Nacra 15 FCS for fun

martin 'hoff

Super Anarchist
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Miami
How did you make out at Nationals? What did you come away with learning wise?

Yes not much chance Nacra is going to make a big effort at this point to give us raking rudders unless the class goes fully foiling and I guess there is not a push at the N15 grass roots level to go that direction because of safety issues? Have started to draw something out, definitely looks workable ... will send you something across in a week or so

Mostly solo sailing lately, finally got the nerve up to hoist the spinnaker in more than 12 knts ... not as bad as I thought it would be, definitely more stable with the spin than with just the jib
We learned a ton, and we had a ball! :)

We finished 11th of 15. Lots of gear trouble - cost us enough points that we think we'd be 8th (on back of the envelope numbers w the DNFs and considering our finishes in the completed races). And the wind turned up for the races (11-18kt with big and choppy swells) – but we had not seen wind for 3 months so we were rusty as f...

Quick random mix of notes

  • When switching from Z boards to C boards, there's 8 holes you must plug. If you don't, you may find many many gallons if water in your hull. In a fit of fury, I put a dab or gflex.
  • We also had badly leaking footstraps. Lots. Of. Water. Cured all water intakes by end of the regatta, but cost us performance in 8 of 10 races.
  • We're off the pace upwind
    • Upwind performance in 11-18 with pulsating wind demands helm active on cunningham - which works best with 16:1 (which we don't have)
    • Boat has a fantastic groove upwind - hard to find, even harder to keep in choppy-gusty, but amazing when you find it and can keep it going for a good stretch
    • We lacked practice in wind+chop - last 3 months no wind
  • Lots of work refining takeups for various things, continuous cunno, jib, and cunningham-to-trap-handle. All these are amazing when they are just-so, and a headache when it's almost-but-not-100%-right.
  • We were using Ronstan orbit 55 autoratcheting, but it doesn't ease promptly enough for fast gybes. Switched to harken.
  • Moved the skipper trapeze bungee just a bit aft for easier crew in/out moves when skipper stays sitting.
  • We're fast downwind, and took 2-3 boats on almost every downwind but
    • was hard to stay in the groove in massive short swell
    • crew (me!) was slow in maneuvers - time from sail-is-up to locked-on-footstrap, toggled-down, go-full-power was too long - same on gybes
    • We lacked practice in wind+chop - last 3 months no wind
  • There's a lot of subtletly in main trim upwind, and spin/main/helm downwind :) if/when you get it all in sync, turbo kicks in – this boat has a high gear – extra hard to keep it going in big swell, but once you get that groove for a little bit, and you know it's there...
If/when we could keep with the fleet upwind, we'd overtake 2-3 boats on the downwind. Short version is that if we get on the pace upwind, tune a little bit the dw, we could be top 1/3 of the fleet.

We know what to work on :)
 
Hey lots of interesting points there, been getting some water in the hull but I think its mainly from leaks in the hull plugs when we dump (used to put vaseline on the 505 & 470 ones to stop them from leaking) but I should have a look at the foot straps a make sure I dont have something happening there

Your right about the Ronstan autoratchets they are sticky, thought it was my imagination, can see that slowing you down in gybes while racing...might make the change to the Harkens over the winter as well

Boat is a bit of an ogre upwind in chop (even compared to the H16), technique is definitely key to try and make it run smoother...and more practice you get in it the better you get at controlling it (we get a lot of chop so we are always trying different things like crew location, hull height, angles etc to run it smoother upwind)

Having said that you are absolutely correct if you find the right groove upwind this boat takes off, even with the Z foils it is noticeable ... get it not quite right and the boat drags a bit ...cant say we have solved that mystery to the point of consistency...some days if feels like it should be going faster but you cant find the right groove for the wind and wave conditions that day...tried all sorts of trim adjustments and nothing has much of an effect ... come out the next day with the boat set up the same and in the same conditions and it flies...when we use the decksweeper we find the same thing although we seem to have a little larger sweet spot to work with

Not surprised you are fast downwind as I am sure foiling helps with technique and optimizing the power in the genaker and secondly from the videos your son seems to be very competent control wise downwind and I am sure that translates over to the C Foils
 

smartin442

New member
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Vancouver
Martin, you have created a great information source for your progression on the F15 FCS. Much appreciate everything you've shared. Based on your videos, it appears Roger and I are about where you were in the Fall of 2021 in our progress. I see in your videos of April 24, June 23 and July 12, 2022 that you really start to get in the groove and are foiling for longer periods of time. Can you remember what changes you made to your sailing technique between the Fall of 2021 and those videos that has allowed you to foil more consistently? ie. very few drops from foils stalling. I have a number of ideas for us to implement, but was curious what magic worked for you.
 

martin 'hoff

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Miami
@smartin442 - glad it's useful :) – those are some very specific questions.

The easy answer is: We went to Clearwater and trained with Robbie from Red Gear Racing. If you go, stay with them. You won't regret it.

Longer answer – lots of things! all on downwind foiling
  • Mainsail tighter
  • Mainsail sheet trimming in tandem with steering
  • Much better steering – combination of
    • steer to the rhythm of waves
    • steer smoother by steering with the knuckles on deck or wrist on hip - steer smaller but earlier
  • Try to keep positive pressure all the time between mainfoils (pushing up) and rig+crew (pushign down)
    • More foil rake
    • Crew more forward
    • Avoid sudden eases - that remove downward pressure and lead the boat to pop or foil higher
  • Crew "bend the knees" instead of "walk the boat" – each heavy step is likely to trigger ventilation
    • If you must walk, walk like a ballerina
  • We also re-surfaced our foils probably July 1st. we had severe scratchign on them - so they were very prone to ventilation. We used the foil condition situation to force ourselves to smooth out steering, mainsheet and "walking" of the boat.And we put in a ton of time from around t

More generally, we put a lot of time on the water – the videos are for the fun runs, but we'd do 3 outings of 2hrs each week, and we'd do full on short course start/upwind/downwind. The 'grind' doesn't make for fun videos – but provides the backbone for what we do on the fun outings.

I'll note that our training in Clearwater was on C foils. It's a different balance mode, but the core dynamics are very similar.
 

smartin442

New member
4
0
Vancouver
@smartin442 - glad it's useful :) – those are some very specific questions.

The easy answer is: We went to Clearwater and trained with Robbie from Red Gear Racing. If you go, stay with them. You won't regret it.

Longer answer – lots of things! all on downwind foiling
  • Mainsail tighter
  • Mainsail sheet trimming in tandem with steering
  • Much better steering – combination of
    • steer to the rhythm of waves
    • steer smoother by steering with the knuckles on deck or wrist on hip - steer smaller but earlier
  • Try to keep positive pressure all the time between mainfoils (pushing up) and rig+crew (pushign down)
    • More foil rake
    • Crew more forward
    • Avoid sudden eases - that remove downward pressure and lead the boat to pop or foil higher
  • Crew "bend the knees" instead of "walk the boat" – each heavy step is likely to trigger ventilation
    • If you must walk, walk like a ballerina
  • We also re-surfaced our foils probably July 1st. we had severe scratchign on them - so they were very prone to ventilation. We used the foil condition situation to force ourselves to smooth out steering, mainsheet and "walking" of the boat.And we put in a ton of time from around t

More generally, we put a lot of time on the water – the videos are for the fun runs, but we'd do 3 outings of 2hrs each week, and we'd do full on short course start/upwind/downwind. The 'grind' doesn't make for fun videos – but provides the backbone for what we do on the fun outings.

I'll note that our training in Clearwater was on C foils. It's a different balance mode, but the core dynamics are very similar.
Martin, thanks so much for your succinct and thoughtful answer. Based on our experience so far and all the reading I've done, it makes total sense. We are in dialogue with Red Gear Racing and may head down there in the Spring timeframe.
 

smartin442

New member
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0
Vancouver
Martin, thanks so much for your succinct and thoughtful answer. Based on our experience so far and all the reading I've done, it makes total sense. We are in dialogue with Red Gear Racing and may head down there in the Spring timeframe.
Martin, heard from Red Gear that you may be interested in joining us for training. Is there a way for me to contact you directly so we can discuss dates that would work? Perhaps you can reach out to me on Facebook and I can direct message you. Search for Stewart Martin, my picture is just my face with sunglasses. I tried searching for you, but no luck.
 

smartin442

New member
4
0
Vancouver
Martin, thanks so much for your succinct and thoughtful answer. Based on our experience so far and all the reading I've done, it makes total sense. We are in dialogue with Red Gear Racing and may head down there in the Spring timeframe.
Martin, heard from Red Gear that you may be interested in joining us for training. Is there a way for me to contact you directly so we can discuss dates that would work? Perhaps you can reach out to me on Facebook and I can direct message you. Search for Stewart Martin, my picture is just my face with sunglasses. I tried searching for you, but no luck.
 

martin 'hoff

Super Anarchist
2,215
1,077
Miami
1000002554.jpg

A dozen N15s at Miami Yatch Club for Thanksgiving weekend...
 

Stanno

Member
243
279
Sydney
Meanwhile in Australia 100% (3 of 3) of Nacra 15 (C and Z board boats) are for sale, and 3 of 5 C board boats are for sale in NSW. There are no boats already in South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania or the ACT. The class is collapsing fast following Australian Sailing's decision to not participate in World Sailing's World Youth Championship from 2023 onwards. Such a shame. My son is selling his C board boat, but keeping his Z foiler.

If anyone wants a 6 boat "instant fleet" for their club anywhere in the world, please reach out and we will see if we can put together a container load!!!!
 

martin 'hoff

Super Anarchist
2,215
1,077
Miami
Meanwhile in Australia 100% (3 of 3) of Nacra 15 (C and Z board boats) are for sale, and 3 of 5 C board boats are for sale in NSW. There are no boats already in South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania or the ACT. The class is collapsing fast following Australian Sailing's decision to not participate in World Sailing's World Youth Championship from 2023 onwards. Such a shame. My son is selling his C board boat, but keeping his Z foiler.

If anyone wants a 6 boat "instant fleet" for their club anywhere in the world, please reach out and we will see if we can put together a container load!!!!
That's super sad. As far as i can tell the class is seeing resurgence in Europe and definitely being driven for growth here in USA.

Au has the talent and the venues to sail and foil multihulls both in flat waters and sea conditions.

Where will N17 sailors come from for the next cycle? Watehouses and Darmanins don't grow on trees. Jason's parents are crazy cat sailors, his dad has done multiple worrell 1000s.
 

Stanno

Member
243
279
Sydney
That's super sad. As far as i can tell the class is seeing resurgence in Europe and definitely being driven for growth here in USA.

Au has the talent and the venues to sail and foil multihulls both in flat waters and sea conditions.

Where will N17 sailors come from for the next cycle? Watehouses and Darmanins don't grow on trees. Jason's parents are crazy cat sailors, his dad has done multiple worrell 1000s.
Yep... there are a few great youngsters coming off the first crop of N15 sailors from 5-6 years ago that might be ready by LA 2028- the Liddell boys, Rhi Brown, Will Cooley etc that got out of the boat and into N17's fairly quickly ... but behind that?? Will probably be some youngsters who come to the Olympic class via F16/ F18 cat families and clubs ....
 
Too bad to hear the class seems to be failing down under, do you think if it had become a true foiling class that it would have suffered a similar fate?

I know parents seem to think the boat is dangerous in foiling mode but now having spent a season on the boat I would disagree, spent more time getting T bagged than anything else and never once went around the mast on the trap or went over on the leeward side or pitch poled. Probably the worst we got was when the boat went over on the windward side and dumped you in the water about 5 - 10 feet away from the boat and then the boat powered back up pulling you out of the water sending you sideways back toward the windward hull...resulting in a nasty bounce off the hull. Sounds to me like in C-foil mode the boat is much more susceptible to pitch pole...which is a far worse fate ... I think we had both hulls buried up to the front cross bar at times and it showed no signs of wanting to pitch pole

Have got worse thrashings from the H16 and 505
 
Stewart made up this collection of videos and shots from our first season, a few takeaways and stats from the season.



Fastest Downwind Speed Reached - 21.8 Knts
Fastest Upwind Speed Reached - 16 knts
Tiller extensions broken - 3 (2 aluminum / 1 carbon fiber)
Spinnakers Rips - 1 (3 feet long)
Vakaros Atlas 2's trashed - 1 (replaced under warranty)

- Boat is much more stable foiling downwind with the spinnaker as opposed to without it (white sails only), even single handing it was surprising more stable with than without...thought it would be overpowering but it wasnt
- Decksweeper mainsail seemed to trim much better than the regular main, the boat notably accelerated up to speed quicker than with the conventional main
- Flatter and slightly longer spinnaker seemed to keep the front end of the boat down in higher wind speeds whereas the Nacra cut FCS spinnaker seemed to work better at lower wind speeds (likely as it was a fuller cut)
- Definitely harder to keep the boat on foils in larger or choppy wave conditions, think the shorter Z foils (as opposed to the longer N17 ones) give less margin for error in these conditions (ie less ride height)

Anyway have to thank Martin for his guidance, we went from being completely out of control at the beginning to having some semblance of control by the end of the season. This forum definitely cut our learning curve down substantially by providing a place to answer questions, there are just so few places to get information on foiling these types of boats...and while there is some cross over with the A Class it is not the same animal at all

Going to take your advice Martin, Stewart and I have booked ourselves into Red Gear for the first week of May. Will give us an opportunity to ask all those questions we still have about the nuances of foiling one of these things and clearly there is still lots for us to learn

Going to put sometime into seeing if we can figure out how to rake the rudders

R
 

Stanno

Member
243
279
Sydney
Too bad to hear the class seems to be failing down under, do you think if it had become a true foiling class that it would have suffered a similar fate?

I know parents seem to think the boat is dangerous in foiling mode but now having spent a season on the boat I would disagree, spent more time getting T bagged than anything else and never once went around the mast on the trap or went over on the leeward side or pitch poled. Probably the worst we got was when the boat went over on the windward side and dumped you in the water about 5 - 10 feet away from the boat and then the boat powered back up pulling you out of the water sending you sideways back toward the windward hull...resulting in a nasty bounce off the hull. Sounds to me like in C-foil mode the boat is much more susceptible to pitch pole...which is a far worse fate ... I think we had both hulls buried up to the front cross bar at times and it showed no signs of wanting to pitch pole

Have got worse thrashings from the H16 and 505
I think the reasons the class is failing here have very little to do with whether the boat is a foiler or not... it is just become a bit of an orphan class and with Australian Sailing deciding not to support sending teams to the World Youth championships, the primary reason to be in this class as opposed to a Hobie 16 or F16 type class, which has clubs all over the country that sail them, has been removed. The local Nacra dealer in Qld has done their very best to support the class, but they have been able to sell maybe half of one boat a year for the past 3 or 4 years - its a tough game.

Other foiling classes like Wasps have slowly gained a foothold and seem to have a different crowd to the Moths, and the "wing ding" foilers seem to be the emerging lower cost entry point to foiling a 'sailboard like' fun machine, as opposed to the IQFoils...
 
....or because of this lack of support at the lower level do you think the end is nigh for the N17 class in Oz ... or are the sailors for this class now going to come from the other classes (Waspz, Moth, H16, F18)

Guess it all comes back to what an Olympic class should represent a boat with wide spread accessability or leading techology with limited accessibility due to price point
 

Stanno

Member
243
279
Sydney
....or because of this lack of support at the lower level do you think the end is nigh for the N17 class in Oz ... or are the sailors for this class now going to come from the other classes (Waspz, Moth, H16, F18)

Guess it all comes back to what an Olympic class should represent a boat with wide spread accessability or leading techology with limited accessibility due to price point
I think the N17 will continue to be a very high performance class solely sailed by Australian Sailing Futures, Squad and Team sailors. There might be the odd one popping around the Nacra clubs, especially in WA and Qld, but as they are the Olympic boat they will continue to attract superbly talented young sailors into them in their late teenaged years. Ironically, the kids sailing them now were the lucky youngsters who got a start in the Nacra 15 when it was first launched, and they got to go to Youth Worlds as well as the odd N15 worlds before Covid shut it down.
 

Stanno

Member
243
279
Sydney
Also, I think that the basis of the AS team for the next 3 if not 4 Olympic cycles will come from the ranks of those already sailing the boats, with maybe the odd skiff sailor coming across in later years to top up. Parents of teenagers in Australia are coming to the realisation that their 15 year old won't be in the running for the next home Olympics in 2032, and if you aren't already seriously world ranked in all the senior Olympic classes there isn't going to be much of a youth sweep up in coming years to locate and develop talent.
 




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