New boat to “revolutionise” sailing

The new sailboat features two J-shaped hydrofoils which raise it completely out of the water. Photo: Pierrick Contin/Phantom International The new sailboat features two J-shaped hydrofoils which raise it completely out of the water. Photo: Pierrick Contin/Phantom International

NEW BOAT: A new US$40,000 sailboat from Phantom International is set to “revolutionise” the sailing world with its hook shaped America's Cup style hydrofoils that lift the catamaran out of the water at speed.

“It’s like removing the handbrake – suddenly everything goes smoother and faster in pure silence,” said Phantom’s Nicolas Felix.

The France based company says the new racing catamaran offers sailors a chance to “break free” from the drag and discomfort of the water. The Flying Phantom mimics the hydrofoiling action demonstrated by the 2013 America’s Cup boats by rising up on two J shaped hydrofoils at speed until both hulls are two feet out of the water.

“The main speed limits of a catamaran are the length of the hull, the wetted surface, and the pitch poling as you push it too hard,” added Mr Felix.

“When you’re foiling and the hulls aren’t dragging in the water, you can get nearly limitless performance. On a regular boat you’re always fishing to gain a tenth of a knot, fighting against the friction of the water and the pitching of the waves.”

The boat can get up on its foils in wind as low as seven knots sailing downwind. Upwind foiling needs a breeze over 10 knots. Its current tested maximum speed has been 33 knots, but Phantom says the limit can be pushed to around 45 to 50 knots.

Apart from foiling Moth dinghies the Flying Phantom and Sea Sure's foiling kit for the Laser dinghy are the only commercially available hydrofoilers that can be bought off the shelf.

The Flying Phantom will be raced at a number of events in 2014. The company is also looking to develop a racing series specifically for small foiling catamarans.

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