Aug 25, 2016

A-Class: Learning to Foil the Exploder (Part III)

Unusual cold rainy winter this year, so not much sailing. The F18s have been racing and training for the Worlds past months, but the 'Panzer tanks' can sail in almost any condition, with the F18 you can go out and charge +25knots and hard chop/waves.  With the A for me the plan is always to enjoy , easy going style. I've been out with breeze and waves but equipment care is a concern, more when is not yours...

Past Tuesday I could get a good climate window, along baby sitting helping Mom with our 2 months beautiful girl (and third child). 18° Celsius , rather flat with a nice North Eastern, not super steady but excellent to test only for the second time a winglet upgrade I made to the Exploder A14. (check pics left)

First time out with the new wiglets was some months ago, a similar but colder day. That day  when the breeze came up I couldn´t control the bow down attitude (it was crazy a la AC45 Turbo). After the upgrade I maintained previous symmetric section winglets rake as a starting point, but the new assy section from Jakub & Gonzalo is way too efficient and I couldn´t pitch level the A, not even with boards at full back position.

I had to come back and set less rake (outwards transom) to level bow, and use less foil rake too.
The setting stayed there for many weeks, until Tuesday I went out again with mentioned conditions.
12knots maybe of wind, good pressure for moments, it was ideal to test the new settings.

I immediately noticed a leveled and higher flight, without hard dropdowns or sustentation loss from
previous winglets.
Once up you could work your mainsheet and body trim to keep height, also the flight felt much more solid and the new trim from first sail out was pretty safe pitch wise. Previously I had to lift mainfoils a bit to get better pitching stability, as seen in Learning part II.

Another great thing is how the winglets maintain the flow when you helm rather hard, with a little sideways small chop you need to 'drive' along them together with sheet trim.
I'm using now an F18 8:1 system, but the rope is touching center block at exit from the base (top cuad is not rotating that freely) so the sheet in-out is not that smooth as before, which is critical for fine tuning sensitive while airborne.

If you watch Learning to Foil the Exploder part I and Part 2, you will notice in this clip that I'm able to maintain a clear flight much longer, which is result of more hours, but I assign major improvements to the winglet upgrades, also part I has original 2014 foils, which I might test again along these new elevators.

- Foiling Tips
I've been asked for tips to learn to foil... better watch video the British A-Class Association has posted in yt,  the best clinic I've seen yet with Chris Field explaining at detail all concepts and how to address your first flights. Video embedded below.

From my learning process experience I can tell you again: Put lots of hours , latest equipment is not necessary at all.
Start going out with 6-9 knots, put boards in full rake and force the boat to literally 'willie' downwind or try to take off, with that wind strength you have not much risks , and you can feel how the boat reacts, so will get comfortable and learn to react.

- Winglet Trim
Depending on winglets version you might want to go from +1 to -1° rake.
As described above if you have a bow tendency to pitch, you need less winglet rake: Trim outwards transom from your current position.

In contrast if you have to much pointing up and poor control go for a more neutral rake: Inwards transom (from your current position).
Winglet rake elevates or push down your transom, which affects directly your pitching stability.

What I found with these new wingltes is that they override the board rake trim, pretty incredible such a tiny wing can rule over bigger more area main foils.

- Board Setup
After your winglet trim, board setup is easier as can be done while sailing, concept is the same:
Rake foil back and your nose will rise, uncleat fully and you will level down the platform.

Neutral rake in both systems is always faster.
But then again , for those starting I recommend to force foiling in light to medium winds, and progressively start going out with more breeze.

- Trveller position: As pointed out many times, and  at least in the Exploder I found opening widely the traveler gives you extra lateral stability, you fight less to cross level the platform. Check videos how open I always trim it.
On the Dnas  I've sailed here, it doesn´t work that good, you need a more centered trim.

- Speed
As are pretty fast, I reached 19knots that day (or 35,5km by Sony cam gps) , in 12-13 knots is quite a bit. You feel much adrenaline, but you need to go for it and push even harder to have better control, if you doubt and freeze yourself the boat will take command and get ready for a crash or pitch if sailing above medium range winds.

Spare me that shouts/laughs on the video...! But it is always a great sense of accomplishment when you realize you are starting to control flights. having no automatic system is harder but more rewarding in every way. More when you have that immense river and wind conditions for yourself, is called 'Buenos Aires' for a reason..

Will do more sessions  to find best winglet trim and then will sail with Felix / Landy's decksweeper, which will provide surely more stable flight.

- Upgrades
The good thing of current A-Class devel is that you can do upgrades and keep the boat uptodate, when funds available I will go for a Z10 foil upgrade. For the time being two new winglets replacement made plenty of difference with a little investment.

Contact Jakub at to get your set (only winglets are need to updrade, I kept old rudder blades). There is also a newer version of these winglets, curved and with bulb.
Felix will get you a new Deck Sweeper or will cut your old one: , your local loft can modify old ones too as we did here.
Always wear helmet and life vest, our official provider is Forward WIP.

Thanks to their support plus Dna, Scheurer, Dynaflex, IS&D3 and all CSN past sponsors, I'm able to dedicate my life to sail cats and to maintain this website, which by the way I feel really privileged on that fact, more in current global times...

- Pro Expert Tips
Find below  tips fro a Pro and real expert like Chris Field / British Assoc foiling Clinic / - Photo: Chris at Punta Ala Worlds 2016 by