As reader well put on a comment the other day: We are having all the Fun down here! I'm having a blast sailing these new generation machines (FP, F20 & Foiling A-Cat) while I stay in shape to get back to F18 racing , hopefully at year's end with my new design.
On the FP, I sailed her at Carnac crewing for Outteridge on a perfect 7-8knots flat afternoon. Reports & pics of that trip here.
Now I had the chance to helm (after I helm the F20 some weeks ago, report here).
Pics above are upwind foiling ride taken by Alex Udin. Carnac pic by Nicolas Felix.
It was on Gurvan & Alex last day in BA, I was on the rib taking pics and the guys told me to give it a try, I put my helmet on and I grabbed the helm.
After some mtrs the crew, owner & good friend, started indicating what to do at each second... few hundred meters afterwards we ended heeling windward touching water. Not good...
I told him just to please shut his mouth for 10 seconds for me to feel boat, as foiling upwind is a little bit trickier than downwind no spi.
I did not touched the traveler at all, as my friend didn't want to... but you need to have it at hand for better control.
I felt no need to use it in this ride, mostly on how well we coordinated afterwards. Check informal Test video how traveler trimming is needed with more wind.
He did say no word after I asked please to make some silence..,! Now in perfect harmony we flew smoothly upwind no problem, gaining speed at every second coordinating each others action on helm/mainsheet while we were passing traditional monohulls sailboats as if they were anchored.
It was yet another great flying ride.
- First comparison with the F20 was the lower ride of the FP, I remember
first impression at Carnac , it was high but no relation to the height I felt with the F20.
- Second thing is the obvious size differences, after my F20 rides, the FP felt like a Moth in lenght!
- 3rd was the precision of the rudder system and the mm firm response, in fact you can´t play much with it upwind as the boat reacts instantly, it was a very 'surgical' way to helm and of course coordination with the crew was key. All this remark foiling upwind.
- 4th was the power felt in the F20, like an extra driving force easily assigned to rig size.
On the overall feeling I like both boats, I really liked the F20 sensation while at helm & crewing, more after lowering the height raising the board a little.
On a too critical or looking for details view, the FP helm is more sensitive and rudder system has no play at all and the ride felt more precise, the F20 had more adrenaline to it.
But again, the guys with whom you ride these boats is key, and both owners are excellent sailors.
Although after this great FP upwind ride, we raised the Spi, and my friend started again to give indications and we didn´t end on a smooth ride, so I thanked him and went back to the rib.
This to remark both boats can be foiled quite easy in 7-10knots, but coordination with your crew/helm is vital and Nr 1 thing to address.
For instance on the Nacra F20 ride, I had zero issues flying upwind or downwind since second 0, basically on the owner giving me full trust and zero indications, the boat responded quite nice also, I wrote that Friday: "..one of the best rides ever on a Cat..."
So with whom you ride makes a great part of the experience, I remember Nathan also saying nothing or if any word, said in good manners.
It is just Perfect. And it should after 3yrs of development and that price range.
This beyond any delay with customers Alex is now trying to address, a key aspect I've been mentioning here since they launched the production series.
On which boat to choose? It depends highly in my view on the type of crew weight/size you will ride them. You also now have some price differences , that can be assigned to equipment and details to the FP (Carbon snuffer, foil raise system connected with trapeze, gral layout etc)
Then you have customer service and two different business models.
Which performs better? Repeating Alex's words on an Q&A will publish next week : "Good matchups but nothing conclusive" .
Still much to go, as I clearly remarked in the first informal test video published last week.
Bottom line: I had a blast on both boats flying in 8-10knots. And if you are going for one, try to test both.