Are the F18 (or F16) going to adopt foiling?

The NACRA 17 and even the NACRA 15 have gone to foiling technology, but those are one-designs.   Of course the A Cats have had it for a while and did a lot of the experimentation and development for foiling beach cats, so there is a precedent for an existing box-rule class to permit the use of foils. 

Will the F18 or F16 classes be adopting foiling technology? Or, will they be denying it to keep the large numbers of existing boats competitive?  If they choose not to go there will we eventually see a new box-rule beachcat formula that is close in size to the 18, which remains popular for larger crews?   Would adopting foiling effectively split the F18 class into two halves, the pre-foiling and post-foiling boats, and hurt people with older boats like Tigers that still want to race them? 

Just wondering what people who know more about this (like active F18 or F16 racers) think.    How does the NACRA 17 do with heavier crews?
The stated optimum crew weight (from sailing.org for the Mixed Multihull class) is just over 300lbs.    400lb crew seems like what F18 (and above) are built for. 
foiling-Nacra-17-santiago-Lange.jpg


 

martin 'hoff

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Wouldn't a foiling F18 look like a Flying Panthom? As I understand it, the FP is based on the F18 platform Phantom International has. Perhaps the popularity of the FP has soaked up the oxygen in that space, at least for a while?

In more general terms, when there's a solidly performing OD the drive wanes for a development class, IMHO.

 

F18 Sailor

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OD classes have never proven successful long term in catamaran racing scenes. The foils in the N17 and N15 are already outdated, and the boats would initially be competitive in an 18' box rule foiling class but soon be out classed. 

From an F18 perspective: First, I have to correct some statements. The tiger and other similar generation boats (Capricorn) are no longer competitive anyway. None have been at the top of the fleet in 7 years. The boats aren't built for 400lb crews; they are built for 335-350lb crews. Newer boats have tons of volume and will skim downwind at high speed.The boats are robust, fast, the class is large as is. Any major changes to the rules would prove problematic for the class in a number of ways, including the potential loss of WS ratification. Foiling is also challenging as while the boats are robust, slamming a 398 lb boat plus 350lb of crew around at 3-4g's when foiling is very significant. It may be possible with pre-preg S-glass epoxy construction and more modern foam cores beyond the allowed PVC foams, but I still have some doubts. The Nacra 17's went to full carbon construction and have pretty beefed up beams relative to what the 18's have. Reducing platform weight also helps with foiling, but this makes existing boats obsolete overnight and is therefore expensive and not appealing to the class base.

What I see happening is the following: Two major manufacturers, Cirrus and Exploder, are building convertible F18's. Goodall have been experimenting with foils in the much lighter Viper F16. Falcon may have a set for their F16. Nacra have the know-how but the F18 is not really a concern for them anymore. I see the F18 class continuing as-is for the next 2-3 years with no interruptions. I do see a box rule 18' foiling class emerging that the convertible F18's can play in, the Phantom Essential and Nacra 17 would likely also be class legal. Perhaps in 5 years the F18 class will end up transitioning to full flight mode but I don't see an intermediate step. It's an interesting time and very complicated situation. I'm also personally on the fence about a convertible boat as the first ones are likely to have some failures due to excessive loads, but maybe not. Exploder in particular understand the loads involved and build a quality product. Cirrus are well regarded in terms of build quality and they will take care of any issues with the Cirrus R^2 in foiling mode.

 

dohertpk

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I hope not. Foiling is expensive, technical and it vastly restricts the design envelope of a boat. I was out in a Hobie Tiger over the weekend in 28 knots of breeze. The boat was a pleasure to sail and I'm a rank amateur as far as cats go. I defy anyone but Olympians and AC vets to get a foiling cat around the course in that kind of weather. The F18 was explicitly conceived in a spirit of thrift and 'value for money'. Second hand boats can be picked up for 10000 euro. This economy would evaporate with the introduction of expensive carbon foils. It's time to step back from the hype for a bit. Foiling is the future of sailing for an elite few with the talent and, more importantly, the wealth to live with these kind of boats. 

 

macca

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From an F18 perspective: First, I have to correct some statements. The tiger and other similar generation boats (Capricorn) are no longer competitive anyway. None have been at the top of the fleet in 7 years. The boats aren't built for 400lb crews; they are built for 335-350lb crews. 
If a top ten team from the last worlds jumped on a Capricorn and put some new rags on it they would still be in the top ten. I would wager that the original Capricorn is still the quickest boat upwind and whilst not easy to sail downwind when the breeze is up, it was never slow.

The older boats are still fast, it's just that the top teams are all sailing new boats. 

With regards to foiling F18's, it would be fun for sure. But there are other classes for that. I think the F18 will continue to offer the best double handed racing platform in its current form for a long time to come. The boats are simple, tough and able to sail in a huge range of conditions. 

Im on my way home after our first training block on the new nacra 17 and it's been great (apart from the issues with the boat not being ready for production, again...) but it's very clear that it's not a great boat for all conditions. The F18 is a boat that can do a lot more and is much more accessible which is what the sport desperately needs. 

And trust me, I am somewhat of a foiling proponent :)

 
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A Class Sailor

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I wish people would get over the attitude of "foiling is the answer, now what is the question!". I believe that foiling will only ever be a small part of our sport, as the top end of the performance market always has been. Why change one of the most popular classes, the F18, into something that will always only appeal to a minority. For those who want a higher performance foiling boat, there already options and there will be more, so lets resist the temptation to stick foils onto anything that moves.

I had Macca's view of the Nacra 17 to start with but would offer another perspective. Let's remember it is a one design and therefore the same for all. Where some see weakness, I see the need for additional skills. If the boats foiled upwind easily, you would need to be less skillful than you need to be now, where you need to be able to judge when to foil and when not to and where if you get it right compared with others, you get a real advantage.The fact the boats aren't great when not foiling upwind means you need extra skills and that gives opportunities. It seems to me that you will need a wider range of skills for this imperfect boat than you would need if the boat was far better. There are few perfect boat (other than the A :D )  so lets not get too hung up on the imperfections. 

I hope the production issues sort themselves out with the N17's. It looks like they have handled the bottom bearing issue reasonably well and I hope that gets rid of the problems. If they can get over this hurdle and the boats are, as reported, far better built and stronger, I suspect that this delay will be forgotten and irrelevant in a year.

 

Red Dolphin

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There are a LOT more long term, successful OD classes than development classes.  A few Hobie and Tornado classes to name a couple.
What Tornados? Doesnt seem very successful to me. Tiger? Flop.. 18? Flop.. 16? manufacturer, and not really a true one design.

When i think of one designs i think E22, Finn, 470, 420, Europe,.... theres no multihulls that could tick the same boxes.

Maybe the tornado but no body sails them. F18 in comparison has been far more successful, and i predict it will continue to do so. The A class is in the same basket. 

 
The F16 rules are a bit more open than most box classes in regards foils and rudders with a 7 degree ( i think that's the figure without looking up the rules ) inclination of the foils and T foils allowed on the rudders.I think there was only one boat built in that configuration that I know of and it showed good potential with the angled foils seemingly to want to semi lift the hull at speed ( with a little more windward hull lift than normal )  without the light wind penalty. T foil rudders were adopted right from 2002 and were really good for the shorter boats.

But the manufacturers never took up the idea and mainstream very ordinary boats were produced ( way over weight and based on F18 hardware ) and any semi foiling thoughts were forgotten when the weight limits were raised.

So the F16 has taken backward steps instead of really exploring the potential of the early rules, will it now update itself to include foils, probably not as the class is too dominated by one manufacturer and they will never allow that whilst making boats out of the same moulds ( read good economics ). I say that with a caveat though in that same manufacturer has tested foils on their F16 and I know the Nacra F16 can be retrofitted with fully lifting foils. If say a certain Australian F16 maker suddenly offers an upgrade package ( which they may well have to do as they do not have a viable potential best selling boat with foils ) then there are a fair number of boats that could easily be upgraded.

Would they make a good foiling boat, probably not as the majority of boats are built pretty simply out of glass, with the upside of over engineered components, and may well be just too fragile and soft to be a really good base boat. In my view it wouldn't be a bad idea though as owners could race F16 sea hugger events and race handicap open events in semi foiling mode. Perhaps a case of C boards and T foil rudder upgrade, a partial foiling solution.

 
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Tornado_ALIVE

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Hobie 16 and 14 are still quite strong.

Tornado, didn't realise the. Umbels have dropped off so much until I started looking at Worlds results.  They have been successful for a very long time, a lot longer than the F18 has been around.  Still have a dedicated group of sailors racing them and hold World and Euro championships.  Still a great class.

The Viper is also an OD Class that is doing fairly well. 

As for Formula classes, the F18 has been very strong for some time now. Unfortunately attendance numbers at World fluctuate from poor to great depending on venue.

Development class, I can only really think of the A Class that has been successful and has been Lo get than the T

 

F18 Sailor

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T_A, the Tornado was far from a one design class when it was at the pinnacle of the sport. They were also expensive relative to most other boat of the time (Nacra 5.8's, then the F18's and Hobie Tigers, not to mention the Hobie 16), as they were a pretty open development boat. Top T teams spent more on sail design in one season than a new F18 cost.

Viper OD racing in Australia may be strong, I also know they do a little in Europe. None in the U.S for example.

Macca, you are correct on the Capricorn front, of the older generation boats it is probably the only one that is competitive as the rig and foils are very similar to the C2 rig and foils, plus as you say it can get to the top mark in first place in the right hands. I do agree with you that the F18 is just fine without foils. Long term I can see some weight reduction and maybe the introduction of curved symmetrical boards (no tacking of boards) and t-foil rudders, which will allow for harder pushing and faster top end speeds in certain conditions. Of course as we saw with the N17's, curved boards can still allow for full flight.

Wayne, the Nacra F16 has the maximum board cant allowed by the class rules and by most accounts it is fast in breeze. Early versions were a tiny bit slower around the course compared with a lightweight Falcon but the newer boats are on weight and competitive.

 
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Tornado_ALIVE

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The Tornado was considered a multi manufacturer one design class.  Re cost, their (Marstrom) quality was second to none and boats had an international life span of more than 10 years.  None of those other classes could come close to that or the resale of the T back in its prime.

As for the old Capricorn, when they were in their prime they were regularly beaten by Tigers.  Throw new rags on a Tiger and gun sailors, I am sure you will see them racing fairly competitively. The F18 Class would have to be the most enjoyable class I have raced in.  Shame I can't have 2 boats.  An F18 and an A.  Wouldn't mind another Big T again one day as well.

 
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Wayne, the Nacra F16 has the maximum board cant allowed by the class rules and by most accounts it is fast in breeze. Early versions were a tiny bit slower around the course compared with a lightweight Falcon but the newer boats are on weight and competitive.
Sam are sure of that, the Nacra F16 at my club is just standard vertical very high aspect boards, I thought the upgrade boards available for it were the later Nacra 15 boards that were effectively a Z board.

Nice boat but quoted as 135kgs seems very good in light breeze as well. 

 

NacramanUK

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1
Sam are sure of that, the Nacra F16 at my club is just standard vertical very high aspect boards, I thought the upgrade boards available for it were the later Nacra 15 boards that were effectively a Z board.

Nice boat but quoted as 135kgs seems very good in light breeze as well. 
All of the first Nacra F16's (pre the 2014 mk.2s) had canted dagger board cases with straight boards only, which is F16 box rule compliant. Post 2014 boats (Mk.2s) all have dagger board cases that can hold either straight boards (not canted) which is F16 box rule compliant or curved foils which is not F16 box rule compliant.

 
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Curious2

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I wish people would get over the attitude of "foiling is the answer, now what is the question!". I believe that foiling will only ever be a small part of our sport, as the top end of the performance market always has been. Why change one of the most popular classes, the F18, into something that will always only appeal to a minority. For those who want a higher performance foiling boat, there already options and there will be more, so lets resist the temptation to stick foils onto anything that moves.

I had Macca's view of the Nacra 17 to start with but would offer another perspective. Let's remember it is a one design and therefore the same for all. Where some see weakness, I see the need for additional skills. If the boats foiled upwind easily, you would need to be less skillful than you need to be now, where you need to be able to judge when to foil and when not to and where if you get it right compared with others, you get a real advantage.The fact the boats aren't great when not foiling upwind means you need extra skills and that gives opportunities. It seems to me that you will need a wider range of skills for this imperfect boat than you would need if the boat was far better. There are few perfect boat (other than the A :D )  so lets not get too hung up on the imperfections. 

I hope the production issues sort themselves out with the N17's. It looks like they have handled the bottom bearing issue reasonably well and I hope that gets rid of the problems. If they can get over this hurdle and the boats are, as reported, far better built and stronger, I suspect that this delay will be forgotten and irrelevant in a year.
Well said, and the same to Macca.

Foiling's quite fun, but part of the appeal must be the fact that it's a new sensation. The feel of an F18 balancing on one hull and slicing is also fantastic. Some people love the silent efficiency of a foiler but some of us love the hull carving and a bit of spray flying. It's a little bit like the difference between carving through perfectly calm water in the lee of a low-lying obstruction, and hooning down a huge wave - both fun but in different ways.

 
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Curious2

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OD classes have never proven successful long term in catamaran racing scenes.
The first two real modern cats, the Yvonne (1952) and Shearwater (1955), both still have OD classes and they are over 60 years old. The Hobie 16 is still the world's biggest cat class and it's obviously a long term one design success. The one design Dart 18 is the biggest cat class in the UK and it's now over 40 years old.

One designs have therefore lasted longer in multis than any development class.

 
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Red Dolphin

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The first two real modern cats, the Yvonne (1952) and Shearwater (1955), both still have OD classes and they are over 60 years old. The Hobie 16 is still the world's biggest cat class and it's obviously a long term one design success. The one design Dart 18 is the biggest cat class in the UK and it's now over 40 years old.

One designs have therefore lasted longer in multis than any development class.
You can be a development class and still be a One Design. Im sure you've heard of a 505? Im pretty sure it's from the 50s. Lets not confuse One Designs and Manufacturer Classes like the Hobie 16 and Nacra 17. I agree with Sam there are very few successful One Design Multis. The Tornado and the Dart might be the only truly international One Design Multihulls.  Box Rules and Manufacturer Classes are the most common. There's nothing wrong with that but we should stop pretending some classes are one designs, when they aren't.

 

Tornado_ALIVE

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The A Class would have to be the most successful cat development class long term.  Developed 55 years ago is still going strong.  I cannot think of any other development class that rates a mention.

The H16 would have to be the most successful OD class and is 47 years old.

The Tornado, 50 years old has dropped in numbers but still a successful international OD class.

The F18 Class, whilst currently a very successful Formula class, has only been around 25 years.  Still impressive however nowhere near as long term as the others above.

 
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