Nov 25, 2014

2014 CSN Boat of the Year: Flying Phantom

Image: Outteridge & MV by Nicolas Felix. Video: Billy Besson & Matthieu Vandame by Jeremie Eloy / Wanaii Films (If any doubt on why boat of the year just see this video...)  In 2013 the Nacra 17 was definitely the boat of the year on the impact generated in the Multihull World plus the great lively performance the 17 provide to the new breed of Olympic Mixed crews.
Some asked why not the FP, and I remarked that it was still in the proto / pre poduction phase.
In May I had the chance to see and sail the FP at Carnac, seeing this boat flying along the Goldfish super tender was a truly surreal experience, in the sense of it was too perfect, too stable , too good be true, it looked like a smooth rendering.

Early in the year Americas Cup teams started to test the beast and later ordered a pair of FP of their own. Philippe Presti (Oracle sailing coach) sailed it at St Lunaire, and at Carnac it was Nathan Outteridge & Loick Peyron turn (Artemis). These guys had the experience to determine how good and stable the FP was, and just seeing Loick's face after his flight plus his comments were a reassurance of what we all have seen in videos and I was seeing live at the moment.

Then the most indicated and experienced pilot of them all, Nathan Outteridge (who else has AC72 /AC45 Flight

hours, a Moth World Title and a Master degree in A-Class foiling as he showed at Takapuna?)  went for a sail, and his face also denoted a a huge grin. At the end of the day I jumped over the FP and with Nathan at the helm  for a 24knots in 8-9?knots true wind.

If seeing it was great, flying the beast was out of the scale. But the surprise was how easy (in those perfect 8-9knots flat conditions) was to maintain the boat airborne. You may say that having Outteridge at the helm was the reason, but when some 12-14 years old kids got the helm , it was clear our impression was correct, it was literally too easy.

Long sitance Racing +17knots and waves it is another story of course.

The Flying Phantom project was conceived by Martin Fischer and Alex Udin in 2011 as a contender for Santander Olympic trials in parallel with a new F18, but the flying part of the  project was not an 'easy ride', several design iterations and feedback with Groupama Team C-Class  were needed to found the right foils to provide the rides described above.

The FP project first post , path and history since the first renders can be found right here in csn on the Flying Phantom Label.

Along the FP, Fischer designed a bigger sister 32' Flying Cat, the GC32, that had a low start and went to a similar design process phase to finally achieve some spectacular rides in 2014.

Today the FP is in full production schedule with Oralce & Artemis already sailing theirs.

So which is the best way to close 2014 for this project? Nothing better than getting the current Nr 1 Catsailor, Billy Besson , who will be flying and racing the FP in 2015 along F18 World Champ and frequent FP flyer Mathieu Vandame, and shoot best video so far of the new foiling beachcat breed. 

The intention of Phantom International is to create a OD racing circuit , but is going to be interesting to see the production FP at the major long distance Raids like Carnac & Round Texel along the  boat from Nacra that followed the FP, the Nacra 20FCS with plenty more hours & tuning in the bag for both camps.

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