Saturday, June 6, 2009


This boat was designed by me at about the time the first Moth foiled(1999). It was built( mostly by me) over a three year period at a cost of around $17,000.And it was a blast to pull it all together. Among the things tried on this thing for the first time(as far as I know-at least in the US) were:
1) square top jibs (That's right it sailed with more than one at once)
2) reefable camber induced main. ( No one had used those two words before in the same sentence)
3) manual control of the main. ( 'cause everyone else uses a bow monkey)
4) angled up foil tips(lots of dihedral)-as a hunch to allow crash free jumping. ( or should that be snap free 'cause I don't want the foil to break)
5) angled up extension tiller ends to allow physical leverage for manual hydrofoil control (and man they look cool)
6) virtually no hull-just a scaled up skyrider, or a scaled up ironing board. I had two designs-one with a high beam to length ratio hull and buoyancy pods,one like this. My thinking at the time was to try to find a solution to the rollovers and difficulty common to the Moth at that time.They they fix by having half a clue about boat handling. I chose the wrong design-this hull was a bitch in the short chop of the intercoastal and actually delayed the takeoff that I was dreaming about in marginal conditions. Big mistake because ,for me, light air take off is the whole ball game. Assuming that there is a game, which I am not so sure about.
7) retractable foils controlled from the cockpit. The concept of a centreboard case was a real break through.
8) partial span mainfoil and rudder foil flaps( foils built to my design by John Ilett. Johns company engineered the foil laminated to be strong enough to jump the boat. In otherwords, they are solid carbon and weigh a ton.
9) tapered mainfoil planform
10) fully adjustable angle of incidence of both foils while sailing(main foil system disabled initially). I was in a hurry so sailed without this IMPORTANT system-and I would not have tried to foil if I had realized how much easier it was with this system active.
11) trailerable with foils retracted.
12) all carbon/foam
The boat foiled rather poorly because of the hull design (no light air takeoff) but mainly because the mainfoil manual control system had slack in it making it very difficult to control. I consider the boat a success for many reasons including the fact that even though it was difficult to control it did foil 1 cm off the water and never once crashed. It taught me that there was a huge potential in further developing manual altitude control and adding a new feature to the new boat(under development now): simultaneous control of main and rudder foil.

The extension tiller with the turned up ends worked real well, the reefable main worked ok and the square top jibs have potential. The retractable foil system worked perfectly.

The first aeroSKIFF was a great learning experience and as far as I know the first monofoiler scratch built and designed in the US. It will not be the last....

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