product, so not sure if that is how things ended up.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, John Williams said:

thanks, Ken - looking forward to hearing more once the boat makes it here. did they have to move the trunks forward to foil? does that mess with the balance when using straight boards?

Sam, the Blade is certainly a different animal, but i wouldn't use the word "dangerous" - or maybe all high performance cats are dangerous. certainly less buoyancy. in racing that boat, it seemed that using the buoyancy of both hulls (rather than flying a hull) on the run was quicker. the Blade is one big step closer to an A Cat (the Classic) than the Falcon, imo.

there were the same "too short" descriptions applied when people stepped off the Nacra 20 and onto the F18. i'm not criticizing - i think that's just the discovery process with any new platform. the combo of short and light makes the F16 feel very different, but like anything, you get used to it. like a short wheelbase offroad truck - a billy goat on the trail and a bronco on the highway.

mookie - there are a few boats for sale on the east coast. i wish there were more out here in california. the Glasers have a Falcon (Long Beach), and Annie Gardner and Eric Witte have a Viper (San Diego), so when they're in town (very infrequently) we have fantastic competition. most of the time, we're sailing in a handicap fleet or with the F18s, so make sure you're okay with the reality of your racing situation.

here's the Blade...

293475678_altercup4.thumb.jpg.0cf2a36c2713fe28afe3b08d7948158d.jpg

Thanks John,

Everyone's comments have been spot on so far, and have really helped clarify the picture. I've sailed both boats, but was having trouble figuring out why my gut wanted the Falcon. I have a much better idea now.

Coming from the Taipan 4.9 with a kite, the F-16 handling is pretty sedate, imo.  The 16 has a little more power, but it is more controlled, relatively speaking. It doesn't seem as close to the edge.  And while racing, swimming, I have discovered, is slow. The Taipan solo with the kite is fun, but I have not had a chance to do that on a Falcon or Viper.

As for reasons,  two-up at 330 lbs we're too heavy for the Taipan, imo.  Also, Bow loves the F-16 self-tackers and the fairly clean tramps. Plus, having everything built  from the get-go for two-up with a spin would be really nice, despite doing our best to keep the current boat organised and up to speed.

The racing here is predominantly mixed fleet Portsmouth, and I'm completely fine with that. We'll get a fair share of F-18s at big events and the occassional F-16, so those are fun. I was kinda leaning towards an F-18 initially, but after sailing one it didn't work for Bow and I as a crew. So, the -16 will be the family boat, while I begin long term maneuvering to add an A cat to the fleet. Don't tell Bow that last little bit, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John,

  I'm not knocking the F16, my issue is more with the class organization and rules structure than the boat itself. There is also the reality that you are now competing against the Nacra 15 for youth crew and Nacra 17 Mk. 2 for young adult/competitive mixed crews and the F18 for competitive 2 crews period. Not a position I would envy in terms of class leadership.

You are spot on with the Blade, the trouble is in my local training conditions (15kts gusting 25kts) with both hulls in the water you are left with no margin when a puff hits. That is an out dated boat however. I also own a foiling A-Cat and train in the same venue, no issues with that boat because the foils basically save you.

I also think 330 lbs is the upper end for the F16. The sheet loads are more manageable for most crews, and the boat more manageable on the beach so I fully understand. I would run the small F18 kite if I was concerned about it for a breezy weekend, and stick with the larger boat. Beyond buoy racing there is no way you would convince me to take a Falcon or a Viper on a distance race more than 20 miles and even then I'm not a fan, there just isn't space for gear and in the open ocean forget about it.

Further, the main reason I personally don't own one despite having a lighter female crew is because of the races the boat is eligible for. I have little desire to travel to a 17 boat Nationals when I can travel to a 17 boat weekend race on the F18 for less money. Of course, I am regarded as a super competitive dude so that mantra generally does not fit the F16 label.

Best of luck Mookie, I am sure you will end up with a good boat and have fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sam, you have been a prince and an indispensable help while I learned the ins and outs of the 16s and 18s, and for that I am truly thankful. It will be good to meet you at a race somewhere. I like the 18. I am also lucky enough to have a wife who loves boats and sailing and likes to keep our boats. The primary goal is not to ruin that. So, we hopped on an 18 and we hopped on a 16. She liked one and not the other, and that's fine by me. There are a million boats out there, so there is no need to force her onto one she doesn't like. We'll find one we both like, and off we go.

I agree with you entirely about the F-16 class. The market is too fractured between the 15, 16, 17 and 18, and the 16 does not have critical mass like the 18 nor as large a demographic to draw from. It seems like the 16 may be on it's last legs as a one design class in the US, but that wasn't a huge issue for us. And yes, we're at the upper end for a 16, but it all goes back to the previous paragraph. If I get an 18 I'll have some ugly, swarthy, sweaty bloke up there drinking all the beer.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pity the F18 doesn't weigh 135kgs instead of 180, it would be  a stunning boat and would have moved on with the better materials and production techniques that now available.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Waynemarlow said:

Pity the F18 doesn't weigh 135kgs instead of 180, it would be  a stunning boat and would have moved on with the better materials and production techniques that now available.

Amen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/13/2018 at 5:27 AM, samc99us said:

I'm not knocking the F16, my issue is more with the class organization and rules structure than the boat itself. 

Further, the main reason I personally don't own one despite having a lighter female crew is because of the races the boat is eligible for. I have little desire to travel to a 17 boat Nationals when I can travel to a 17 boat weekend race on the F18 for less money. 

the boat is my favorite catamaran ever - i've set aside concerns about class structure, size, administration and eligibility. these are are *very* valid points, and they used to matter a lot to me. i'm in a different place now. i don't feel any less competitive in my attitude and i'm always trying to do my best, but my days of crewing at the top of the fleet in 20s or F18s are behind me - i'm over 50, and was never the body type needed for those boats anyway, so my run was always an improbable one. i'll take my successes, associations with terrific skippers, and my aging trophies on the wall with grace, and enjoy driving the boat i prefer, in a crowd or alone. i was a pretty good skipper once, but it is a perishable skill. i'm working my way back, and my boat is a joy. i only chimed in because i've had some experience in several F16s, including the two mookie is considering.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Waynemarlow said:

Pity the F18 doesn't weigh 135kgs instead of 180, it would be  a stunning boat and would have moved on with the better materials and production techniques that now available. 

It does - its called a Taipan 5.7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/14/2018 at 7:30 PM, lamorak said:

They tried that - F18HT

Never took off in the US

The HT had a consumer problem, it didn't have a jib and very few could understand the single main as a concept, great boats though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now