F-16 Viper or Falcon?

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

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

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

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

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

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

here's the Blade...

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Thanks John,

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

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

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

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


F18 Sailor

Super Anarchist
Annapolis, MD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further, the main reason I personally don't own one despite having a lighter female crew is because of the races the boat is eligible for. I have little desire to travel to a 17 boat Nationals when I can travel to a 17 boat weekend race on the F18 for less money. 
the boat is my favorite catamaran ever - i've set aside concerns about class structure, size, administration and eligibility. these are are *very* valid points, and they used to matter a lot to me. i'm in a different place now. i don't feel any less competitive in my attitude and i'm always trying to do my best, but my days of crewing at the top of the fleet in 20s or F18s are behind me - i'm over 50, and was never the body type needed for those boats anyway, so my run was always an improbable one. i'll take my successes, associations with terrific skippers, and my aging trophies on the wall with grace, and enjoy driving the boat i prefer, in a crowd or alone. i was a pretty good skipper once, but it is a perishable skill. i'm working my way back, and my boat is a joy. i only chimed in because i've had some experience in several F16s, including the two mookie is considering.

Why not, but there is a certain way it has to be done, you may need to be shown by someone but basic principal is, don't forget to release the down haul and sit on the bow until the mast is perpendicular to the wind before trying to upright it. Some of the really light weights fit a righting pole under the tramp which does help.

I right my Falcon single handed all the time!  Too often, really.  It's easy though; I am 82kg/180lbs.  I get the mast pointed upwind (Don't know if that's right or wrong, but it works for me) and the righting line is adequate if the wind is over 8 knots.  You can throw the line over the hull if you need a little more leverage.  I do need a little help from a righting bag if the wind is under 8 knots, or if the boat has been over for awhile and is starting to get water in the mast.  The bag lives rolled up and tied under a foot strap by the back beam, and the straps of the bag get slung over the shoulder for a little extra weight when needed. KISS, works great.