mookiesurfs

To Foil or not to Foil, that is the question

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Just to add to the dumpster fire that is 2020, Bow says she thinks she's done with the F-16.

I guess I'm not surprised. It's been awhile since she ran through the parking lot in high heels after work to jump on the boat. She wants to race our S2 7.9 more. Bless her heart she loves our boats, and I love her, so that is what we will do. I've been racing the F-16 single handed, and it does very well, but it has occurred to me that there might be better ways to race cats solo. I have begun to cast covetous eyes upon the A-cats. Sexy, and fast upwind. Be still, my heart.

So, to foil or not to foil. Selling the F-16 puts either one into the price range. It will be mostly local  handicap or one design racing; I don't think regional or national competition will be on my radar, but who knows.

Trade-offs: What does a foiler give up to a C-board? Vice versa? How comparable are they upwind? Downwind seems pretty obvious. What's the effort and skill level comparison?

It wouldn't be fun to slog around 90% of the time just to foil 10% of the time, IF that were the situation. Or are the foiling boats always hauling the mail, just sometimes more so on foils? What are the give and takes, pros and cons? Anyone want a mint F-16? Bow says the 7.9 stays, period dot end. I count myself lucky.

 

 

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A small foiling cat is a complete hoot.  Not sure you'll win races - takes some time and learning to make it pay - but it's just sheer fun.

Besides a-cats, I'd look at Stunt S9, iFly, Whisper and Nacra 15. The first two are mainly solo boats, but can take a 2nd sailor. The Whisper is for two, but it's easy to solo, and can carry 3. The N15 I haven't sailed, seems to be versatile and it's more like an a cat in that it doesn't have ride height control.

They all have tradeoffs, so you can decide on those and price/availability. On this very forum there are massive threads about Stunt and Whisper.

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I sail a classic A Cat.  Modern C board boats are great bits of kit, and a useful step up from an F16, after a while you won't even miss the kite.  It's funny, in 22 knots of wind, I already feel fast and scared enough to not miss foiling?  Your mileage may vary.  It's also a great class to join, something I'd miss with a Stunt/iFly etc.

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Yes, I'm really looking at A-cats and the class. The boats are beautiful and fast, and the class seems fun. Not really set on foiling or not, just trying to decide which boat is best suited to beer holders.

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I've sailed several foiling platforms and currently own a Nacra 20 FCS.  The S9 is a ton of fun and can be setup with a jib and a small spinnaker (for light air).  The boat suffers when the wind is light and the foils are on, but is comparatively much quicker if you remove them and sail with plain straight boards.

I had a 2004 Marstrom A and was a lot of fun; it had been retrofited with curved boards and was still close to minimum weight and VERY stiff.  I sold it when I bought the Nacra, but would have kept it if I had space.  My biggest/only real complaint was downwind in light-medium conditions, it suffered badly and I was in the process of putting a spinnaker on it until I bought the new boat.

If you're looking for beer holders, I'm not sure that either of those if right, lol.  The S9 doesn't have a lot of space and the A will certainly spill anything without a lid!

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Yeah, just kidding about the beer holders. The goal is fun not stress, and I like working hard, but I'm not sure where a foiling A sits with that criteria. A floater certainly meets the goal; I'm working on how a foiler fits in for me.

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Exploder and DNA both offer a C board that fits the Z foil case, so you can have a foiler with a classic option.  

Quick disclaimer, am not sure how good a foiler with C boards would be, compared to a purpose built classic, as the heavier overall weight and further forward board position, and the big assed rudders, may all work against you, at least in lighter winds, possibly.  

But I am probably wrong.  Would love to know.  Hope it works better than expected, as there are a lot of foiler platforms reaching the end of their premier league lifespans, would be happy to find they could make competitive classics, without having to chop them about too much, as the current classic breading stock is getting a bit long in the tooth.

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Thanks Max, good to know.

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Disclaimer, I sail one of the “old breeding stock” classics.  Those boats pretty much rule in light air, although most people don’t like to sail or race in light air :-). Trapeezing downwind has upped the game for the classics, and the purpose-built new classics look pretty fast.  I haven’t seen a lot of the convertible boats but so far the foilers look very draggy in c board versions.  Classics are very simple (although adjustable rake dagger boards adds a big variable), and the foilers seem to keep getting more complex :-).   Do you like to tinker as much as you like to sail?    Do you want to be challenged or do you want to go fast quickly (with your experience the classic will be pretty familiar).  One other little detail, I bet you can find a competitive used classic cheaper than a good used foiler.

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Upwind there is not much difference between classic and foiler across the wind range unless: 1) there are weeds and then the classic sailor can clear them more easily or 2) it is windy and the foiling sailor can make foiling upwind pay.  Downwind in non-foiling conditions the classic goes better, but it doesn't take much wind to foil.

If you sail off a beach with waves, you'll have a much easier time launching and retrieving on the classic.  If you sail on somewhat flat water with 8 knots to 15 knots, you will love the foiling runs and likely get addicted.  If you sail at a lake with weeds and light and variable air all the time, go classic.  If you want to minimize athletic requirements, go classic as foiling takes a higher level of fitness.

Convertibles that do both are a cool idea but not ideal from a pure racing standpoint.  For a classic boat as it will carry more water around in the daggerboard trunks and maybe have rudders that are too long and for a foiler, convertibles tend not to have the most current foils.

Picking the type of boat you want to sail is more a philosophy and knowing what you want to do versus a technical matter on boat speed for most people.  The North American scene scores classics and foilers separately most of the time so pick the type of boat you want to sail and enjoy it.  Both groups of sailors love their boats and the Worlds will be in St Petersburg, FL in the fall of 2021 with the North Americans still taking place there in 2020 too.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Lost in Translation said:

Upwind there is not much difference between classic and foiler across the wind range unless: 1) there are weeds and then the classic sailor can clear them more easily or 2) it is windy and the foiling sailor can make foiling upwind pay.  Downwind in non-foiling conditions the classic goes better, but it doesn't take much wind to foil.

If you sail off a beach with waves, you'll have a much easier time launching and retrieving on the classic.  If you sail on somewhat flat water with 8 knots to 15 knots, you will love the foiling runs and likely get addicted.  If you sail at a lake with weeds and light and variable air all the time, go classic.  If you want to minimize athletic requirements, go classic as foiling takes a higher level of fitness.

Convertibles that do both are a cool idea but not ideal from a pure racing standpoint.  For a classic boat as it will carry more water around in the daggerboard trunks and maybe have rudders that are too long and for a foiler, convertibles tend not to have the most current foils.

Picking the type of boat you want to sail is more a philosophy and knowing what you want to do versus a technical matter on boat speed for most people.  The North American scene scores classics and foilers separately most of the time so pick the type of boat you want to sail and enjoy it.  Both groups of sailors love their boats and the Worlds will be in St Petersburg, FL in the fall of 2021 with the North Americans still taking place there in 2020 too.

 

 

Now that's the info I was looking for. What's all the discussion about trunk position?

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I have two A's a 2018 and 2016 AD3. The 2016 has the foils at 600mm back (400 on 2018), it is set up as a convertible, foils great both upwind and down and you need to be a better sailor than me to pick the difference the foil position makes foiling, though it is better balanced when non foiling upwind. I think it is perfectly possible to have an A which is competitive in both modes. 

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If you want an A-cat, you have great info coming. 

If you want something that allows you to relax a bit and enjoy while foiling, I can only recommend boats with T foils and ride height control. Cats with a wand connected to a flap in the main foil are much closer to the "has beer can holders" level -- after an initial learning curve.

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I have owned the 50, 40, and 45 cm board placement for the AD3.  And the 80 or 90 or whatever is what on the early foiling boats.  

I agree with Rawhide that all of the AD3's are nice.  In North America, I don't think there are any 60 cm back AD3's.  If you find one you like, Mookie, get it.  The boats have been very modular with new boards and rudders relatively easy to install if desired.  You could even get an older eXploder and would recommend one with Z10 or newer daggerboards as those can be swapped with newer boards or C boards easily if you like.

Another nice, used buy for classic / foiler would be an original DNA F1.  

Each time I write a model, I think of others.  There are many good models out there from the past.  Feel free to post or contact if you have questions are you contemplate purchase.

We all know Martin will eventually get an A too so he can join the large fleet in Florida. :)

 

 

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Thank you very much for the info. I'm going to look at a 2015 DNA tomorrow with F1 boards. I don't know the beam position on these boats, but I'm open to putting in C boards in if foiling doesn't work out. It would be great to give foiling a go, though.

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Those were probably the best foiling boats of that era.  Great boat.  I imagine you can get some C's in too but am not positive as those Z's come with assymetric daggerboard cases I believe.  Hope it goes well and you get it!

 

 

 

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While most of the advise given above is spot on, I think there is something missing from the equation. Your decision about which boat to get should be influenced by how much time you can put in. If you are going to sail every 3-4 weeks, unless you are some sailing god, you do not need the very latest foiler, because to take advantage of that needs time on the water. The "Holy Grail" is upwind foiling which takes 2 things, time on the water and the right boat set up. If you cannot put in the time, you will have just as much fun on an older boat that is set up properly to foil downwind, but which would also take C foils.

Upwind foiling is both significantly more difficult than downwind, an far scarier. I am lucky to train with the best upwind foilers probably anywhere and they have finally found a way of getting this old man to get going and I can tell you that doing 22 knots upwind is far scarier than 27-28 knots downwind. Why is it so scary? Because you have an apparent wind of35 knots plus rushing past your face and ears which is a sensory bombardment, plus the most difficult thing is working out how to stop without crashing! Yes, when you get it right it is probably the very best feeling in sailing (F50 sailors say that an A upwind is right up there in sailing experiences because we are so close to the water) but you need to be prepared to put the work in. If you do, the rewards are there and you will beat a classic upwind 12 knots plus, or if you are right up there in skill, in 10 knots.

However, for most, the thrill of the downwind is more than enough and they really don't want to put in the time or get that scared (I sometimes think I am mad). I personally think that for most, the idea of a "convertible" is the way to go. You can choose the right configuration for the conditions each day and get the most out of your boat. Best of all, the boats most suitable for this are ones that don't break the bank (relatively!). Even then, this is probably the place to start because if you get addicted to foiling and want more, you then upgrade and there will always be a demand for decent convertibles. And if you are happy, you have saved a lot of money.

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A seasoned A-cat sailor explained it to me like this:

- For pure fun, go foiling. It's not important to have the latest and greatest.

- For average racing, a competitive C board is good.

- For serious national or international racing, you're getting back into the latest and greatest foilers.

The first two are what I'm aiming at, and since the racing is beer can racing, an older foiler will work.

So, I got the 2015 DNA. It really is a beautiful boat, and it has some nice updates like a deck sweeper and F1 boards. I can't wait to get it on the water.

What do you guys think about helmets?  Yes or no?

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The helmet is a matter of personal preference and comfort.  For me it would be yes.   Note that they are compulsory on the F50's, GC32's, AC boats etc etc

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11 hours ago, mookiesurfs said:

A seasoned A-cat sailor explained it to me like this:

- For pure fun, go foiling. It's not important to have the latest and greatest.

- For average racing, a competitive C board is good.

- For serious national or international racing, you're getting back into the latest and greatest foilers.

The first two are what I'm aiming at, and since the racing is beer can racing, an older foiler will work.

So, I got the 2015 DNA. It really is a beautiful boat, and it has some nice updates like a deck sweeper and F1 boards. I can't wait to get it on the water.

What do you guys think about helmets?  Yes or no?

You might consider a kickboxing padded vest. Rib fractures are a thing. 

And tight, too short footstraps so you can't get your foot fully in. So it comes out in a bad pitchpole. Might save your knee.

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Most of the foilers wear a helmet when it is foiling weather.  If it is a light day with little to no foiling, I personally like to wear a hat as it is not as hot and provides more sun protection.  

Get a helmet made for sailing.  I tried a cheaper one at first from REI for paddling and it didn't work for me.

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I've got a Forward Wip in the cart on Murrays. Probably gonna pull the trigger on that.

Also, why is it every cat I buy requires a goddamn Physics PhD to rig the first time. WTF.

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Absolutely wear a helmet and make sure it is done up properly so that it cannot come off when it is needed most. I know of somebody who was wearing a helmet, had flew forward on an A, doesn't know what happened except he found himself in front of the front beam with his helmet on the tramp and a very sore head and what turned out to be a significant concussion. I don't know if I have hit my head/helmet but the top sailors in the class wear one and they are at least risk so why wouldn't everybody else. I personally believe it should be added to the class rules, like it is with the Nacra 17.

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The pre hydrofoil A Cat is a very sweet boat. In a normal breeze you fly a hull up wind and down.  One reason for this is that they are light. By comparison every beach cat is a tank, so you have to treat the A with much more care because they are built to be strong enough to sail fast, but not strong enough to be abused. 

One reality of the A cat is that it will leave you swimming a long way from shore if you ever take your hands off it. When capsized, they blow downwind about twice as fast as you can swim.  If you fall off, they just sail away.

The Foiling A has some nasty tricks and is probably 3 times harder to sail.  As a comparison, in the pre foil days no one tipped over in fairly breezy races.  In Foiling it seems that one or two boats crash on every down wind leg.

SHC

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SHC,

   I disagree with you in terms of the crashes for the foiling boats here in 2020. Certainly the first gen or 2 were as you say. Over the past two years, the boats have become much more stable and easier to sail downwind, and the foils plus large winglets generally give you a ton of pitch stability and margin to push. This can be validated with the number of mast breakages, which has gone down over that time frame as well.

Where the foilers have become harder to sail is upwind, as the top guys are now foiling upwind and in lower wind speeds than ever before. Mastering this technique is tricky, and generally associated with a fair number of wipeouts!

Everything you say about the classic A remains true, they are fantastic boats to sail in all conditions.

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On 6/16/2020 at 1:59 PM, Steve Clark said:

The pre hydrofoil A Cat is a very sweet boat. In a normal breeze you fly a hull up wind and down.  One reason for this is that they are light.

 

As a comparison, in the pre foil days no one tipped over in fairly breezy races.  In Foiling it seems that one or two boats crash on every down wind leg.

SHC

I agree with Steve that the pre foiling boats were/are very sweet, but disagree with him on the tipping over front.

394061_10150533989716699_563321698_8992330_225550026_n.jpg.78cc3bb73606ca05c86a605a73c86067.jpg

That's Nathan Outteridge sailing a pre-foiling A in 15-18 knots and I can show you lots of other photos of lesser sailors doing very similar things. I think at that particular championships Nathan had 3 swims, Tom Slingsby 1, Stevie Brewin 1, Darren Bundock 1 and Jimmy Spithill 2. If you push hard, the A can bite. Things are easier today on non foiling boats because they have winglets on the rudders, which help stop the above from happening. For those who aren't quite so suicidal, when the bow begins to go down, sail lower and put both hulls in the water. You still go pretty fast but with twice as much buoyancy, it's a lot safer.

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On every forum where we talk about foiling catamarans it seems that only A cat exists. how boring, always the same things.;)

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10 hours ago, ita 16 said:

On every forum where we talk about foiling catamarans it seems that only A cat exists. how boring, always the same things.;)

Don't understand, how can a 5,5m 75kg cat with 150 square foot sail area be boring?  You should build some.  If I buy any other foiling or high performance singlehanded cat, who do I race against?

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11 hours ago, ita 16 said:

On every forum where we talk about foiling catamarans it seems that only A cat exists. how boring, always the same things.;)

If you bothered reading properly, you would have noted that the original poster asked about A's. The first person to respond mentioned other classes to which the OP stated he was really only looking at A's. Surely it would be very strange or even rude, having already offered alternatives to the A and been told that he isn't interested, to continue talking about other foiling cats.

Yet again, your obsessive dislike of the A's leads you to post something inappropriate on a thread about the A Class. Maybe you would have better spent your time trying to understand why the A's have grown in popularity over the last few years in most places, probably because of features as a choice between classic and foiling or maybe even a boat that can be either depending how you feel or on the conditions. A's are now developed to the point that foiling is now so much easier than it used to be and is within the grasp of most sailors. The other factor is that the A's can still attract good fleets for racing, something the new foiling cat classes haven't yet achieved. That doesn't mean there isn't room in the market for those classes, but maybe people, other than you, realise that once discussed on a thread and dismissed by the person asking the questions, it would be wrong and rude to continue talking about those classes unless it is to correct information posted by others.

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On 6/18/2020 at 7:17 PM, ita 16 said:

On every forum where we talk about foiling catamarans it seems that only A cat exists. how boring, always the same things.;)

Bitter former builder spurned. 

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To be fair, OP mixed mentions of interest in a-cats, sailing with his crew/partner, and beercan-holders.

I took this to mean he was casting a broad net. All the same, I don't mind the a-cat discussion.

One day, I'll also own an a-cat, a moth, and fund a shore team to keep the fleet in tip-top condition :-)

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7 hours ago, martin 'hoff said:

To be fair, OP mixed mentions of interest in a-cats, sailing with his crew/partner, and beercan-holders.

I took this to mean he was casting a broad net. All the same, I don't mind the a-cat discussion.

 

I hope you didn't think I was in any way saying you posted something not relevant. Your comments were reasonable, and once the OP had responded, you left it at that. My issue is with ita 16 who constantly attacks everything A Class and shamelessly promotes his own (very good) boat at the expense of all others.

Quote

One day, I'll also own an a-cat, a moth, and fund a shore team to keep the fleet in tip-top condition :-)

Funny thing is, I suspect even if you could, you wouldn't, or at least not for long. I know people who have owned both and they have tended to sail one over the other to the point that one just gathers dust. You tend to be in one camp or the other. 

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Moving on the the feeding and care of an A-cat, and carbon fiber in general, there have been a few unforeseen hiccups. I had planned to store the boat mast up (lucky me), but some people have cautioned me about leaving a carbon mast up and unprotected. Some have also said even if you paint it black, the thermal cycling will kill it. I emailed Fiber Foam, and they said not to worry, there will be surface degradation over time, but no structural harm. What do you guys think?

Also, how much purchase does an outhaul need. Right now it has 4:1 that can't really be changed in the water. Wouldn't a 2:1 into a jam cleat or something work?

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My rig is up at the club right now, but the sun is less brutal here in MD than say Florida. Ideally you would cover the rig for long term storage, some mast covers can be put on by tipping the boat. That leaves the best option-paint it Awlgrip white or vinyl wrap it white. The slight penalty is worth it for the long term protection.

2:1 on a cleat for the outhaul works just fine.

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Fibrefoam know best, lots of boats of all classes leave carbon masts up in the sun.  Some people paint their masts, or varnish, but the additional weight aloft is a bad thing, and paint can make it look like you are hiding damage if you ever sell.  I use aerospace protectant 303 to keep the sun off, it's like sunscreen, applied monthly, seems to help.  Wax polish works as well.  Take your mast down, and cover, if you're not going to use for a while, or if a storm is coming, or during off season.

Much bigger problem for me, my boat lives in a windy place.  Firstly, like most people, I tie the trap lines down to strong points either side of the boat, secondly, lash up your rotation, to stop the mast flapping about, and finally, throwing a line around the mast over the spreader and tie off to the side seems to help control rig resonance.  30 knots plus can destroy an A cat mast, if it starts to flap around in the wind

Outhaul, it's set and forget for the day.  If you have a straight boom, tensioning the downhaul also flattens the bottom automatically, due to the angle of the boom, so that takes care of upwind / downwind changes.  Make sure you calibrate and mark the tightest you would ever want the outhaul, as if it is too tight, when you pull on max downhaul, it can pull the tack out of the mast luff groove.  Looser outhaul than you might expect is usually better anyway.

Hope you get much fun from your new ride, post pictures please.

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There she is. I managed to not flip it the first time I sailed it, but I got pretty close. It would be nice to have a practice sail to fall through; this one is very nice. Does anyone have a line on a "gently raced" deck sweeper?

It also needs a trailer. It seems possible that the weight of a nice used galvanized trailer might be an asset because it would help hold things down. Thoughts? Are there any tricks to setting up rails for the beams to rest on?

20200618_150408.jpg

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On 6/13/2020 at 4:32 AM, SimonN said:

Upwind foiling is both significantly more difficult than downwind, an far scarier. I am lucky to train with the best upwind foilers probably anywhere and they have finally found a way of getting this old man to get going and I can tell you that doing 22 knots upwind is far scarier than 27-28 knots downwind. Why is it so scary? Because you have an apparent wind of35 knots plus rushing past your face and ears which is a sensory bombardment, plus the most difficult thing is working out how to stop without crashing! Yes, when you get it right it is probably the very best feeling in sailing (F50 sailors say that an A upwind is right up there in sailing experiences because we are so close to the water) but you need to be prepared to put the work in. If you do, the rewards are there and you will beat a classic upwind 12 knots plus, or if you are right up there in skill, in 10 knots.

Having never sailed an A-cat I keep wondering what makes it so much more difficult to foil upwind than downwind. The scary part I can understand. For me at least on the moth it is actually way easier. I've had to sail back a couple of times even with a broken pushrod and I could manage it upwind, not so much downwind. Waves makes much less difference upwind too.

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Class rules limits the span of foils, so the take off velocity is high, which limits the foiling range upwind !

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17 hours ago, mookiesurfs said:

There she is. I managed to not flip it the first time I sailed it, but I got pretty close. It would be nice to have a practice sail to fall through; this one is very nice. Does anyone have a line on a "gently raced" deck sweeper?

It also needs a trailer. It seems possible that the weight of a nice used galvanized trailer might be an asset because it would help hold things down. Thoughts? Are there any tricks to setting up rails for the beams to rest on?

20200618_150408.jpg

Mookie,

   I have a well worn Brewin I would be willing to sell. I also have a year old Brewin I would consider selling.

   Generally yes, the galvanized trailer is a little better for single stacking/beach storage because of the weight. That being said, Owens and Sons in St. Petersburg FL build a really nice aluminum trailer that has become the class go-to for new trailers.

-Sam

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23 hours ago, barney said:

Having never sailed an A-cat I keep wondering what makes it so much more difficult to foil upwind than downwind. The scary part I can understand. For me at least on the moth it is actually way easier. I've had to sail back a couple of times even with a broken pushrod and I could manage it upwind, not so much downwind. Waves makes much less difference upwind too.

 

19 hours ago, patzefran said:

Class rules limits the span of foils, so the take off velocity is high, which limits the foiling range upwind !

This is part of it, but I believe there is more.  When going upwind, the lift from the daggerboards has to do 2 things - counter leeway and lift the boat out of the water. The amount of total lift is limited by the size of the foils and no moving parts.  If you overload the foil with leeway, there isn't as much lift available to take off. It's a vicious circle.Downwind, with no leeway to counter, you have a lot more lift for takeoff so you foil at slower take off speeds and it is far easier to keep foiling. Then there is another issue, which i cannot explain. If and when you take off going upwind, it is then fairly easy to achieve about 18 knots and maybe make a bit better vmg than not foiling although most sail so low they lose out, but to get to the high speeds of 22 knots+, where you are sailing maybe 5 degrees higher than a non foiler as well, now that is a whole new level. I can now do it, having been coached by the 2 best upwind foilers in the world, but I am not even sure i can explain what you do. It is a real matter of feel, knowing when you can head up a little more, knowing when to pull on the sheet and so on. Most people know that the aim/need is to be sheeted on as hard as it is possible to pull when you are going flat out, but it's more a case of that is what is needed rather than that is how you get there. Also, once up and running, there is still a lit of steering to be done. None of it is really intuitive.

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I love these boats; there is a feeling of clean, elegant power to them.

What is the best way to store an A-cat with the mast up on a trailer? Should the hulls be in cradles, or should the cross beams be on supports? It seems for transporting a lot of people prefer to support the platform on the cross beams, but I wonder if having the rig up changes that?  The storage area is paved and does not have tie-downs, so storing the boat on a trailer tied to weights seems like the best option to keep the boat from blowing over.

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On 7/4/2020 at 12:37 AM, mookiesurfs said:

I love these boats; there is a feeling of clean, elegant power to them.

What is the best way to store an A-cat with the mast up on a trailer? Should the hulls be in cradles, or should the cross beams be on supports? It seems for transporting a lot of people prefer to support the platform on the cross beams, but I wonder if having the rig up changes that?  The storage area is paved and does not have tie-downs, so storing the boat on a trailer tied to weights seems like the best option to keep the boat from blowing over.

Sorry, I din't see this. Yes, storing on the trailer with the mast up isn't an issue and if the trailer is OK to trail, it is ok to store the boat that way, whether it is a beam support or hull support type. In Australia, most trailers support the front beam but have cradles at the rear.

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Personally I store my boat mast up on the trailer, both beams supported by cross beam supports. This is how most in the U.S store their boat. Keeping painted hulls in cradles for long periods of time can lead to blistering, so its not too advisable, though I also keep my painted F18 on a trailer with cradle supports or in its wheels. For quick sails you can also store on the beach and anchor the trapeze lines. Some are more concerned about the mast violently shaking so through a rope over the spreaders and back down to the front of the trailer to stiffen the middle of the rig up. My boat mast up is in a pretty sheltered spot with trees on 2 sides so never a problem.

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On 7/3/2020 at 10:37 AM, mookiesurfs said:

I love these boats; there is a feeling of clean, elegant power to them.

What is the best way to store an A-cat with the mast up on a trailer? Should the hulls be in cradles, or should the cross beams be on supports? It seems for transporting a lot of people prefer to support the platform on the cross beams, but I wonder if having the rig up changes that?  The storage area is paved and does not have tie-downs, so storing the boat on a trailer tied to weights seems like the best option to keep the boat from blowing over.

Hopefully you can find some time to come to some events, Nationals in St. Pete hasn't been cancelled yet!

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4 hours ago, samc99us said:

Hopefully you can find some time to come to some events, Nationals in St. Pete hasn't been cancelled yet!

Hopefully I can find some time to get familiar with the boat. Just a couple of quick sails in light wind so far. As soon as the weather cooperates I need to get out and put the pedal down and see what happens. After I get a little bit of a handle on that, then maybe even even start to rake the boards...

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8 hours ago, samc99us said:

Keeping painted hulls in cradles for long periods of time can lead to blistering, so its not too advisable, 

Sorry to disagree, Sam, but I have owned 4 Exploders, all of which have been left on cradles of one sort or another all their lives and I haven't seen any blistering. All the boats in our training group live on cradles, and again, I haven't seen any blistering. I guess it depends on manufacturer and paint type, but we haven't had any issues with either Exploder or DNA. Maybe it's just that we live in the "Lucky Country" :D

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1 hour ago, SimonN said:

Sorry to disagree, Sam, but I have owned 4 Exploders, all of which have been left on cradles of one sort or another all their lives and I haven't seen any blistering. All the boats in our training group live on cradles, and again, I haven't seen any blistering. I guess it depends on manufacturer and paint type, but we haven't had any issues with either Exploder or DNA. Maybe it's just that we live in the "Lucky Country" :D

Same. 40 years with paint on timber then gelcoat then paint on glass then carbon. Outdoor carpet on cradles and no blisters. Definitely lucky and well managed country in many ways!

SimonN I detect a slight accent that indicates you may have spent some time in a less lucky country!

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3 minutes ago, WetnWild said:

SimonN I detect a slight accent that indicates you may have spent some time in a less lucky country!

Strewth, mate. You got me, fair dinkum! (Keep safe and stay up in Qld!)

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15 minutes ago, SimonN said:

Strewth, mate. You got me, fair dinkum! (Keep safe and stay up in Qld!)

Yeah na we’ll be good. 

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She'll be right cobber.

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11 hours ago, SimonN said:

Sorry to disagree, Sam, but I have owned 4 Exploders, all of which have been left on cradles of one sort or another all their lives and I haven't seen any blistering. All the boats in our training group live on cradles, and again, I haven't seen any blistering. I guess it depends on manufacturer and paint type, but we haven't had any issues with either Exploder or DNA. Maybe it's just that we live in the "Lucky Country" :D

All good, I haven't seen an issue with the DNA or eXploder A-Cat's either, but I have seen some minor blistering on another eXploder product (less than perfect prep job on that one, it happens to best paint shops once in a while), and heavy blistering on a late model Marstrom T and Boyer Mk. V A-Cat. The latter two were kept on carpeted bunks in less than ideal climates (wet for extended periods of time). Foam cradles are much less of a concern IME. If you read the specs on the paints, Awlgrip, Awlcraft etc., they can't get wet for more than 24 hours at a time before issues start appearing, so perhaps you do live in Lucky Country!

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Carpet is the damager, it soaks up water and won't allow it to dissipate out from under the hull. Look at fake grass or golf course Tee carpet, all nylon, very hard wearing and if you cut a hole or two at the lowest point of the cradle, drys out in a hour.

 

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Well, that was terrifying. Went out today in 9 knots with steady gusts to 21.  Nine knots was fun but challenging, but more time in the boat will go a long ways towards fixing that. But 21? WTF? How do you tack and gybe in that wind? I’m serious, some tips on the finer points would be nice. My boat doesn’t have a main sheet cleat, which is ok, but in that much breeze I’d like to know exactly where the main is going to be coming out of the tack. How do you do that in 20 knots? It seems that sheet is running out as I cross the tramp, and god knows where the main will be as I get to the other side. Advice?

Now, gybeing. In the big puffs I was heading up for speed and then turning down and through, but what do you do with the main in 20 knots to minimize heart attacks? Do you bring the traveler up and sheet in and steer through a small turn to minimize the force of the main coming over? Or what? The finer points would be immensely helpful.

Can’t wait to do it again :) :) :) 

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Go Mookie.  Sorry, but I can't help with any points, fine or otherwise

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First thing is, never, ever, use a mainsheet cleat on an A. I know that some do, but it is a good way of getting into a lot of trouble.

On a tack, I find that if you keep hold of the mainsheet in the same place, as you come in and head up a little, the sail eases and you can sit on the side. Then initiate the tack, keeping hold of the mainsheet and you move across the boat. As you move out to the side, the mainsheet comes in a little but will be the same as when you were on the old windward side. Now the issue is simply steering - if you steer too far, the sail powers up but if you get it right, you end up sitting on the new windward side with just the right amount of power. Swap hands but still hold the mainsheet in the same place, then hook on. The next bit varies person to person. I hold the tiller and mainsheet in the same hand, step out holding the handle and the take the mainsheet and pull it in, As I step out I bear away a little to power up and as I pull in I adjust the steering to the correct course. Others go out without the handle - dangle your butt over the side until the weight is on the wire and then push off with your legs. The benefit of this is that you have the sheet in the hand in which it is going to stay. Being an old skiff sailor, it is more natural to step out holding the handle.

As for the gybe, it all depends on how you go into it. I am a bit out of touch with the current classic way of sailing, but I believe that you wouldn't have the traveller out further than the inside of the side deck, you wouldn't be going dead downwind so the sail would be in a reasonable amount (or you have too much twist). I think the trick is to make sure you get through to the other side before the boom goes across - go too soon and the boat begins to fly the old windward hull again and it all gets messy, go too late and you can flip. Hopefully WetnWild will be along soon because he gets it round the course pretty well in a safe and efficient manner when the breeze is up.

One thing to add - make sure you have righting lines on the boat - they are reasonably easy to get up if you have them but without it is a pain. Also make sure the seal at the top of the mast is still sealed as it can leak as it gets older and that means the tip fills up when you capsize and getting the boat back up becomes a total nightmare.

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High wind on the A's are bit of fun. Tacking, the boat needs to have gone through the wind before you crossing, if you have crossed before, the A simply will not tack. Its scary as hell effectively sitting on the leeward side and for the first 50 times it feels pretty wrong, but you are going to have to do it, but if you look on video you are not really still on the leeward side. You are effectively doing a dinghy roll tack.

On windy days to depower, downhaul on, bring mast spanner back, mainhaul on, more downhaul on, more main and then a bit of tuning of more of the downhaul. The downhaul is your tipping tuning guide, its the bit that matches your righting moment to the power in the sail. When it gets really blowy, once you think you have bought the mast spanner back fully, the main is fully on and  the downhaul is maxed out, then let the traveller out 150mm or so, then the piece de resistance, lift your dagger boards up small amounts, you will find in big gusts the righting moment over comes the sideways resistance of the now 1/2 up boards and rather than tip over, the boat will slide sideways in the water. Oh and the one mistake I always seem to make, make sure you have enough outhaul on to really keep the bottom half of the sail as flat as can be.

But you now need to get into a routine before gybing, main has to be let out a tad, outhaul let out a tad, downhaul off and spanner off, if you don't you will break your mast, the stress of downhaul and tight main together with the mast in its weakest plane, back and front ( yes the masts are stiffer across the narrowest section ) will doom the mast once the sail is fully powered up downwind. Tough to remember but just get into a routine.

I always let my travellor do the talking in a gybe, come around onto the new heading, with the travellor well in, even pulling it up and locking it off, if you have already been on a gybe. Initially until you can do things well, toss your tiller stick out the back into the water and control the boat from the cross bar, look out the back of the boat and watch your wake to see how much you are turning, grab the bottom of the main and feed it across as you turn to keep everything under control, remember a tight into the centre line sail has almost no sail area in contact with the wind, let the boat come a round and then move yourself onto the new side, still looking out the back as in high winds the power in the sail will try to tighten the turn, which then creates loads of G forces and you end up down on the leeward side pulling on the crossbar to save yourself, which just compounds the matter even further, been there done that so many times. Once you are settled and the boat is stable, start letting out the travellor, probably only tell 1/2 way down, now comes the biggy, out on the wire again just as you start to heat up he boat, or do you just go deep downwind with both hulls in the water, slower but safer.

The joy of downwind out on the wire with a 16sqm flattish spinny as I have on my A, is probably the best of best sailing experiences you can get, but hey with a standard A you only have the main and its simply a balance of heating the boat up tell you lift the windward hull, now slowly build speed balancing keeping the hull out of the water and keeping you heading as low to the mark as you can. You will need to tighten the main and possibly the travellor in if you are building lots of speed ( effectively apparent wind has come forward so far, you are sailing upwind.

Enjoy, they are fun boats.

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11 hours ago, SimonN said:

First thing is, never, ever, use a mainsheet cleat on an A. I know that some do, but it is a good way of getting into a lot of trouble.

On a tack, I find that if you keep hold of the mainsheet in the same place, as you come in and head up a little, the sail eases and you can sit on the side. Then initiate the tack, keeping hold of the mainsheet and you move across the boat. As you move out to the side, the mainsheet comes in a little but will be the same as when you were on the old windward side. Now the issue is simply steering - if you steer too far, the sail powers up but if you get it right, you end up sitting on the new windward side with just the right amount of power. Swap hands but still hold the mainsheet in the same place, then hook on. The next bit varies person to person. I hold the tiller and mainsheet in the same hand, step out holding the handle and the take the mainsheet and pull it in, As I step out I bear away a little to power up and as I pull in I adjust the steering to the correct course. Others go out without the handle - dangle your butt over the side until the weight is on the wire and then push off with your legs. The benefit of this is that you have the sheet in the hand in which it is going to stay. Being an old skiff sailor, it is more natural to step out holding the handle.

As for the gybe, it all depends on how you go into it. I am a bit out of touch with the current classic way of sailing, but I believe that you wouldn't have the traveller out further than the inside of the side deck, you wouldn't be going dead downwind so the sail would be in a reasonable amount (or you have too much twist). I think the trick is to make sure you get through to the other side before the boom goes across - go too soon and the boat begins to fly the old windward hull again and it all gets messy, go too late and you can flip. Hopefully WetnWild will be along soon because he gets it round the course pretty well in a safe and efficient manner when the breeze is up.

One thing to add - make sure you have righting lines on the boat - they are reasonably easy to get up if you have them but without it is a pain. Also make sure the seal at the top of the mast is still sealed as it can leak as it gets older and that means the tip fills up when you capsize and getting the boat back up becomes a total nightmare.

All great tips. One thing is the O.P is on a foiler, so that might change things a little. The hardest bit is to get out of the footstrap and walk forward while screaming along to get the boat to settle back into the water (more like wild thing), then gybe. There is probably a faster way but this is the starting point. Faster is to basically stay aft and keep on the foils through about halfway into the gybe, crossing the boat at about this point and then throwing yourself onto the weather hull mid gybe while turning down to keep things under control, while scrambling for the wire to get back to wild thing->foil. WnW and Simon probably have better tips and instructions for this...

I find semi-foil tacks are actually really fast if you can pull them off (me, once, flat water, puff and shift happened as I went for the tack). Basically the leeward hull rolls you into the tack pretty qucikly in this, and the problem is getting to the high side fast enough like in a normal tack.

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Wind looks good tomorrow, as in well under twenty knots. I’ll reread these posts in the morning with a cup of coffee, and try to bring the wisdom with me on the water.

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15 hours ago, mookiesurfs said:

and try to bring the wisdom with me on the water.

Try to also bring an action camera with you on the water. 

You already spent the big bucks on the thing, another couple hundo could help you analyze after the fact (and provide US with much needed entertainment, very important). 

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2 hours ago, Floating Duck said:

Try to also bring an action camera with you on the water. 

You already spent the big bucks on the thing, another couple hundo could help you analyze after the fact (and provide US with much needed entertainment, very important). 

Good idea! There will be plenty of laughs. No sailing today, though, there are thunderstorms. I am bored so I pulled the wind graphs from the last sail: 16 gusting 25. Glad I didn't video that; you would die laughing. I'm just now getting over the trauma and beginning to laugh about it.

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OK! With a couple of sails in 8-10 kts under the belt, one burning question remains: How do you take up and release main sheet with one hand? I’ve always passed the sheet to the tiller hand while the sheet hand grabs more. But, it seems the prevalent method is to wrap it up on one hand. How do you do that? Does it lead to an accumulation of wraps on the hand?

I’ve foiled a little bit, and the thing that stood out to me was how quiet it was. All the boat noise disappears. Of course, as speed improves, I imagine wind noise will fill in.

 

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4 hours ago, mookiesurfs said:

OK! With a couple of sails in 8-10 kts under the belt, one burning question remains: How do you take up and release main sheet with one hand? I’ve always passed the sheet to the tiller hand while the sheet hand grabs more. But, it seems the prevalent method is to wrap it up on one hand. How do you do that? Does it lead to an accumulation of wraps on the hand?

I’ve foiled a little bit, and the thing that stood out to me was how quiet it was. All the boat noise disappears. Of course, as speed improves, I imagine wind noise will fill in.

 

Teeth, or look up how dinghy's do it, wrapping around the hand is bad in so many ways ( arthritis in the hands when you are my age )  but we are all guilty of it. Personally I run a cleat but with the cleat set really high so that its only as you are tacking and you want to keep some drive as you come in off the trapeze do you use it. Also you can sheet in with it still in the cleat from the tack, clip into the trapeze grab the main sheet and then use you feet and thighs to tighten the main as you go out, comes out of the cleat. Works a treat.

Best mod I did was to move the main sheet to the mid to front as a central sheeting position, as soon as you tension the main, it locks your feet onto the side + you can use your thighs to tension the main.

 

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The battle of the mainsheet cleat between Simon and Wayne.

Wayne, do you only use the cleat for that very brief time during the tack?  I can understand your logic and technique.

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1 hour ago, DtM said:

The battle of the mainsheet cleat between Simon and Wayne.

No battle - look around the boat park and see if you can find any A Class foilers with a cleat. There is a very good reason why you won't find any.

10 hours ago, mookiesurfs said:

How do you take up and release main sheet with one hand? I’ve always passed the sheet to the tiller hand while the sheet hand grabs more. But, it seems the prevalent method is to wrap it up on one hand. How do you do that? Does it lead to an accumulation of wraps on the hand?

There are a whole mix of techniques depending on the situation. There are times when you have no option but to do wraps around the hand because it is by far the quickest way and anything else is too slow (mainly when foiling upwind). Yes, it is far from ideal and like Wayne, I have arthritic hands and it can cause issues, but the alternative for me is to not be able to sail the boat properly. There are times when i end up with maybe 5 turns around the hand. Note what i said above - this is only when foiling upwind and it is also only when getting going. If you don't sheet fast enough at the right time, the boat comes over on top of you or you have to keep sailing so low that you lose too much ground. Once up to speed, I make sure I reduce the winds (without letting the sheet out) and then go from there.

If you hold the tiller in the right way and right position, you can still hold the mainsheet with the tiller hand. Almost everybody (except Mischa) holds the tiller spear/dagger style so that it is above your shoulder, rather than frying pan and under your arm. One of the big advantages of this, particularly for those of us who haven't yet achieved God like status and skills is that if you come off the boat and remember to let go of the tiller, you won't break it while underarm you will. Then for sheeting you have 2 options. One is to hold the tiller close to your head and you will find that you can move your other hand (with sheet) close to that, change hands and then grip the mainsheet low down again, or hold it low down close to the trap hook and do the same. You need to be trapezing low enough that the tiller passes across the body OK. Trapeze height varies depending on how tight your harness is and how tall you are but a good approximation to start with is at the shroud the trap ring should be about 2 inches below the bottom of the chainplate.

10 hours ago, mookiesurfs said:

I’ve foiled a little bit, and the thing that stood out to me was how quiet it was. All the boat noise disappears. Of course, as speed improves, I imagine wind noise will fill in.

The noise depends on whether you are going upwind or downwind. Wind noise is never too bad downwind but upwind, it is one of the factors that makes it so scary. With boatspeed and the true wind, the apparent can be 40 knots and that's a bombardment of the senses. Wearing a Bennie in winter  gets rid of some of the noise and makes the whole thing feel less hectic.

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6 hours ago, DtM said:

The battle of the mainsheet cleat between Simon and Wayne.

Wayne, do you only use the cleat for that very brief time during the tack?  I can understand your logic and technique.

That debate was over three quarters of the way through last century for A’s. 

A cleat on the main is an invitation to capsize during manoeuvres and an invitation to be lazy while sailing. The rigs on A’s are high performance tuned with a narrow efficiency window. Regular sheet adjustment is needed and doubly so on a foiler. 

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7 hours ago, DtM said:

The battle of the mainsheet cleat between Simon and Wayne.

Wayne, do you only use the cleat for that very brief time during the tack?  I can understand your logic and technique.

Boo hiss, more boo's from the rock star's :D Please forgive me, I am a sinner. Yup, I find as an older guy that the transition between sitting out on the leeward side until the boat is just coming through the tack and you  want to move across, you still need some tension on the main to drive the boat through the tack. Getting my fat arse, the rest of me, the tiller and getting hooked back up on the trapeze together with keeping tension on the main, which you are having to constantly adjust to keep sufficient tension on to keep the boat driving forward in your now busy hands is beyond my capabilities, so I cheat, I cleat off the main ( in a very high position ), come across, re hook on, tension the main that's still in my hand, push out on my thighs, the main uncleats and tensions as I go, voila that's the best way for me, it doesn't have to be that way for the rock stars.

The other thing is I'm old school and still have  ( more boos and hiss's ) ummm dare I tell you, straight boards,  reduced deck sweeper main by nearly 2sqm ( to be honest there's not much loss over a normal boomed main and yes I would love to put a 2qm blade jib on ) and a 14sqm flattish spinnaker on the front, and yes in the pond sailing we do against the other F18's and the likes, which as soon as they turn down from the upwind leg, can turn much lower down to begin with as you heat your boat up to get 1 hull up and thus are in much better racing position to fend you off all the way down the very short downwind leg ( thus blowing your handicap rating to shreds ), I'm much faster around the course that way, get a much softer SCHRS handicap with all the benefits of an easy boat to move around in the boat park, a joy to sail and even better, I may not come first ( ever ) but hey I'm having fun.

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Nothing wrong with having fun. I imagine having 2sqm less sail down wind on an A is the definition of no fun. 

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Great thread, picking up lots of interesting stuff.

I think main cleats on A cats used to be quite handy upwind, both for easier getting in and out on the wire, keeping the leach tight during first half of tack, and for making other control line adjustments etc.  But they always tip you in downwind, so now almost everyone has centre tramp sheeting, 9:1,  no cleat, and often 2 decent sized ratchets in the system.  Use grippy rope for mainsheet too, like well aged swiftcord, the aim is to have enough friction in the mainsheet that upwind you can hold the load with just one finger or thumb.  Do not wrap the mainsheet round your hand, or put it in your teeth, sailing should not damage you.  Aim to have one armful of mainsheet in play, in the middle of the power band, and the rest thrown back on the tramp.

Think my tacking is fairly similar to most, would be happy always to get better at it.

To come in at start of tack, I grab the handle with front hand, still holding mainsheet, and initiate the tack with tiller while moving back/in, while trying to hold as the mainsheet as tight as possible.   Aim to be on your knees on tramp, with a quick a quick swipe to unhook, just as the boat passes through head to wind.  Then swing the tiller extension through, and plant it on the new sidekick, turn round facing forwards, and swap mainsheet hands.  At this point, I feel a bit slow, I seem to put mainsheet in tiller hand, thenclip on, put my feet under the straps, hike out for a second while grabbing an arm full of sheet, and get the boat settled on the new tack (ex Laser sailor), then push out without grabbing the handle, front foot first, taking the mainsheet in and slipping the tiller extension as I go.  The second half of the tack, the ex - pros and skiff guys seem to be able to spring like a gazelle from the centreline, and always seem to somehow fall on to the new wire, with the finesse of a 49er sailor, a split second later, with the boat under perfect control. When I try this, I swim, either the sheet slips my grip as I go out, or the hook is insufficiently engaged, or my steering has been inaccurate etc, still, we can't all be good at everything.  Keep meaning to try different things in a land drill.

Don't trapeze too low too soon, unless you're 25 or work full time as a personal trainer, it takes time to work up to trapezing super low, from a core strength point, and it makes the boat harder to sail in other ways.  In more shifty conditions, you can trapeze fairly high, to make coming in and going out more fluid,  and to better spot the wind.  I find I always start the season with a fairly high hook, even a good 3" above the side deck, and drop it down an inch a month during.  I still have clam cleat trapeze adjusters, but many seem to be able to do without these days.

Have you practiced righting a capsize yet?  Try to only stand on the line of the hull directly under the front beam, there is a bulkhead there, standing or kneeling in front or behind this line can cause damage to the laminate.  My current righting line is just a fixed length bit of something 10mm, a bit grippy, dead ended at either end of the beam, and only long enough to use as a step to get on the righted boat, so a bit short for a righting line, only just long enough, and plastic clipped to a short bungee underneath to keep out water.  Lighter sailors have more advanced righting lines, with loops to clip into their harness, and full bungee retraction systems.  Don't hole the boat with your hook.  Don't try to right the boat with the boards.  It should pop up easily, once the wind gets under the rig.

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5 minutes ago, maxstaylock said:

Great thread, picking up lots of interesting stuff.

I think main cleats on A cats used to be quite handy upwind, both for easier getting in and out on the wire, keeping the leach tight during first half of tack, and for making other control line adjustments etc.  But they always tip you in downwind, so now almost everyone has centre tramp sheeting, 9:1,  no cleat, and often 2 decent sized ratchets in the system.  Use grippy rope for mainsheet too, like well aged swiftcord, the aim is to have enough friction in the mainsheet that upwind you can hold the load with just one finger or thumb.  Do not wrap the mainsheet round your hand, or put it in your teeth, sailing should not damage you.  Aim to have one armful of mainsheet in play, in the middle of the power band, and the rest thrown back on the tramp.

Think my tacking is fairly similar to most, would be happy always to get better at it.

To come in at start of tack, I grab the handle with front hand, still holding mainsheet, and initiate the tack with tiller while moving back/in, while trying to hold as the mainsheet as tight as possible.   Aim to be on your knees on tramp, with a quick a quick swipe to unhook, just as the boat passes through head to wind.  Then swing the tiller extension through, and plant it on the new sidekick, turn round facing forwards, and swap mainsheet hands.  At this point, I feel a bit slow, I seem to put mainsheet in tiller hand, thenclip on, put my feet under the straps, hike out for a second while grabbing an arm full of sheet, and get the boat settled on the new tack (ex Laser sailor), then push out without grabbing the handle, front foot first, taking the mainsheet in and slipping the tiller extension as I go.  The second half of the tack, the ex - pros and skiff guys seem to be able to spring like a gazelle from the centreline, and always seem to somehow emerge on the new wire, with the finesse of a 49er sailor a split second later.  When I try this, I swim, either the sheet slips my grip as I go out, or the hook is insufficiently engaged, or my steering has been inaccurate etc, still, we can't all be good at everything.  Keep meaning to try different things in a land drill.

Don't trapeze too low too soon, unless you're 25 or work full time as a personal trainer, it takes time to work up to trapezing super low, from a core strength point, and it makes the boat harder to sail in other ways.  In more shifty conditions, you can trapeze fairly high, to make coming in and going out more fluid,  and to better spot the wind.  I find I always start the season with a fairly high hook, even a good 3" above the side deck, and drop it down an inch a month during.  I still have clam cleat trapeze adjusters, but many seem to be able to do without these days.

Have you practiced righting a capsize yet?  Try to only stand on the line of the hull directly under the front beam, there is a bulkhead there, standing or kneeling in front or behind this line can cause damage to the laminate.  My current righting line is just a fixed length bit of something 10mm, a bit grippy, dead ended at either end of the beam, and only long enough to use as a step to get on the righted boat, so a bit short for a righting line, only just long enough, and plastic clipped to a short bungee underneath to keep out water.  Lighter sailors have more advanced righting lines, with loops to clip into their harness, and full bungee retraction systems.  Don't hole the boat with your hook.  Don't try to right the boat with the boards.  It should pop up easily, once the wind gets under the rig.

All great advice thanks.I like you ,use to not wrap the Mainsheet around hand but since once having the boat get away from me when trap line broke, the wrap on hand is my way of tethering myself to boat in case of capsize.

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1 hour ago, maxstaylock said:

Great thread, picking up lots of interesting stuff.

I think main cleats on A cats used to be quite handy upwind, both for easier getting in and out on the wire, keeping the leach tight during first half of tack, and for making other control line adjustments etc.  But they always tip you in downwind, so now almost everyone has centre tramp sheeting, 9:1,  no cleat, and often 2 decent sized ratchets in the system.  Use grippy rope for mainsheet too, like well aged swiftcord, the aim is to have enough friction in the mainsheet that upwind you can hold the load with just one finger or thumb.  Do not wrap the mainsheet round your hand, or put it in your teeth, sailing should not damage you.  Aim to have one armful of mainsheet in play, in the middle of the power band, and the rest thrown back on the tramp.

Think my tacking is fairly similar to most, would be happy always to get better at it.

To come in at start of tack, I grab the handle with front hand, still holding mainsheet, and initiate the tack with tiller while moving back/in, while trying to hold as the mainsheet as tight as possible.   Aim to be on your knees on tramp, with a quick a quick swipe to unhook, just as the boat passes through head to wind.  Then swing the tiller extension through, and plant it on the new sidekick, turn round facing forwards, and swap mainsheet hands.  At this point, I feel a bit slow, I seem to put mainsheet in tiller hand, thenclip on, put my feet under the straps, hike out for a second while grabbing an arm full of sheet, and get the boat settled on the new tack (ex Laser sailor), then push out without grabbing the handle, front foot first, taking the mainsheet in and slipping the tiller extension as I go.  The second half of the tack, the ex - pros and skiff guys seem to be able to spring like a gazelle from the centreline, and always seem to somehow fall on to the new wire, with the finesse of a 49er sailor, a split second later, with the boat under perfect control. When I try this, I swim, either the sheet slips my grip as I go out, or the hook is insufficiently engaged, or my steering has been inaccurate etc, still, we can't all be good at everything.  Keep meaning to try different things in a land drill.

Don't trapeze too low too soon, unless you're 25 or work full time as a personal trainer, it takes time to work up to trapezing super low, from a core strength point, and it makes the boat harder to sail in other ways.  In more shifty conditions, you can trapeze fairly high, to make coming in and going out more fluid,  and to better spot the wind.  I find I always start the season with a fairly high hook, even a good 3" above the side deck, and drop it down an inch a month during.  I still have clam cleat trapeze adjusters, but many seem to be able to do without these days.

Have you practiced righting a capsize yet?  Try to only stand on the line of the hull directly under the front beam, there is a bulkhead there, standing or kneeling in front or behind this line can cause damage to the laminate.  My current righting line is just a fixed length bit of something 10mm, a bit grippy, dead ended at either end of the beam, and only long enough to use as a step to get on the righted boat, so a bit short for a righting line, only just long enough, and plastic clipped to a short bungee underneath to keep out water.  Lighter sailors have more advanced righting lines, with loops to clip into their harness, and full bungee retraction systems.  Don't hole the boat with your hook.  Don't try to right the boat with the boards.  It should pop up easily, once the wind gets under the rig.

Good stuff. I use that exact technique up until the bit about the springing gazelle - maybe thirty years ago. 
But seriously the best thing you can do is find a technique that suits you and then work on repetition. Being able to do the same things each time in a tack should become second nature and pure muscle memory. That way there’s no thinking required and you can concentrate on minimising the time the boat is slowed down. 

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5 hours ago, WetnWild said:

Nothing wrong with having fun. I imagine having 2sqm less sail down wind on an A is the definition of no fun. 

A 14sqm flat spinny makes up for it :D

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12 hours ago, maxstaylock said:

Great thread, picking up lots of interesting stuff.

I think main cleats on A cats used to be quite handy upwind, both for easier getting in and out on the wire, keeping the leach tight during first half of tack, and for making other control line adjustments etc.  But they always tip you in downwind, so now almost everyone has centre tramp sheeting, 9:1,  no cleat, and often 2 decent sized ratchets in the system.  Use grippy rope for mainsheet too, like well aged swiftcord, the aim is to have enough friction in the mainsheet that upwind you can hold the load with just one finger or thumb.  Do not wrap the mainsheet round your hand, or put it in your teeth, sailing should not damage you.  Aim to have one armful of mainsheet in play, in the middle of the power band, and the rest thrown back on the tramp.

Think my tacking is fairly similar to most, would be happy always to get better at it.

To come in at start of tack, I grab the handle with front hand, still holding mainsheet, and initiate the tack with tiller while moving back/in, while trying to hold as the mainsheet as tight as possible.   Aim to be on your knees on tramp, with a quick a quick swipe to unhook, just as the boat passes through head to wind.  Then swing the tiller extension through, and plant it on the new sidekick, turn round facing forwards, and swap mainsheet hands.  At this point, I feel a bit slow, I seem to put mainsheet in tiller hand, thenclip on, put my feet under the straps, hike out for a second while grabbing an arm full of sheet, and get the boat settled on the new tack (ex Laser sailor), then push out without grabbing the handle, front foot first, taking the mainsheet in and slipping the tiller extension as I go.  The second half of the tack, the ex - pros and skiff guys seem to be able to spring like a gazelle from the centreline, and always seem to somehow fall on to the new wire, with the finesse of a 49er sailor, a split second later, with the boat under perfect control. When I try this, I swim, either the sheet slips my grip as I go out, or the hook is insufficiently engaged, or my steering has been inaccurate etc, still, we can't all be good at everything.  Keep meaning to try different things in a land drill.

Don't trapeze too low too soon, unless you're 25 or work full time as a personal trainer, it takes time to work up to trapezing super low, from a core strength point, and it makes the boat harder to sail in other ways.  In more shifty conditions, you can trapeze fairly high, to make coming in and going out more fluid,  and to better spot the wind.  I find I always start the season with a fairly high hook, even a good 3" above the side deck, and drop it down an inch a month during.  I still have clam cleat trapeze adjusters, but many seem to be able to do without these days.

Have you practiced righting a capsize yet?  Try to only stand on the line of the hull directly under the front beam, there is a bulkhead there, standing or kneeling in front or behind this line can cause damage to the laminate.  My current righting line is just a fixed length bit of something 10mm, a bit grippy, dead ended at either end of the beam, and only long enough to use as a step to get on the righted boat, so a bit short for a righting line, only just long enough, and plastic clipped to a short bungee underneath to keep out water.  Lighter sailors have more advanced righting lines, with loops to clip into their harness, and full bungee retraction systems.  Don't hole the boat with your hook.  Don't try to right the boat with the boards.  It should pop up easily, once the wind gets under the rig.

Good post with lots of useful information. A couple of things to note....

Most of the top boats today are using 10:1 mainsheets and as you say, 2 ratchets, but the thing I would disagree on most is the ability to hold the mainsheet with just one finger/thumb. Maybe on a classic (although I doubt it) but on a foiler, if you get the sail in as hard as is needed, there is no way you can hold it like that, even with 2 ratchets and 10:1. We have played around with going up to 12:1 to reduce load and while the loads are much better, it leads to too much rope.

While I get out on the wire in a similar way to you, I have a variation and there are others. In my case, I don't use the toe strap because getting the feet under takes too long, and  I now usually leave the mainsheet in the tiller hand which makes it easier to get out but you then need to make a quick grab for it once out. Others don't use the handle at all. They hook on, dangle their arse over the side until the trap takes the weight and then push out with their legs. This needs strength and flexibility, but ha sthe advantage of 2 free hands so you can really accurately trim the sheet at all times.

In terms of trapezing super low, by which I mean Glenn Ashby style, the top guys are moving away from that on foilers. Even at the 2018 worlds, if you look at the photos from beginning to end, Glenn raises himself up higher as the event went on (note he doesn't use adjustable trapeze other than through the splice). On a foiler, if you set your trapeze 3 inches above the deck, you are far too high when at the back going downwind. There is always a bit of a compromise between leverage downwind and upwind. Some use an adjustable stystem to overcome that issue, but having done a lot of testing of this, I have concluded you lose more lowering yourself when you begin to go downwind than you gain on leverage. Our little training group have gone from adjustable to no adjustable and back and forth so many times, particular;y if we are going to a venue that has lighter conditions, but in the end, most of us now feel a non adjustable system is best. Sure, it is personal taste, and maybe it depends on how competitive you really are or want to be, but i have got fed up with losing noticeable distance every time I adjust. It's not just me that has found that problem. Some of the best ion the world don't use adjustables for that reason

One other reason to practice capsizing, maybe in shallow water on a windless day. You do not want to find that what you thought was a good seal at the top of the mast actually lets water in when you are far from the shore on a windy day. Get water in the mast on a capsize is a sure way of making your day a whole lot worse than a simple capsize. So test, and make sure your mast is sealed both at the top and at the hounds.

Good luck and have fun!

 

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Given that this thread has shifted into getting started in a-cat foiling, I'll toss in a related question:

in general terms, how do you think about mast rake for a foiling A? My initial (uninformed?) read is - given that fore-aft balance is something to be actively, aggressively played with, perhaps mast rake is not important(?).

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13 hours ago, SimonN said:

Good post with lots of useful information. A couple of things to note....

Most of the top boats today are using 10:1 mainsheets and as you say, 2 ratchets, but the thing I would disagree on most is the ability to hold the mainsheet with just one finger/thumb. Maybe on a classic (although I doubt it) but on a foiler, if you get the sail in as hard as is needed, there is no way you can hold it like that, even with 2 ratchets and 10:1. We have played around with going up to 12:1 to reduce load and while the loads are much better, it leads to too much rope.

While I get out on the wire in a similar way to you, I have a variation and there are others. In my case, I don't use the toe strap because getting the feet under takes too long, and  I now usually leave the mainsheet in the tiller hand which makes it easier to get out but you then need to make a quick grab for it once out. Others don't use the handle at all. They hook on, dangle their arse over the side until the trap takes the weight and then push out with their legs. This needs strength and flexibility, but ha sthe advantage of 2 free hands so you can really accurately trim the sheet at all times.

In terms of trapezing super low, by which I mean Glenn Ashby style, the top guys are moving away from that on foilers. Even at the 2018 worlds, if you look at the photos from beginning to end, Glenn raises himself up higher as the event went on (note he doesn't use adjustable trapeze other than through the splice). On a foiler, if you set your trapeze 3 inches above the deck, you are far too high when at the back going downwind. There is always a bit of a compromise between leverage downwind and upwind. Some use an adjustable stystem to overcome that issue, but having done a lot of testing of this, I have concluded you lose more lowering yourself when you begin to go downwind than you gain on leverage. Our little training group have gone from adjustable to no adjustable and back and forth so many times, particular;y if we are going to a venue that has lighter conditions, but in the end, most of us now feel a non adjustable system is best. Sure, it is personal taste, and maybe it depends on how competitive you really are or want to be, but i have got fed up with losing noticeable distance every time I adjust. It's not just me that has found that problem. Some of the best ion the world don't use adjustables for that reason

One other reason to practice capsizing, maybe in shallow water on a windless day. You do not want to find that what you thought was a good seal at the top of the mast actually lets water in when you are far from the shore on a windy day. Get water in the mast on a capsize is a sure way of making your day a whole lot worse than a simple capsize. So test, and make sure your mast is sealed both at the top and at the hounds.

Good luck and have fun!

 

You guys are awesome. The bit about standing on the hull and bulkhead below the beam to right the boat is awesome; I was wondering how these hulls would handle that.

I had a very high mainsheet cleat on the Taipan and F-16. It was great for tacks and a breather on long legs, but after reading the advice here and thinking back on it, most of the time I went swimming with those boats was because something started to go sideways and I couldn’t get it uncleated fast enough. The A seems pretty good at going wrong fast, so for now I’m staying with no cleat, and making progress with that. It’s just learning a new habit and a new way of doing something, and persistence usually pays. But holding the sheet in the handle hand for a tack? Wow, what a shit show for me. I don’t even know what’s going wrong when I do that; I just hope nobody was watching. It’s working better with the sheet in the tiller hand, and dividing the fingers in that hand so a couple hold the sheet and a couple feed the tiller.

Raced last night in under 5 knots. I’ll generally avoid that, but the time in the boat is invaluable. I think I DFL’d.

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9 hours ago, martin 'hoff said:

Given that this thread has shifted into getting started in a-cat foiling, I'll toss in a related question:

in general terms, how do you think about mast rake for a foiling A? My initial (uninformed?) read is - given that fore-aft balance is something to be actively, aggressively played with, perhaps mast rake is not important(?).

Ballpark figure is 4°...5° I guess . IIRC Glenn Ashby also mentioned rake figures in his recent Ronstan YT interview, which is an awesome resource for A-Class numbers and foiling cats in general!

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15 hours ago, martin 'hoff said:

in general terms, how do you think about mast rake for a foiling A? My initial (uninformed?) read is - given that fore-aft balance is something to be actively, aggressively played with, perhaps mast rake is not important(?).

Interesting question. I listened to the Glenn interview and noticed he didn't actually give a rake setting. All he admitted to was not changing it for conditions. I also know that it's very hard to get rake settings out of the top guys, yet they are very happy to tell you their foil settings. Maybe it isn't so important, but I suspect it might be;). What i do know is that you need to be careful in who you listen to and ensure that what you are copying is from a similar set up - the DNA's and the Exploders have different beam and foil positions (the Expoders have enough differences between them as well). 

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Just under 5 referenced to the transom on the AD3 classics seems to work. It’s a set and forget once balance is achieved. Rudder winglets statically and board lift dynamically take care of ant nose dive brought on by conditions. 
Have no idea about foilers any more but I suspect also that balance is the holy grail. 

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On 7/16/2020 at 8:36 PM, martin 'hoff said:

Given that this thread has shifted into getting started in a-cat foiling, I'll toss in a related question:

in general terms, how do you think about mast rake for a foiling A? My initial (uninformed?) read is - given that fore-aft balance is something to be actively, aggressively played with, perhaps mast rake is not important(?).

As others have said, mast rake is a personal choice and there are variations of A cats and setups (beam position, daggerboard position, sail choice etc). 

My personal preference is to achieve the same as any other boat - a relatively small amount of weather helm upwind when in floating mode.

I don’t change mast rake for different conditions. I believe only a professional sailor could truly benefit for such minor differences after a base setting has been found. 

My opinion: try different settings until you find what works for you, and leave it alone thereafter. 

 

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17 minutes ago, Vario said:

personal preference is to achieve the same as any other boat - a relatively small amount of weather helm upwind when in floating mode.

In theory I understand that. In practice, we walk around the boat to control foil AOA, and that affects the effective mast rake significantly. 

(Note - I sail a foiler that's not an A, I'm curious as to what I can learn from A practices)

Maybe there's nothing new - same as for floaters. Or maybe - for example - rake aft aggressively so you can sail with the bows down to reduce AOA once you're at speed upwind.

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20 hours ago, Butenbremer said:

Ballpark figure is 4°...5° I guess . IIRC Glenn Ashby also mentioned rake figures in his recent Ronstan YT interview, which is an awesome resource for A-Class numbers and foiling cats in general!

Mischa has some YouTube videos where he sets up a DNA F1. In one of the videos he uses an inclinometer app to set a rake of 4 degrees, iirc.

In other news, I got in about a mile on the foils yesterday, in bits and pieces, and consider it a miracle of miracles. Talk to me about ride height please. It seemed like I was about a foot off of the water on average, but watching A-cats in videos it looks like they are about two feet above the water. Is this a function of speed? Or foil rake? Or was it just my perception? 

It all came to a screeching halt eventually, and the trap bungee broke. No biggie, and these boats pop right back up with a little lean on the righting line. Nice!

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7 minutes ago, mookiesurfs said:

Talk to me about ride height please. It seemed like I was about a foot off of the water on average, but watching A-cats in videos it looks like they are about two feet above the water. Is this a function of speed? Or rake? Or was it just my perception? 

Yes.

It's a function of both. Basically, the ride height is controlled by the amount of vertical lift that you have - which is created by area * speed * angle of attack (ie rake)... Thankfully this equation is not too complicated as you can really only control rake.

Long story short, you want to ride as close to the water as possible but without touching it. How this is achieved is the tricky bit...

  • If it's choppy out and light winds, you need more rake as you won't have the speed to create lift and need to be higher off the water so you don't clip all the waves.
  • If it's flat water and heavy winds you need minimum rake as you'll have speed
  • If you haven't achieved god-status as a foiling sailor yet you need more rake so you can be higher off the water which gives you a bit of wiggle room before you go down the mine. Of course being higher will make you slower, but that is a good thing for when you inevitably mess something up...

You can change the rake by a variety of ways (actually adjusting the foils, moving your body fore and aft, launching off a wave into the stratosphere...).

 

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