Sailing takes off, but do the sailors fly along with it? Not always. The experts agree on that. Because foiling and high-speed sailing is still something for experienced sailors.
Discover the new trends in the multihull segment at boot Düsseldorf 2019. Talk to the experts on site and discover the exciting world of multihulls - from small beach cats to large cruising trimarans!
An increase in attractiveness
Operating the underwater wings is becoming ever easier even on catamarans and technical innovations from the professional sector are increasingly being transferred to leisure boating. Catamaran expert Helge Sach, who offers cat events, high-speed sailing and foiling with his brother Christian, clearly sees an increasing attractiveness of sailing as a sport due to the innovative technology in professional racing and its spectacular medialization as, for example, in the America's Cup.
"Many people come to sailing schools and want to learn sailing. And the new event series by Larry Ellison, the Sail GP, is perfect to keep spectacular pictures pouring in," says Helge Sach. But too often, the step from first experiences on board to sailing your own boat does not work out: "Buying a cat is quite another thing. Most newcomers prefer to charter a boat for their holidays only." As a consequence, if at all, foiling in most cases remains a one-off experience as a guest on board of a friend's boat. "For the usual holiday sailor foiling is rarely of any real interest. A daggerboard catamaran like an F18 is usually more suitable. It's like in dinghy sailing. A beginner won't go straight to a 49er," says Helge Sach.
Despite of such entry barriers, there still is some interest in high-end sailing or it is given away as a Christmas gift voucher. While sailing with the Sach brothers on a Nacra 20 or a M 32 usually gets quite physical, you can almost comfortably enjoy flying across the water on keelboat foilers like the Quant23. Heinz Stickl's sports camp in Malcesine on Lake Garda has specialised in making foiling as simple as possible and offer it to customers. That is the reason for the Quant 23 being on the market. But customers may also try agile kats and skiffs with foils.
T-Foils und Flughöhensteuerung
Coaching on the water is provided by Stickl individually from the accompanying motorboat. The iFly catamaran has proven to be the ideal platform for such training courses. With its unique FlySafe automatic foils controlling flight altitude and T-foils on helm and centreboard it is easy to get started with foiling. "Once correctly adjusted, it's almost like being on a flying carpet. The cat lifts easily, is super safe and stable. We are now at the point that we can include foiling in our standard course programme. Once a sailor is standing safely in the trapeze and is not afraid of the speed, it works wonderfully", reports Heinz Stickl, who also has beginner moths in his portfolio, like the Waszp or the Skeeta, small center board foilers.
Even if the challenges are less compared, for example, to a technically highly-equipped moth, it takes a good amount of experience not to fall from the air onto the water. Heinz Stickl is therefore working on the idea of training young sailors from skiff and sporting dinghy classes at sailing camps in spring or autumn. boot Düsseldorf is, of course, a must-attend event for the pioneer of sail coaching on modern boats in order to see the latest developments on the market.
Evolution at a fast pace
And evolution never stops. As soon as one manufacturer or developer has introduced his product to the market, the next one follows suit. The latest new releases are the 69F or Gonet, fast-paced keelboats with foils. The Foiling Dinghy is on the market since this year and is to fill the gap between the Laser and the flying moths. "The boat is as easy to sail as a Laser or a Europe without having to adjust anything on the foils," explains Thilo Keller, naval engineer at the Technical University of Berlin. The boat quickly established itself, after only a few months a two-digit number of Foiling Dinghies was sold. You can see the Foiling Dinghy at boot in the Tech Zone in Hall 15.
While these products increasingly focus on a growing target audience, the A-Cat remains a class for the most savvy tinkerers. At the World Cup, which just ended in Australia, innovative ideas appeared nobody had even thought of before. Glenn Ashby, skipper of the AC winning team 'Emirates Team New Zealand', used a differential in the rudder system in his steering. The adjustable angle of attack of the rudder blades increased the uprighting moment of the foiling cat, allowing Ashby to put more pressure on the rig. The result: The Australians flew up and away ahead of the competition. However, whether such sophisticated control systems will ever arrive in sailing at grassroots level remains at least questionable.
But other developments, such as the decksweeper sail from the high-end segment of catamarans, have already taken this path. "Within a year or two, these sails have become standard in the F18 regatta scene," reports Helge Sach, "and even the Topcat K3 now features these sails. The professional cat sailor also expects that other developments will prevail downwards. The double sails at the next America's Cup, which will replace the wing sails from the 2017 competition, certainly have potential. "I don't think that will be without consequences. The wings were too hard to put into action, but these sails could be a good idea." At boot Düsseldorf Helge Sach will talk about current trends in sailing and the possibilities of foiling at the Sailing Center in Hall 15.
Growing interest in multihulls
But the motto "easy to fly" is not right for everyone. Detlef Mohr, record European champion on different Hobie cats, also observes a trend back to basics among many sailors. "In the Hobie 16 class we make the somewhat astonishing experience that young sailors are entering the class. Some even change over from the 29er, either because other classes are too technical or the pressure to perform is too high." This revival of established classes applies not only to the Hobie 16, but also to the Dart 18. To an extend it is due to the limited range of conditions in which the technically advanced boats can be sailed. You are, for example, dependend on narrow wind and wave ranges, and in some areas foiling is hardly ever possible", says Mohr.
In some clubs the trend of the past couple of years has already reversed. At first, many cat sailors switched to more modern equipment. Then they experienced limitations in operating and controlling it only with great effort and a lot of sailing time spent on shore. By now, the established classes experience a revival in order to get all sailors out on the water without problems. "Of course, the whole thing also has a financial component. Modern technology has its price. There hasn't been anyone in my shop who has asked for foiling boats," says the owner of Sport Mohr in Reinfeld.
Mohr, too, sees a tendency towards holiday sailors who, among other things, want to be on the water for the most beautiful time of the year, but shy away from buying and maintaining their own boat. "Most people interested in sailing dream of turquoise water and colourful sails, not of spectacular rollovers with foiling dinghies or cats."
The fun of speed, however, is not lost so quickly by die-hard sailors and surfers. As a partner for the Danish Dragonfly shipyard, Mohr also distributes their fast-paced cruising trimarans. "This is a market niche that is currently very well booked. Former beach cat sailors don't want to sail all wet all the time, but they still want to sail faster than on monohull keel boats." Dragonfly and Corsair serve this need with their folding trimarans. Overall, sailing on touring catamarans and multihulls is on the rise. Detlef Mohr: "This will be evident at boot Düsseldorf in Hall 15. The influx to the multihull segment is huge, and the visitors queue up to get on the boats."