Thursday, May 17, 2018

UFO Review

On May 4th, I took a plane to Rhode Island to visit with the Fulcrum Speedworks team and check out their manufacturing facility, and the innovative UFO foiling catamaran. I also had the pleasure of sailing a UFO in Bristol Bay, Rhode Island! 

At the manufacture facility the boats go through a series of exact steps to reach end production... an absolutely beautiful, high tech, and unique foiling catamaran sailboat. Each boat is the same weight, which is important to racers. Dave Clark and his father Steve are the designers and builders of this amazing boat, with plenty of previous experience in boat construction. At one time, Steve was president of Vanguard Sailboats (1987-2004), which built Lasers and other sailboats at the time. With their knowledge the UFO is built to high standards, resulting in a rigid and durable boat that will supply years of enjoyable sailing.

Dave and crew offered to let me sail a UFO and I jumped at the opportunity. The days sail included 17 knots of wind with 3 to 4 foot erratic choppy seas, making it bit of an wild ride. I spent some time trying to sail her level and in the water, which they call the displacement mode. It's fairly easy to sail her flat in the strong winds even though the chop made it a wet ride, like sailing a Laser. Then the boat went into launch mode, working to find the balance of getting her to fly. During this mode she would rise up on one hull just like one would experiences on any small cat. Reminded me of sailing a Hobie 14. After that flight mode (foiling) was achieved, which is an experience unlike any boat I have sailed. Once on the foils, the ride was amazingly quiet and smooth, while being incredibly fast. Through all the modes the UFO was a freaking joy to sail! :)

Dave sailed her before and after my sail, masterfully flying with ease. With the boat foiling above the waves he did not have to deal with the rough conditions. I was aboard the support boat while he was flying, amazed at this boat's speed while foiling. The support boat had a difficult time keeping up in the rough seas. 

So, you might ask who this boat is suited for, and the answer is for anyone, age 9 to 78, in fairly good shape physically, with good stomach muscles needed for hiking out, and being limber enough to pass under the sail. The boom does sit high above the deck so when you are crossing the boat the sail that lies below the boom is soft to pass by.

Rigging and de-rigging the boat is easy with only a few steps for set up and take down. The sail is just 25.6 square feet, making raising and lowering a breeze. The boat is 10 ft long and 5.5 feet wide with solid deck (no trampoline) at only 110 lbs fully rigged weight. One could easily car top it, put it in back of a pick up (tipped on its side), or on a light weight trailer. So one could get on and off the water very quickly, launching from a beach with the dolly that comes with the boat or taking off from a dock.

Lowering and raising the lightweight foil rudder and forward foil is a simple up and down motion. Sail adjustments are easy to reach. With only a mainsail there is only the mainsheet line to deal with, primarily. When sailing I found no weather helm. To be honest I really found no issues to note. The construction is sound, parts are durable, and she is seaworthy with the wet ride of a typical lightweight sailing dinghy. If you have to ask if you will get wet when sailing her then this boat might be for you. It is a sailing dinghy with the wet factor in line with a Laser or Hobie 14. Matter of fact the UFO reminds me of these two boats but with the ability of course to fly above the waves, thus, at much greater speeds.

If you have any question email me (Miles Moore) at . We will have a UFO coming to our sailboat business in a month or so, and will be doing demos. Date of demos to be noted on our calendar and in an announcement here on this website.

Boat Details

The UFO is a modern design hydrofoiler, based on recent technological advances in sailing hydrofoils, that allows anyone to fly above the water. More stable than the International Moth, with a simple rig, and a set of fully retractable foils, all for under $8000 USD. The UFO provides the easiest and most affordable foiling experience, while maintaining a one-design philosophy creating close and exciting racing on foils!

- Unique hull and rig designs
- Stable on and above the water
- Small footprint for easy boatyard storage
- Takeoff from about 8 knots of wind
- Fast, fun, easy to control foiling
- Designed and built in the USA
- Under $8000 USD
- Compact for storage and mass transport
- Lightweight for easy maneuverability
- Solid, nearly dent-proof, hull

Boat Specifications

- 105 inch waterline length + 15 inch rudder gantry (10 feet overall)
- 67 inch beam
- 50 kg all-up ready to sail weight
- 7.8 sq. meter sail
- Steve Clark design

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