Another day of testing on Lake of Garda without the conditions one would expect. Very light northerly breeze. We went out to do some practicing in the light and to look for speed and angles - also best heel angles - while sailing upwind in displacement mode.
As you all know, good lightwind performance is vital on the lakes of Europe and elsewhere maybe as well - and the development from the proto to the production boat definitely went in the right direction.
We sailed upwind that the day - just the two of us - when Roger suggested to bear away, trying to foil under kite. He obviously did that before, when i got stuck in the office. I thought he is joking - but we did and then somebody took this pic! I estimated 4kts true around my nose - a sailing coach nearby on a RIB told us later about the measured true windspeed in over 2m above waterlevel: 3.5kts!
I am fully aware that you never know about the layers of wind higher up in the rig. But however, foiling in these condtions is new i guess. And A-Cat and Moth-Sailors in the neighbourhood said that there was no way to get up and going (a bit later we actually passed one of the latest type of foiling A-Cat on leeward, coming from behind).
What is different on our new boat and the Q-foil philosophy? It is an interesting question. I think it is not just that we have a good ratio between weight and sail area - it is more about the type of foils: After some practicing and getting used to these big foils, you learn quickly how you can slowly and carefully leave displacement mode, first changing into steady semifoiling mode, getting rid of some drag and then into fully foiling mode loosing even more drag to get the real benefits of the apparent. In conditions like this with flat water it is not even too difficult to learn launching the boat like this.
I have not a lot of experience with high loaded T-foils, but i learned that you have to accelerate quickly to get up and stay there. Developing enough lift while slowly accelerating over maybe 10 to 20seconds is something really difficult on T-foils, as you always run the risk to overloaded and stall your foil section - something low loaded foils like ours can do as well, but it needs much more. Pro sailors may have their own limits when it comes to launch a Moth ? i am just talking about experienced Joe Average.
On the other side - in more breeze - smaller, well immersed highloaded foil sections will allow higher speeds. But
if you look at the reality while sailing on Lakes and even in sheltered coastal water - once stronger winds (but not too strong!) sets in - a boat like ours may lie miles ahead by then. All the more, if you take in account that the Q23 also is a quite capable and well performing sportsboat today, also in conditions, where nobody is foiling, on both ends of the wind scale (we still have the ace of DSS up the sleeve, to limp home with comfortable 15kts of speed, once it gets a bit nasty:-)
To look out to a possible future, where more "normal" sailors wish to foil: I guess doing the first steps in the light makes a lot of sense, as there you are able to train your reflexes and instincts. Once, higher up the learning curve, you will recognize quickly, that sailing on any type of foiling boat is hard work, be it on a well balanced boat or on an absolutely unstable centreline-foiler. Maybe nothing for faint hearted characters - but still you will get used to this type of sailing ? same way we learned to handle a 200hp motorbike, anybody can buy around the corner today.