Foiling boats first sent shockwaves throughout the sailing community at the 2013 America’s Cup when 72 foot foiling sailboats flew over water and across the San Francisco Bay at speeds of nearly 50 miles per hour. It was this style boat that helped team Oracle USA stage an astounding comeback and inspired sailors the worldover.
A lot has changed in the intervening years and foiling boats no longer remain the purview of the sailing and financial elite. Thanks to advancements in design and manufacturing, a slew of companies are now bringing these beautiful boats to the masses and arguably the greatest example of this can be found in the Moth and smaller class of boats. Curious about what’s available? The following is a quick analysis of the latest and the greatest foilers currently available:
The 3 Top Small Foiling Monohull Sailboats
Waszp. The Waszp is an Australian-designed foiling boat for the Moth class. McConaghy Boats builds it out of China with the aim of providing the world with a better priced (generally retailing at half the cost of a Moth), class-legal Moth that is more forgiving to sail. And boy did they succeed.
As Sailing World remarked in their own review of this foiler when it was first introduced back at the end of 2016, “With the Waszp, you can sail off the beach with the foils up, drop them once in deeper water, attach the bow-mounted wand’s nipple fitting to the main foil, and off you go.”
UFO. Looking for something even more affordable and stable on the water? Check out Fulcrum Speedworks’s unique foiling UFO, winner of SAIL magazine’s designation of 2018’s Best Performance Boat Under 30ft.
A complete packaged Foiling UFO is available for $7,600 — which is nearly $4,000 cheaper than the Waszp and a third the price of a brand-new Moth — but, naturally, it isn’t just the price you should be looking at. The UFO is making such waves thanks not to it being the fastest or cheapest foiler around, but because of its forward-thinking design that makes it more accessible and sailable to both sport novices and experts. This foiler boasts a simple two-piece design that is built to be nearly indestructible, easy to transport, and even easier to launch from dock or beach.
“[the UFO is] perhaps the most exciting thing in single-handed sailing since, well, the first foiling moth.” Sailing Anarchy‘s Mr. Clean
Mach 2 Moth. Hands down, the Mach 2 is the premier performance foiling boat. The Mach 2 was designed by world-class racer Andrew McDougall, manufactured by renowned builder McConaghy Boats, and desired by any Moth class racer looking to compete. The Mach 2 foiler has been the winning boat used at the World Championships for the last 7 years and had the unique designation of having claimed every podium spot at the 2015 Worlds.
The Mach 2 is, simply put, a champion boat. The creme de la creme of foilers. Weighing in just a touch over 65 pounds fully rigged, this foiling boat takes off and truly flies even in lowest of wind conditions. That said, it’s also a foiler that comes with a steep price ($ and the time it will take to tinker with it) that is likely to keep all but the most ardent foiling enthusiasts away.
Foiling Catamarans: Bigger & Bolder
Not a fan of smaller dinghies? There are a variety of other larger, catamaran-based foiling boats that also offer mind numbing speed and that incredible flying-like experience.
One exciting big evolution is the all-new foil design for the Nacra 17 showcased on the prototypes released last year. This new design includes a host of structural upgrades, including massive changes to the rudder and centerboard to give the catamaran more consistent handling across wind and water conditions. Currently, fully revised foiling Nacra 17s lie mostly in the very capable hands of Olympic crews who will be racing in Tokyo 2020, but this is a class that foiling enthusiasts should keep on their radar.
Another class boasting several exciting foiling models is the A-Cat Class. — However, it should be noted that this class has been more reticent to adopt the widespread use of full on foiling in races, with even last month’s Australian Nationals having an even pitting of foiling and floating fleets racing together. — Perhaps the best example of a foiler in this class is the handsome DNA F1 A-Cat — aka the “Coolest Sailboat Ever Built“. This is an outstanding new foiling sailboat that has been optimized for racing demands and a boat that would make a worthy addition to your fleet.
Make a Resolution to Fly this Year
In the end, who knows if foiling will become accessible enough to be the future of the sailing world or whether more traditional performance will come back to dominate mass designs. What we do know is that foiling boats are fast, fun and worth at least one rip around the bay before you make up your mind on your next sailboat. So make a resolution to fly this year and visit your local sailing clubs and fleets to see what’s nearby and test out one of these fantastic foilers for yourself.