F18 World Champions!!! The Fleetsweeper
Efficiency, optimal use, new ideas, best materials . . . These are the subjects and questions constantly floating around my head.
In the last years I have stepped out of the F18 racing scene (and in general racing besides A Cats) because I am involved in so many different design and engineering projects. But the truth is, is that I am happiest when I have designed and built something answering all of the questions in my head and then able to put the final product to the test. This type of racing relaxes me knowing that I have done all that I can to make my material the best that it can be.
I like all types of racing and believe me, including one design, but the question in all classes remains as to just how “one design” a class really can be. Production in our sport for small boats has tolerances and therefore the open box rules of a formula class dictate the amount of playing room there is for innovation (this is also the case in one design classes but these rules usually rely on the builders delivering 100% equal products) The best sailors all know that you need to find measurements and materials within the class rules in order to have an edge on your equipment. This doesn’t mean that the entire fleet needs to take part but all of the top guys will search for the boundaries.
The F18 class has been years in discussion as to how to change the class. In my opinion, it is a great class with a strong set of rules which has allowed for small improvements and innovation over the years. No one knows the ideal boat but over time we have made some significant steps. There is question to go foiling, or to make the boats lighter but I believe that the beauty of the class is the ability for us to sail the boats with friends and family and with hundreds of boats around the World. Will it be that much better if it is 50 kilos lighter, will we enjoy it if we limit the field to only people willing to go foiling. Remember that the faster you go the more damage and the harder it can be on the material. The F18 class should stay the same and should enjoy what we have; fabulous people, events, boat builders and a great attitude.
After developing and proving the deck sweeper in the ACat I knew that it would work for the F18. I had designed it two years ago but all innovation needs proper testing and prototyping. It is not just simply recut the sail and go. I was bending booms, using windsurf booms, no booms and different goosenecks until I reached the current situation. I am sure there will be a lot of copies coming into the market but I’m not too worried because competition is also what makes this class fair. I know that I have taken the time to make a good, solid product which works. If there is only one builder then the sailors are the victims to raising prices and the monopoly of one builder.
If you are interested for a quote on the new or standard sail package let me know.