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Foiling through the beautiful coast of Norway! I have been cruising along the Norwegian coast for 49 days in a RS Aero. Now I am stepping up with a friend to cruise the same area in a foiling beach cat. We are considering several boats, most likely Nacra 17 (rebuilt with wings) or Flying Phantom Essensielle. Nacra 20 FCS also seems to be a possible option. I have only tried Nacra 17 (C and Z foils) and Flying Phantom Elite. Nacra 17 with C-foils was extremely nervous. The Z-foil version seems more stabile, but the pro's still wander all over the boat to keep it running well. The Norwegian coast may seem hazardous, but most of the distance is sheltered waters. We expect to stay on shore when wind and waves are unsuitable. Both boats should be able to sail in "safe mode" none-foiling to get ashore in event of sudden bad conditions. My main concern is the general sailing characteristics. Has anyone got experience with both Nacra 17 and FP Essensielle? How different are they for cruising?

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We do long distance racing with our Nacra 15 FCS, and it's a ton of fun. Not quite cruising, but we might do an overnight w a small tent. 

Couple thoughts

- You'll want a Z foil boat. J foils and T foils are a massive PITA cruising, you cannot beach the boat. (ie: before beaching the boat you must remove the foils fully).

- You'll want some form of beach wheels or inflatable something - like the pic attached - sand in the foil slot scratches the foil badly.

- Foilers are super weight sensitive, and weight-placement sensitive. 

- You will capsize or pitchpole abruptly. Ensure that you can recover it even with the cargo on board.

I'd grab a 2nd hand Nacra 17 "converted" boat, as top teams don't want to sail "converted" boats anymore. They are rock solid

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30 minutes ago, Balluba said:

Thanks for your views. A converted N17 is a good option. I still wonder if the Essentiel is a more stabile boat for cruising.

Might be. I haven't sailed it, but I'll suspect it is similar to N17 on stability. There's a cool video of Kai Lenny and John Florence doing a couple crossings around Hawaii on a Phantom.

But if you break a foil, who can make a replacement? That's a real problem.

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Very interesting topic and crazy adventurous! Mad props for pulling off the RS Aero cruising in a very remote part of the world!

I would do some serious homework before adding foils to your plans, and also read up on adventure cruising on fast multihulls. The work done to win the Race to Alaska on a M32 comes to mind. 

Multihulls are much more weight sensitive than your RS Aero, and wetter. Keeping your camping gear dry will be a struggle. Adding foils to the picture adds even more complexity; none of the boats you describe are really designed for this sort of fast adventure cruising.

Going through the list:

1) I would NOT buy a FP product at this point, unless you can afford two complete boats (I.e a parts boat). The Essential was never really worked out on the race course. It also wasn’t faster than a F18, except perhaps on a reach (more on that later).

2) I wouldn’t buy a converted N17; they are heavier than designed, and generally weaker than the latest production Mk. 2’s. There is a reason the Olympic hopefuls don’t want them!

3) I would SERIOUSLY consider a F18, something modern with gelcoated hulls that can be easily touched up. An Infusion Mk. 2 or Goodall C2 come to mind. These are durable boats, designed for raid sailing, carry weight reasonably well, and are much more affordable than a full foiler while offering 80-90% of the speed.

4) Next up would be a Nacra F20C, not the full foiler, the C-board boat, fitted with T or L rudders (local boat has Nacra 15 L rudders in standard swing up castings, so far so good, similar protected bay sailing to that you describe). These are among the fastest beach cats, much more stable than a full foiler, carry weight better than a full foiler and parts are still available. There has also been some discussion of Z boards for these boats…

5) I’d consider a late gen Mk. 1 C-Board boat that was in the care of a top Olympic team. These generally had word done and were beefed up. With winglets on the rudders, they are stable and quick. Won’t carry extra weight all that well (lower volume hulls than F18’s or F20’s).

6) I’d ask Nacra if you can put C boards in a Mk. 2 Z board N17. That might be the “best” option, if foiling is an absolute must…at least that way you have an option if you realize foiling doesn’t make sense for your cruise.

Definitely avoid J boards, the F20FCS is an absolute beast to sail in over 15kts of breeze and I’m not too sure can be set to low rider mode. The FP Elite is more manageable I believe, but no parts availability makes that a deal breaker. Note, even the A, the most developed small foiling catamaran, can be challenging to keep in the water in 15kts+ of wind while reaching! Point is, there is no “slow down”/“escape mode” with these boats…

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Thanks for your views F18 Sailor. The non-foiling option we have considered is both F18 and Tornado. Rebuildt with winglets. The foiling experience is more a «feeling» thing, and the challenge, rather then the need for speed to get ther quickley. Obviously, we don´t want to push it to far, and we are probobly close to this limit. For referance I can tell you the RS Aero definately is weight-sensitive. All my camping, photography, food and gear weighed 30 kg. I tried to place all of it in the midle, which made the boat unsailable. Half of it in the back made the difference. We aim at 40-40 kg in total this time as we are two. The cool thing is to be able to bring the boat ashore and be able to camp on remote beaches on uninhabited islands.

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12 hours ago, F18 Sailor said:

2) I wouldn’t buy a converted N17; they are heavier than designed, and generally weaker than the latest production Mk. 2’s. There is a reason the Olympic hopefuls don’t want them!

If cost is a consideration, a converted N17 is a steal. The slightly lower frame rigidity and extra Kg might make a difference in that medal race (hence Olympic hopefuls not wanting them), but for cruising it's irrelevant. What's a couple scratches in a hull you'll drag onto a beach? 

1 hour ago, Balluba said:

We aim at 40-40 kg in total this time as we are two.

Any foiler will need a couple more knots of wind to foil with an extra 40Kg but it'll foil just fine. You'll put them near the middle of the boat near front crossbar.

 

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1 hour ago, Balluba said:

Thanks for your views F18 Sailor. The non-foiling option we have considered is both F18 and Tornado. Rebuildt with winglets. The foiling experience is more a «feeling» thing, and the challenge, rather then the need for speed to get ther quickley. Obviously, we don´t want to push it to far, and we are probobly close to this limit. For referance I can tell you the RS Aero definately is weight-sensitive. All my camping, photography, food and gear weighed 30 kg. I tried to place all of it in the midle, which made the boat unsailable. Half of it in the back made the difference. We aim at 40-40 kg in total this time as we are two. The cool thing is to be able to bring the boat ashore and be able to camp on remote beaches on uninhabited islands.

40-50kg of extra gear is a substantial increase in weight. That is effectively carrying an extra person! If you are on the light side to begin with, you might be okay, otherwise, maybe not. I'd try and arrange a test sail and bring your gear with you before committing.

Beaching: Most of the boats listed are gelcoat, which is reasonable to fix, but these boats don't have the thickest bottoms and are generally pretty wide. They do not like getting dragged across rocks or shells at all. The Tornado is OK for this, but the centerboard gaskets gets chewed up quickly and easily.

If you can find a good used T, its a good candidate for this sort of thing, the centerboards are more forgiving if you sail near shore/shallow water with rocks etc. They have done the Everglades Challenge before, I believe with wings to make the journey more comfortable. That being said, they are also weight sensitive, more so than the F18 or Nacra 20, and harder to repair (the Marstorm's being Nomex/S-Glass).

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24 minutes ago, martin 'hoff said:

If cost is a consideration, a converted N17 is a steal. The slightly lower frame rigidity and extra Kg might make a difference in that medal race (hence Olympic hopefuls not wanting them), but for cruising it's irrelevant. What's a couple scratches in a hull you'll drag onto a beach? 

Any foiler will need a couple more knots of wind to foil with an extra 40Kg but it'll foil just fine. You'll put them near the middle of the boat near front crossbar.

 

My convern with the converted boats is more structural. A lot comes down to who did the conversion. Cracked rear beams are a real concern on any beachcat, but especially a foiler, and I'm not sure if part of the conversion was a new rear beam with beefed up internals. I certainly agree that for a bomb-around day sailor, they are worth a look.

Carrying extra weight on a foiler = extra loads. That may or may not be an issue, depending on the boat, in addition to the higher takeoff speed. I suspect you may find the increased wind requirements and higher takeoff speed to not be worth the hassle that the foils bring for the few times you can use them.

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21 minutes ago, F18 Sailor said:

My convern with the converted boats is more structural. A lot comes down to who did the conversion. Cracked rear beams are a real concern on any beachcat, but especially a foiler, and I'm not sure if part of the conversion was a new rear beam with beefed up internals. I certainly agree that for a bomb-around day sailor, they are worth a look.

Carrying extra weight on a foiler = extra loads. That may or may not be an issue, depending on the boat, in addition to the higher takeoff speed. I suspect you may find the increased wind requirements and higher takeoff speed to not be worth the hassle that the foils bring for the few times you can use them.

While I generally agree, these boats are designed for olympic campaigns. That's a hell of an extra load compared to how mere mortals sail them...

A demanding, non olympic sailor, won't drive the boat to that max. There's headroom. These boats are rock solid, and comparably heavy IMO.

With beaching, the foil exit "cassettes" on most Z foilers (inc the Nacras) are either movable or fragile. Sand gets into them and makes a mess. Look at the pictures here: https://nacra17.org/class-update-following-the-nacra-sailing-recall-of-foiling-boats/ - the issue on the N17 is resolved, but shows the 2 techniques you'll see in production cats for the foil exit point. The new one is better, but sand jams it, and is hard to get out. 

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Thanks again for everyones views. I have talked to olympic sailors carrying an extra 100 kg sponsor person on N17 without any problem eccept slightly higher take off speed (I ment to put 40-50 kg earlier). Extra weight is not ideal to any boat I guess. Extra loads, and possible breakage is worse then slightly lower speed. Does anybody know someone witexperience with the FP Essentiel?

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