Jun 25, 2015

Q&A with Bob Fischer: Retrofitting a 1998 A-Class into a Foiler

Original Video published at Dutch A-Class Assoc  here - I tried to stabilize it above, not that good results but the flight can be better appreciated. -- 
The theory and main goal behind the US A-Class Fleet bid to remove Rule 8 is to retrofit older boats without much investment. French sailor Bob Fischer has trasnformed the concept into a reality  adapting a Bimare 1998 with L/J foils. He achieved excellent results as seen in video below. Launching issues remain (new solutions will arise) and we're still to see how efficient this setup can become on the racing course.

Nevertheless one thing has been proven with his project: Giving new life to A-Cats that wouldn´t have much chances of sailing or racing again is now possible.

+10yrs old boats can be put back on the water for not much, and if you have / find an older solid platform, a good refined set of foils might convert that older & discarded A-Cat in a fully updated racing weapon.
Beyond racing, Bob is having lots of fun with his 98 Bimare wi
thout investing 26k Euros on the latest A-Class version... 
Congrats to Bob Fischer on this project. Below video plus a Q&A on the modifications.
- CSN: Who designed &  built the foils you fitted on the Bimare 1998?
Bob Fischer: Dario Valenza from Carbonicboats in Australia

- Which rudders did you fit to the Bimare?
Dario Valenza, the same as on Paradox

- How much money did you invested for the conversion?
Last year 2800 euros. All prices plus postage. No taxes out of AUS, but the air postage was 200 euros for the rudder kit and 1000 euros 6 month later for the foils

- How much time did you spent in the modifications?

I made the during the Winter and the problem was the curing of the resin, and to level/align the platform, it was my first time and I didn't want to do a bad job.

- Did you had to cut and re built the dagger case? Or you adapted the foil to insert from below with original case?
Yes I decide to put new center board case delivered with the foil, and I placed near the lateral shrouds,  20 cm in front of the old case,
I was thinking the tension for raising the foils up wind will be better and the distance between the daggerboards and the foils would become better for stability.
But as the buoyancy is better than new A-cats I din´t set any trim to change the rake, the hull displacement will be enough to rise the boat. So I think that old generation of A cat will be a good choice.

- How about launching the A-Cat with the  foils inserted from below?
Not much time the boat is on the foils or over the sand but it is not good to leave it grounded, next time I will put the centerboard case near the inner side of the hull (when rule 8 will be removed for the A Cat) so the foils up were higher than the bottom of the hull
But for the first time having no exact waterline drawing on the Bim it was easier to place the centerboard case with the good angle

- The video shows good stable flight for moments, wind speed for that day?
6 to 11 knots, and was the first time out on the modified Bimare. I could fly easily with just one foil down, and in light wind I put the two foils down,  the boat raise very easily but in this case the speed will be not better and with one foil is more fun to sail.

- Boat speed recorded?
No GPS onboard, but  around 17 to 18 knots with acceleration over 18 knots.
I must train to control the fly and will increase the area of the tip on the daggerboard foil
I have just sailed 6 times with good condition since the 18 February (lot's of Mistral winds at Berre near Marseille)

- How about vmg, could you test against other As, or you were just getting  airborne and having fun?
My VMG is better actually downwind with the old Bim standard daggerboard but I never race  with new settings.

One time I was sailing at "Berre l'Etang" where the last French National were held with a friend who finished 7th and he told me that he was surprised with the possible difference of speed with his 2 year old A cat. I am not sailing regularly and I am just sailing As for one year, I  started with Hobie Cat 16 in 1982

- Thoughts on the project so far ?
I am still learning to sail the A , reason why I didn´t spend time and money with a new paint for the hull, and the sail is second hand too. Front beam was broken and I replaced for an aluminium one. My idea was that if I can fly with old equipment at the beginning it will be easier with new boats.
Currently I'm interested in adapting the French 18HT "Tomcat" with foils from Dario Valenza,  I am looking to find people interested in the project
Also started a Mini6.50 with foils for me.

- Congrats on the work done, do you think this experience sets a good precedent to retro fit 18 yrs old boats?
Yes, perhaps not so old but in good conditions, like Bimare XJ or V1, Flyer, Marström, Vision and boats with good built stiffness.--
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