Nov 9, 2016

New Flying Phantom "Essentiel": Q&A with Alex Udin

All renders Phantom International / Alex Udin. - Interesting to see how ideas converge driven by experience & RD and common sense. We've been writing about 4pt foiling on double handed cats for a while, even before the adoption by Nacra/Morrelli Melvin for the 15 & 17.
In fact this project , the new Phantom 'Essentiel' is basically what we have in mind as plan B for the F18 Scorpion hull, and I even wrote a for the record document some months ago for the F18 Class WC,   not on the foiling per se, but on the ability to fit a 4pt foiling boards setup on a convertible dagger case a la Nacra 15 and epoxy hulls (no carbon) construction to add structural support and longer life and the alternative to use the same platform in floating F18 legal racing mode and foil for fun.

The Alu mast and beams, epoxy (no carbon)  hulls, 170kg and 4pt Foil conf is without  doubt an excellent choice and If you add 3kgs total , a wood core ,  and the possibility to fit straight boards you would have a legal racing F18 platform changing just rudders. Which again was my goal too, as I don´t have 40k for an FP I will use an F18 mast the holly grail will be an F18 Class legal wood core Scorpion hull  to support the foiling loads plus a convertible dagger case.
Goal: 1 boat only for all purposes.

FP 'Essentiel'
Alex Udin & Phantom International launching another version of the Flying Phantom weapon & racing machine is a wise and practical concept pretty well defined with its name "Essentiel".
In the end for many sailors the main goal is to foil but without breaking your bank account.
Although the FP series are gathering momentum and the FP are winning Long Distance races and else, many buyers of the FP & Nacra F20 just sail those machines for fun.
This new recreational foiling 'movement' is also confirmed by the sales of the S9 or the launch of the i-Fly.

The new FP 'Essentiel' price range starts at Euros 21,900, which is roughly 2k more than an brand new F18 in Europe. I have to mention Alex press people once sent a hard complaint on me wanting to launch a 20k 18 foiler. They missed to read this site is indeed a sailor/builder's blog.
But now I'm glad they have adopted now the concept too and continue to launch new boats.
Here in CSN we have the highest respect and support for those putting efforts to offer more boats to the sailors, and daring to embark themselves in a cat building process. Whichever the level, price and performance, as 'we' are builders ourselves.

---Edit: On some confusion on SA forums....Text above is CSN Editor's notes..... ----

Below a Q&A with Alex Udin about the new Flying Phatom 'Essentiel', remember he was the first along Martin Fischer to go for a production foiling double handed cat back in 2012. More info on the project contact Alex & his team at
CSN: Seeing the specifications of the new Phantom Essentiel we see hulls size are the same (mold) as the FP and main difference aside carbon mast  & mts width  is the 4pt foil setup. 
In your press release you address the comments we've been reporting also in Catasilingnews about the 3pt vs 4pt foil so is nice to see you offering a say an easier platform to handle for all sailing levels skills.

- Alex Udin: Hi Martin, First of all I would like to congratulate Pablo Volker and Juan Martin Benitez for their first Formula 18 World Title on a F18 Phantom obtained in Buenos Aires past week. Regarding our new project, Phantom International is expending in 2 different programs:

Racing has always been part of our DNA and our brand has built his reputation on high performance gear. The Flying Phantom materialized our wish to design a unique high end racing boat without compromise. She is using the finest technologies in the industry like full carbon prepreg, Nomex honey comb sandwich, hi modulus carbon foils cured autoclave.

More than 100 Flying Phantom are now foiling in 26 countries. The Flying Phantom Series is growing, we are about to announce within the next weeks a major partnership with one of the largest sailing event organizer which will boost the tour for the coming years.

On the other hand, we want to offer a new range of high end foiling boat oriented for Freeride. The Flying Phantom Essentiel is an 18' all around boat easy to use, able to foil in a wide range of conditions and attract new people to foiling. This new boat is based on the expertise Phantom International has built up over the last 5 years being the pioneer in foiling catamarans.

Both boats are 18' which we believe is a good compromise between the length required to have the boat foiling in a wide range of conditions and load to make it not too physically demanding for the crew.

- Have you tested already this new 4pt foil conf ? If so how stable it is vs the already rock solid flying of the FP?
AU: We are testing 4 foils set up since 2012 on the first Flying Phantom prototypes (3D image attached).
We believe a 3 foils set up is more high performance oriented for our racing range while the 4 foils set up fits perfectly with our Freeride program.

Foiling with both dagger boards down makes the boat to be more user friendly and less physically demanding for the crew. The FP Essentiel foils are optimized for early take off and stability in order to improve the accessibility of the boat.

- Why L rudders? You describe a safety feature but at least for my own experience in the As the Ts seem to be more stable and the Ls faster?
AU: Safety is very important for the program of this boat, the L shape rudders make the boat safer for the crew if anyone falls overboard. We did increase the rudder elevator area to optimize the stability of the boat.

- How about production process and costs of the new daggers compared to the Js? They should be lighter and cheaper to produce?
AU: The loads of this foil configuration are significantly lower than on the "L" shape single board. The geometry of the dagger board makes it also much easier to build, the elbow between the tip and the shaft is very complex to manufacture on the "L" boards.

- Handling is clear will be 4 foils down at all points of sailing? Any difference with current A-cat concept?
AU: The A class rules limit the distance between the 2 tips of the boards, if you get rid of this rules you can increase the dihedral of the tip in order to optimize the stability.

- 4p foils and L rudders were Martin Fischer first concept for the Mayfly and then for the original FP concept. Who designed or is behind these new foils? 
AU: The Flying Phantom Essentiel was designed internally by our design team and we did work with Gonzalo Redondo (D3 Applied) on the CFD and VPP optimization of the foils.

- Why are you offering wing seats? Trapeze are delivered in the factory package? I remember Fer van West & Jakub telling me Wings are somehow good for foiling too their 20s.
AU: The Flying Phantom Essentiel is equipped with optional side wings in place of trapeze to improve crew accessibility. Side wings offers to have a very safe and comfortable position for the crew while you are foiling above the water at more than 20 knots.

- Hull construction for the new Essentiel?  FP ones are super light.
This new platform overall weight + Alu + 4pt foil conf mast looks pretty close to what I had in mind for a cost effective foiler, using epoxy but no carbon for hulls laminate.

AU:The righting moment of the Flying Phantom Essentiel is lower than on the Flying Phantom due to his narrower platform (2,55m vs 3m) and foils configuration. That significantly reduce the stress on the platform and on the foils which allow to use different material like S glass without having a big weight penalty. For example the boards are 30% lighter on the Flying Phantom Essentiel as compared the Flying Phantom.

- Can FP Js be fitted in these new hulls?
AU: The Flying Phantom is entirely designed around this foils configuration to optimize accessibility, there is no reason to implement "L" boards in this boat, she is not designed for that.

- Which ruder and foil rake system if any the new Essentiel will have?
AU: The rake system of the boards is very close to what we introduced on the Flying Phantom, the main difference is that the port and starboard mechanism are linked together in order to make it easier for the crew.

- Nice to see the roller furling code 0 also, this looks like a flashback from first F18s or special ocean crossing cats I made for our Patagonia, but evolution put this old but super functional solutions (wings / roller f) on a foiling cat.
AU: The furling system on the Code 0 makes it more user friendly like the side wings. A furling system is also proposed for the jib.

- What sailors can expect from this new platform? As we know the FP is a full racing machine
and above some wind range and waves is even faster but a bit challenging for rookies.
AU: The target of the Flying Phantom is to offer a unique opportunity to a broad spectrum of sailors
to enter into the foiling experience ! She simple and easy to use.

We want to attract new people to foiling cats which are offering previously unknown sensations.

- The Essentiel rig looks powerful too so high speeds can be expected also , any chance for the Essentiel to match FP performance?
AU: The program is very different from the Flying Phantom but the Flying Phantom Essentiel is able to reach 20 knots in 10 knots of wind ! Top speed is over 25 knots

- Which is the price range you are targeting?
AU: The Access version (white hulls, white main and jib, twin trapeze) is 21900 Euros ex tax

The Premium version (white hulls, coloured main and jib, code 0 with furling system, side wings) is 25900 Euros ex tax
Price list attached below.

- When ara you launching the first one , and when production deliveries will available ?
AU: The boat will be officially launched during the Paris Boat Show in December, production will start early of 2017 for spring deliveries. Pre orders are open now.

- Have you addressed the peak demand you had for the FP which had some delays in the first stage on the number of sales?
AU: We did fulfill the unexpected demand on the launch of Flying Phantom, the delivery period is now shorter and we do have few boats in stock.
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