Product development is something that requires time and focus. In this update we show you which steps have been made before ‘freezing’ the design concept. Prototype #3 shows the current, final design.

Prototype #1

The first prototype was a real testbed for the foil tests. The boat featured a double V combined with a T-rudder. The relatively large an wide boat resulted in a very powerful platform The quite aggressive boat showed high straight line speed. Manoeuvring and bearing away with high wind speeds proved to be challenging. A similar lay-out was recently chosen by a grand-prix sailing circuit. Aerodynamics and power-to-weight ratios are great for this.

This boat required a lot of skill from the crew. The powerful boat brought some challenges for less experienced users, especially in handling and boat launching. Combined, they were the main reasons to explore other suitable configurations.

The proto 1 showed that righting moment and limited initial stability quickly results in a brutal boat. No problem for enthusiast regatta sailors, but with our goal in mind this was not the configuration for us.

Prototype #2

The second prototype showed very high speeds during the development period. A combined T/V configuration was chosen to make handling simpler. For docking, it was a matter of simply raising the foils. An angle-of-attack device on deck level made the change from upwind skimming to flying downwind easier. The combination of a stable platform and easy foiling were a big step forward, but still not suitable for the ultimate goal – easy foiling.

During talks with Hugh Welbourn the DSS technology with the leeward pointing foils caught our interest. The overall design concept of a monohull with a narrow waterline and integrated hiking wings, like proto 2 was not abandoned.

Prototype #3

Brainstorming about the T/V configuration and its unbalanced behavior resulted in consulting Hugh Welbourn. Hugh’s leeward pointing DSS foils and a traditional daggerboard creates a design concept that has a better natural balance. The DSS foils create a natural and stable balance where other configurations suffer. Staying with the narrow waterline and integrated hiking wings give the boat a modern but distinctive look. The switch back to a stayed mast makes the rig both lighter and easier to tune.

The collaboration with Hugh Welbourn created a lot of energy and development speed. The relatively young engineering team combined with Hugh’s experience and talent appeared to be a great fit.

A meeting at the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS) in November 2015 kickstarted everything. Tooling production and building the third generation prototype were completed before the HISWA Amsterdam Boat Show.

A lot of modifications have been made since, and development is quick. Creating a boat for a wide active sailing group has never been so much fun. In the hands of a team of technicians, the boat evolved quickly. Changes to deck gear and foil controls rapidly followed each other. The natural self-balancing foil characteristics we are after required quite some tuning to make it perfect. A very stable platform with dynamic stability created by the foils is a real eye opener. Even sailing in skimming mode with the lee foil as a stabilizer is very impressive.

Small changes in the dihedral angle and angle-of attack make a huge difference in sailing comfort. Combined with mast rake, sail area and various crew weights, quite a testing period is required to get these variables right.

However, we are nearing our ultimate goal – building a boat with very simple controls, that has a natural balance in flying modes while sailing in various conditions.