The TriFoiler, at last

Finally got the TriFoiler into the water today. Conditions were perfect, probably even better than we thought they were: NNW 10-15kts, light chop. Being a first sail, we erred on the side of caution and unzipped the reefing panels from the sails. The book suggests 16 kts as a reasonable reefing windspeed. In hindsight, I now feel that the boat can take much more, and that it would probably be easier to spill air from full sail rather than curse and fight and flail away with reefed sails when the windspeed is just a little light. Full sails would have made for a much more entertaining day, but safety first, right? Bill pushed me out into chest-deep water, I slid off with remarkable leeway on, and spent almost the entirety of the next 3 hours trying to beat back in to shore.

As it was, the wind fell through the day, and it became increasingly frustrating to sail in displacement mode, underpowered and dragging so much structure through the water. Impressions? Hideous to tack, the forward foil latches need reworking, low-speed steering like a shopping cart full of rocks… But just once, I wore ’round right into a puff, the sails popped over, the boat lurched off a wave, and the windward outrigger jumped out of the water, closely followed by the leeward one. I dumped the windward sensor line, and the boat leveled off. I sheeted in, as fast as I could, somehow managing to pop the leeward sensor line… and whoosh, the stern came up, the rigging shrieked, the unplugged pitot tube spurted a rooster-tail… Sheeting in nearly to the centerline on a broad reach and Oh. Sweet. Beard. Of. Zeus,¬†acceleration like nothing I have ever felt on the water before. Full-on overblown powerboat acceleration! On foils, the boat was transformed; steering well-damped and precise, ride smooth as glass, zero fuss from the rig, completely dry.

The sailing season is winding down here, but I’m hooked. Gonna try to get as many sails in before the water cools down too much, then onto next summer!

  1. Jennilyn’s avatar

    Wow! Sounds exhilarating! You described so well that I thought I was there with you, the wind in my hair!!

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