The "formula one" sailing class on the lake for the past 10 years has been the D35 catamaran. With the recent evolution of high tech sailing it was inevitable that we would soon see foiling multihulls. It happened this year with the arrival of the TF35 foiling catamaran (www.TF35.org) that is in some ways a trimaran. There is actually a mid hull but this serves only to take up the loads of the giant sail plan and thus avoid deformation of the sailing platform. It's placed well above the water. There are large nets on each side to allow the crew to balance the boat when sailing upwind. Exceptionally, this boat manages to foil not only downwind but also upwind.
Dad went to see the regatta this week-end outside the city of Nyon in what is called le Petit Lac, the small lake, denoting the narrow part of the lake from Nyon westward to Geneva. The weather was awful with continuous drizzle but luckily enough wind to allow the boats to foil, et least most of the five that participated in the event. You can easily see that the boats that got up on their foils rapidly after the start took a big lead on the others.
The distance to the race course lying on the opposite (French) side of the lake forced me to use the 300 mm f4 lens on my water resistant Olympus e-m1X camera and add on a 2x teleconverter, corresponding to an angle of view of a 1200 mm lens on a full frame camera with an f value of 8. Of course I had to use a tripod and a cable release to get any quality in the pouring rain. The importance of staying on your foils to get to the lead is illustrated in the photos below where Alinghi, the boat of the twice America's Cup winner Ernesto Bertarelli takes the lead in less than a minute.
The lead shifted constantly depending on how well the sailors managed to keep their boats foiling also downwind.
However, it was not only interesting to follow the multihulls across the water. Look at this little foiling monhull with its orange asymmetrical spinnake, quietly sailing downwind in the opposite direction, coming into the frame from nowhere. Our monohull sailing friends around the world should keep an eye of that "pocket rocket".
The winner of the day was obviously going to be Alinghi. Their crew was the one that most consistently managed to keep their boat flying. This is not really surprising since they have several years of foiling training, having repeatedly won the GC 32 foiling catamaran world championship. This is a potentially dangerous sport and the crew is dressed accordingly. You can easily capsize if you don't get the adjustments of the foils on the centerboards and rudders right. Just take a look at the boat on the far right of the photograph below. And as you know we always like to end our posts with something from the animal world, this time a grebe couple nesting on the moorings of a little used motor boat in the harbor of Nyon. If you like this post, stay tuned for more adventures from rainy Switzerland!!