Offshore sailing will never be the same again

Credit: Matt Knighton / Rob Tringali / Amory Ross

Shortly after I was one of the lucky ones to be aboard when the first fully foiling “cruising” catamaran took flight, I shot this amazing video (Turn up the sound!)…

and I wrote something exactly like this when we got back to shore. “Words, and even the remarkable photos of the first days of G4 flight can’t fully capture what it feels like to sail/fly aboard a 40-foot catamaran that’s not only capable of hitting 31.9 knots, but is also equipped with comfy bunks, and 360-degree visibility in the large main saloon, and even a kitchen sink and a fridge, for cripes’ sake!”

And then the G4 flipped.

And then Gunboat went bankrupt.

And lots of people who were totaly buzzing about “Pushing the boundries of offshore sailing” didn’t buzz quite so loud.

But that’s only the begining of this story.

In fact, the idea to assemble the star-studded cast who recently sailed/foiled the new, 46-foot F4 (built by the same dutch masters who built the G4)  from New York to Bermuda (resplendent in a shiny Red Bull wrap, and basking in the media might that comes from the drink that gives you wings) in some prety nasty weather probably came to another guy (much bigger, stronger, and way more accomplished guy than me) who was there the very same day.

Spithill helping drive offshore foiling to a harbor near you. Credit: Matt Knighton / Rob Tringali / Amory Ross
Spithill, Falcone and company are helping drive offshore foiling to a harbor near you. Credit: Matt Knighton / Rob Tringali / Amory Ross

As you’ve all read, Jimmy Spithill, yes, that 2-time America’s Cup winning, ORACLE Team USA Skipper, Red Bull powered, Jimmy Spithill, was the “skipper” of the “Red Bull NY to Bermuda: A Mission to Fly on Water.” And there is no question that Jimmy gets attention. And that’s good.

Falcone steers the F4 in some "sporty" wind and waves off Bermuda. Credit: Matt Knighton / Rob Tringali / Amory Ross
Falcone steers the F4 in some “sporty” wind and waves off Bermuda. Credit: Matt Knighton / Rob Tringali / Amory Ross

But the vision, and the blood, sweat, and tears to make the boat and the “mission” happen really belongs to Shannon Flacone (who was aboard the G4 that magical day in Saint Martin in 2015 and who also just happens to be a 2-time america’s cup winner), a few others, and a bunch of super smart, super talented, carbon fiber catamaran builders from DNA Performance Sailing who were able to take Shannon’s vision (and use his comprehensive expierence with big, foiling AC cats) and turn it into the 46-foot foiling One-Design race boat with dual wheels, a gringing pedestal, and infinate potential to continue to push foiling into the mainstream that just sailed down to Bermuda.

Next stop Bermuda. Credit: Matt Knighton / Rob Tringali / Amory Ross
Next stop Bermuda. Credit: Matt Knighton / Rob Tringali / Amory Ross

And if Falcone’s aptly named Tour de Foil —”…an owner-driver one design racing series focused on exhilarating coastal competition in high performance foiling catamarans. The regattas will be sailed in the 46’ DNA F4 and offer a balance of short course and coastal racing.”—takes off like it just might, we could be seeing a lot more F4’s in the future.

And why not?

According to the Tour de Foil website “Shannon Falcone and Thomas Loughborough partnered with DNA to design the safest and most stable foiling platform and applied the principles of one design to make ownership as cost effective and sensible as possible.”

That looks like fun, right? I can't wait to go for a long fast spin. Credit: Matt Knighton / Rob Tringali / Amory Ross
That looks like fun, right? I can’t wait to go for a long fast spin. Credit: Matt Knighton / Rob Tringali / Amory Ross

It appear this 46-foot fong foling cat is capable of going way faster than all but the most extreme monohulls. It only requires a few expierenced sailors (and a few others) to get them flying. And I’m no math expert but, the cost to own and campaign one has got to be way less than all those grand prix racing programs that require “mucho dinero” and a “cast of thousands” to be competitive.

WaaaaHooo. Credit: Matt Knighton / Rob Tringali / Amory Ross
WaaaaHooo. Credit: Matt Knighton / Rob Tringali / Amory Ross

This might get interesting. Watch this space.

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