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Developing sails for the F101 foiling tri: We speak to Hyde Sails' Richard Lovering

by Mark Jardine 17 Aug 2017 05:00 PDT 17 August 2017
International Moth and F101 mainsails side-by-side © Richard Lovering

We spoke to Richard Lovering about Hyde Sails' role in the development of the F101 foiling trimaran. Richard went in to it with almost a clean sheet as it wasn't just a new boat, but also a new concept. With his multi-class and foiling experience it was a challenge that he relished and, as we found out, a boat that he enjoyed from the start.

Mark Jardine: How did you first get involved with the F101?

Richard Lovering: Through my own Moth and SB20 sailing, and having sailed a lot with Jerry [Hill, of Sportsboat World], we knew the relationship was going to work well.

Mark: When you're designing sails for a new boat like the F101, how do you approach it? Do you just look at the speed the boat is predicted to go and then design a sail for those predictions?

Richard: This project was actually very different as there wasn't really a foiling trimaran or anything out there like it. I thought about the Moth, but I always thought the Moth sail was too deep for this and the mast was a lot stiffer, so it was a clean slate.

I did start with a Moth mould and flattened the front off as it had cams and a luff sleeve, and we had mast-bend characteristics sent to us from Alan [Hillman, of Sportsboat World] and Jerry, and we got pretty close first time. Since then we've been tweaking luff curves and have gone on to a slightly stiffer mast.

Mark: Has the F101 spinnaker, or screecher, ended up getting flatter and flatter as the boat has developed?

Richard: That wasn't right first time and we have made it flatter. We didn't have quite the rig tension that we wanted in the early days which made it quite full in the luff and we've also changed the size of it quite considerably. We also changed the sheeting position as it was too far outboard, which also means that you can go upwind with it. It's now called a 'Zero' on the boat.

Mark: So in light winds you can carry it upwind like a Code Zero?

Richard: It's not a Code Zero as it's flatter than that. We called it a Zero as we were just trying to come up with a cool name for it!

Mark: There have been a few attempts at making a foiling dinghy for the masses. What's it like to sail?

Richard: I absolutely loved it. When we were down in Mar Menor I couldn't get the grin off my face and just wanted to go foiling again. It took a bit of learning to get back up there again but it was phenomenal: the speed, the silence. I just love it and everybody is going to enjoy it.

Mark: We've seen quite a few photos where the F101 is being sailed two-up. Even on the BBC relative novices have got up and foiling. Is it really that easy?

Richard: Yes, very much so. I sailed two-up with Alan in Mar Menor and it was great fun.

Posted by F101 on Friday, 28 July 2017

Mark: When is the F101 out on the market?

Richard: The first few suits of production sails are already with Jerry and Alan and I believe the first boats are being delivered to customers very soon.

Mark: What wind speeds have you been sailing the boat in?

Richard: I've sailed it in up to 18 knots of wind and I think we reached up to 18 knots of boat speed when we were two-up.

Mark: On the lower end of the scale, what wind speed can you get foiling at?

Richard: It should foil in around 6 to 7 knots of windspeed. One of the key elements of the design was to get foiling early.

Mark: But the boat can still be sailed in displacement mode in less wind?

Richard: Yes, very easily.

Mark: How's your season going with your own sailing?

Richard: I've had a very good season in the Flying Fifteen, the SB20, and we've also been developing a new Solo sail. I had only sailed the boat for nine days this season and finished eighth in the Nationals, so I was very happy with that. We have a tweak on that sail which I hope to have ready for the End of Season Championship.

In the Flying Fifteens we've had a great start to the season, winning the Inland Championship, finishing third at the Hayling Island Open and then we've just done the Southern Championship where we won four races out of five; we have some great pace with the new Hyde Sails main and jib.

I've just done Cowes Week in the SB20 class with Jerry and Spike where we finished fourth, which was a warm-up for the Worlds later this month.

Mark: Best of luck with the Worlds and many thanks for your time talking about the F101. I look forward to sailing it myself!

Richard: A pleasure!

Find out more...

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