Apr 5, 2017

Performance Sailing & Nacra 17 Foiling Gybes: Q&A with Bora Gulari



Light Ship - Foiling Nacra 17
Quantum Helmsman Bora Gulari & Helena Scutt flying on a Nacra 17!
Posted by Quantum Racing on lunes, 3 de abril de 2017
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Videos published in Fb by Quantum Racing & Nacra , follow links above if not able to watch or load. Photos left: Rod Harris, Martina Orsini & Sailing Energy/ WS - -
Moth World Champ X2, US Nacra 17 representative at Rio 2016, Quantum Racing helmsman, also recruited by Prada for the later aborted AC35 campaign plus Melges 24 top 5 skipper among other achievements. Bora is simply one of the best sailors in the World.

Videos above shows Bora and Helena Scutt testing the new Nacra 17 MKII foils and a series of foiling gybes published today by Nacra.
Bora will continue his Nacra 17 campaign after Rio and we might tend to imply his flying experience in such technical foiling boat like the Moth will give him an advantage over others with floating background.

Just to start ....those foiling gybes above are a joke, impressive. We've never seen something that smooth, maybe John Tomko's one on the S9. This clip is key to understand why the 4pt 'Z' foil system in the end will be faster than TNZ 3pt J config. There is no way to match that smooth handling having to raise and put down the Js on an F20 or an MKII for the matter

Bora and Helena skills are showing also that the Nacra 17 foils are already a step further from their A-Cat concept origins.

We contacted 'Flight Master' Bora Gulari to know how this early test are going and what can we expect for the future of performance sailing. Lots of interesting concepts covering N17s, Moths, As and the AC.
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Q&A with Bora Gulari:

- CSN: Reviewing background you 've campaigned for the Olympics in two
occasions, how was the feeling of racing at Rio finally?
- Bora Gulari: It was the best experience of my life, though I think I say that every time I go sailing. The reward though to be able to represent my country. That means more to me than anything else.

- You are sailing with a new crew, Helena Scutt, which is the schedule
for the team this year, and when you will get a brand new MKII?
We are scheduled to get our first boat in the initial batch of boats. June 26th if all goes well.

- Do you see more US teams attempting to campaign for Tokyo or the
foiling mode and mandatory new boat will back some to wait and see?
I think there will be a good amount of US teams competing, I believe there are 4 teams already purchasing boats, and with the Oakcliff Foundation also purchasing a good amount of boats, the ability for new teams to train without the initial capital investment of a boat is high.

- Seeing the IOC push for foiling in the Nacra 17, chances are the Moth will get its place too in the future. Light winds racing might be an issue but I see local moths flying already in 6knots here in BA. Which your thought Mot
BG:I have been anti Moth in the Olympics for quite some time, maybe a locked in design of the moth makes sense, though what I would hate to see is a dumb down version. The Moth is as special as it is because of the development nature of the class. I remember when I started sailing the boat upwind vmg speed was 13 knots, now 18 knots is quite common the boats are so special. Go find a friend with a well set up one and give it a go, just make sure you have some spare money in your bank account because you will want one.

- Nacra 17: How were your first flights on the new MKII foils? Looks like plenty of crew work and coordination, and I saw you have an open traveller in some shots without spin.
BG: I think the new boat is a dramatic improvement over MKI, the old boat had the ability to generate a lot of lift but all of it was coming from one point, making the boat quite unstable in pitch.

I would dare to say pitchpoles in the Nacra 17 are basically a thing of the past with the proper technique. We did try sailing two sails downwind I think it can work but will take a lot of practice to get the technique right. The coordination between the helm and crew is going to be next level stuff, gone is the inherent stability of a cat. The boat is now sitting ontop of a teeter toter in the roll axis and there is a lot of inertia, feels much more like a big skiff than a catamaran in that axis to me.

- Coming from two Moth World titles you have plenty experience on foiling, saw you had some runs on the Dna F1 A-Cat too. After few outs on the new MKII foils, how you see the transition in the Nacra 17 from floating/skimming to full foiling?
BG: I think it is a good thing I believe the boat is much safer to sail now at least in a straight line, we will see how the fleet deals with the added speed, I am not sure the RRS do a great job dealing with fast foiling boats. Hopefully the fleet accepts that safety and avoiding collisions is more important than anything else.

- Is possible to have a split fleet in performance (as seen in the A-Cats) from those who can adapt faster to the new mode?
BG: No I don´t think we'll have a perf gap. And for the MK1, the boat is still a good boat people can use it in handicap racing if they want, but  now the Olympic class is now foiling.

- You think upgrade kits will worth in terms of official racing, or will become useful for those crews that need to have a local training boat only?
BG: I think the new boats are built with better materials and quality control, I would only use a converted boat for training but that is just me.

- Nacra 17 MKII will be OD, but we know that fine tuning and boat preparation will be key, as seen also with MKI, with your experience and know how you might have an advantage at the start over others without such flight hours behind?
BG: I was thinking about it yesterday, as  in about 30 days it would have been 10 years since I first took flight, does that give me an advantage probably not as we are all starting from the same point. Something that I am very excited about is that you don't get nearly as wet in the new boat, I always joke that I love the water but hate getting wet.

- Morrelli & Melvin have adopted the 4pt Z foil system of the Acats for the MKII. How do you see flight development in the As ? I'm seeing the gap against the Moth is being reduced with upwind foiling. But for me is not one vs the other, but more of a tech driven match. A shorter rig might be the answer for As aiming for the Moth superior efficiency?
BG: I do think that there has to be a trade off from induced drag efficiency of having a higher aspect ratio rig and being able to carry more sail power by lowering the center of effort. If I owned an A cat I probably would be thinking long and hard about a shorter rig.

- I've been analyzing MKII and lately FP Essentiel foils span and their vid flights available, including yours from this week. Aside platform size / weight / inertia diff it seems the added span is only bringing benefits. 
Do you think adding more span might reach an easier stable flight in the As say for rookies and older guys?
BG: Yeah I think it helps a bit, I don't believe the right platform is out there yet. T foils with flaps are so good, you can take a low drag section and morph it into a high lift section. Ask Randy Smyth I think he is close in concept to a proper foiling easy to sail boat.

- Have you done any devel of your own for Moths or As?
BG: Yeah I have done a bit on the moth in the past and there is some new ideas coming too. Being friends with some smart people like Matt Struble gets one creative juices going.

- AC: You were short of being in Bermuda with Prada, how do you see AC50 devels and and progression coming form the 72s.
BG: Quite exciting, the boats are spectacular. That being said I feel like boats that could be as fast without the need to move oil constantly could be developed.

- You have an Aerospace Engineering degree , how do you see the OD platforms scenario and the restricted R&D for the AC50 rule?
BG:  I understand the reasons for the rules being what they are but it is not what I think is in the spirit of the Americas Cup over its history.

- How about the push button foiling tech? Is the only way to go at that level and size? No chance to develop control with more appendage and manual trimming for the fast reaction needed at such speeds for the AC50s?
BG: I do think that we should embrace some computer controls, I fly racing quadcopters as a distraction when there is no wind. They have $30 flight controllers that make the unstable stable, I would like to see control systems be implemented on bigger foilers I think it will only make it safer, we have all see people going over the front beam on the big cats I bet that would not happen if a control system was in control.

- Current projects: You are sailing with Quantum Racing, which is the program of the team ?BG: Yes I am sailing with them, the team is awesome I am honored to be a part of it and I am just trying to learn and get better every day, lots of legends in that fleet.

- Any other sailing or own project you want to promote or acknowledge
Bora Gulari: Just the fact I believe in my heart that the US Sailing Team is on track for a major turnaround in the Olympic world and I am beyond excited to be a part of it and make a difference.
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