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JATO ignited as SuperFoiler prepares for take off (Pt II)

by John Curnow on 28 Aug
SuperFoiler is very much all about the go! - SuperFoiler John Curnow
When we left SuperFoiler last time, the JATO rockets had been lit, and we were rapidly approaching the time for rotation (lift off). You can catch up with Part One whenever you wish, but for now we get to talk speed, the crew on board, and finally the commercialisation of it all. Buckle up!

Macartney (both Junior and Senior) are no strangers to speed, but Jack has now been on board SuperFoiler for himself at over 30 knots. When you have raced 18-footers and also 100 foot supermaxis, you do know a thing about what to expect, so now as SuperFoiler progresses to her terminal velocity, what does Jack think of it all?

“I have always had confidence that the boat is going to be doing what it has been modelled to do, because all the way along the way we have been hitting the VPPs that Morelli and Melvin designed her for. This has been really pleasing. Also, the further up the wind range we have been going, we keep continually hitting those milestones.”



“However, when you are doing it, it is really significant. I think doing 30+ is thrown around loosely by a lot of other boats, including the 18-footers that I sailed for ten years, which I even thought I was probably doing 30 knots, but now I don’t think I was. When you’re doing over 30 knots it’s a pretty amazing thing in any boat. And when you are this high off the water and with that acceleration, it’s something different.”

“Having had the sail with Luke with the performance we achieved upwind, where we comfortably touched 25-26 knots hard on the breeze, and the boat wanted to keep going was incredible. When I was driving her, it was a really exhilarating feeling, knowing that you can do those sorts of speeds upwind in a boat this high!”

Relative to the supermaxi that also punches out over 30 knots Macartney said, “They are completely different beasts, obviously. We have done some pretty high speeds in the hundred, but it’s a different feeling to when you are hanging off your trapeze with a boat that is flying on the water. It is a very different sensation.”



Clearly the next thing is who are the souls that are going to be fortunate enough to enjoy all the thrills that SuperFoiler will provide during the six rounds this Summer in Australia. There are some very significant names sniffing around, but the first to get the nod is Olivia Price, “We are really proud to have Olivia as our number one skipper, and I think she will be a force to reckon with!”

“We are piecing together her team currently, but haven’t signed up any other teams as yet, because we have just completed our expressions of interest globally. There were certainly some pretty interesting names pop up during that, which was pretty cool. I guess we now have to ascertain which of them are the best fit for the circuit, as we always had a focus on having international teams involved. This process will be finalised over the next four to six weeks, so that will be a great space to keep an eye on”, added Macartney.



“There are some big Australian and New Zealand names floating around, as we have got no shortage of serious talent down here, probably even the best in the world. What the final result of all of that is I couldn’t tell you, for it is really in the hands of those sailors. We know that the boat is appealing, but now they need to come and have a sail, then confirm whether or not they want to participate. Overall, they are really excited about the prospect by the shape of the teams and what it is all going to look like.”

In terms of commercialisation, SuperFoiler already has strong links with many brands, and several are gathering around as closely as the sailors themselves, so there are distinct parallels there. “First and foremost we are here to put Australia back on the map in terms of technology and the world of sailing. We certainly have the out there, but we haven’t really been at the forefront of events and professional race circuits for a long time. SuperFoiler as a group are really excited to lead that charge, for we have great sailors involved with us, and in my view, the machine is the most exciting machine in the world at the moment, now that the America’s Cup stopped.”



Macartney is also clear about the support they have a grass roots level and not only thanks everyone for that, but asks that they continue in this final stage before launch. “Just believing in what we are doing and embracing it gives us all so much energy. SuperFoiler is pretty out there, pretty different, and it is not your traditional sailing by any means. However, what we are aiming to deliver is a virtual experience for the viewers on all levels, and bring them on board for the ride.

SuperFoiler will be entertaining and everyone can have fun with it. On water, it will be about pure racing, and letting the boats really express themselves with highly competitive animals sailing them. Yes, absolutely for sure we want people enjoying that process, whoever is racing with us.”

So from December 2017 there will be six SuperFoiler events for the Australian Summer. There will be two in New South Wales, and then one in each of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland, so most of the country will get direct exposure to these exciting speedsters. Remember as well, that the Macartney’s know plenty from the 18-Footer days, and also too the originations of World Series Cricket (white ball and apiece of willow on really big ovals for those in other parts of the globe).



“We are absolutely committed to making the Australian circuit work year on year, and has been our primary focus. We’ve spoken to all of the State tourism bodies, presented to them, and now finalising their involvement with each event. There are some really great outcomes. The announcements about those situations will occur over the next few weeks. To be clear, SuperFoiler is about being viral and an ongoing revival of a pinnacle on-water event, year on year. SuperFoiler will embrace its spectators both on and off the water, by delivering something really spectacular.”

As a whole, SuperFoiler will take a lot of its esprit de corps from classic Australian values, like a good punt, having some fun, being a spectacle, and also then showcasing the waters and the areas of the country. “We are focusing on iconic aquatic locations around the country and sailing venues, so that we can deliver really great racing. That is primary to us, so that the sailors are enjoying it, and getting the most out of the boats. That all leads to fantastic television, and entertaining viewing, because we know that we will get great material off the boats, with three sailors doing battle against multiple teams, in the heat of the moment, and delivering that raw energy, which I think we really did well last time.”



Ultimately, you can see that the JATO bottles have been fired. SuperFoiler is on full boost as the critical point for rotation (lift off) arrives. They might have a significant payload on board for now, but the maths is correct and sound, and even though you are on a super-short runway on a hillside in the middle of nowhere, this bird is getting up!

“Absolutely, we are fully committed. Everyone will start to see the teams announced and the brands that are coming on board in the next few weeks, along with the exact venues and the whole package coming together. The entire SuperFoiler team has been working tirelessly in the background to bring it all to a head, so yeah, watch this space!”

WooHoo SuperFoiler. You certainly are go, and thank you for making it all very approachable and super-interesting.



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