First foiling steps – “Still have that feeling in my belly”
Joachim is a busy working father of three. He spends his weekend days on a RIB, sail training his three children. His two boys sail a 29’er and his daughter an optimist. Joachim is looking around for a sail boat of his own for the 2-3 hours he has for himself on a weekly basis.
Joachim is club member of Kaløvig Bådelaug in Skødstrup, near Århus (DK). Joachim used to sail dinghies and keel boats there. He also sailed J/70 for his club when it was introduced in 2012. His club is in the first Danish division with the J/70 currently. Laser and NACRA are among other boats he has sailed before.
While attending Boot Düsseldorf last January, Joachim saw the Flo1 and it caught his interest right away. By the first looks, it was exactly what he was looking for, different from a ‘regular’ dinghy. “It was completely my taste of boat. It looked fun, fast and modern.” He had a nice talk with the Aeronamics crew and was invited to the testing center if he would be in the area in the 2017 sailing season. And so, when Joachim was in Workum for a youth regatta, he contacted Aeronamics to make an appointment. Two days later, on May 27, he made his way to the testing center to sail. Joachim couldn’t have chosen a better day to come over, it was one of the few days in the year that it was 30+ degrees and with a steady 10 – 14 knots of wind.
Arriving to the testing center in Biddinghuizen, Joachim noticed the boat had changed slightly since Boot Düsseldorf. The foils had since been replaced by the Spitfire-inspired naked carbon wings. The crew and Joachim had a talk about the foils, rigging and previous experiences first. They then got on the water and went to the wind shadow a small island on the Veluwemeer. Joachim got instruction on weight positioning and Jurian from Aeronamics made a test run to illustrate it. Then Joachim got on.
“The first impression confirmed my expectations of the boat. I noticed that it was a good balance between stability/control and speed/fun. I did realise I wasn’t dealing with a 1950s dinghy, but a modern race boat. I was going to have to focus.”
Initially Joachim had to get used to the rope functions. “But I got the hang of it pretty easily, since the ropes were conveniently coloured.”
“I started sailing and I didn’t immediately understand why nothing happened. The guys on the accompanying RIB gave me some advice, on body position et cetera.”
Joachim’s sailing experience immediately became clear to the team. After 5-10 minutes he was able to sail comfortably. Soon after he was instructed to take the next step. “I raised the windward foil and I experienced something totally new. Suddenly the water splash noise disappeared. The drumming sound of the water hitting the hull changed into a different sound – the singing, almost screaming sound of friction between the foils and the water. I realised I was flying 20 cm above the water! Immediately I felt the acceleration following the lift-off.”
Spent some more time sailing. Of course it didn’t all go well – there was a capsize moment because a nut had come loose on one of the foils. “Upon realising that, I immediately released the main sheet, but having fun I didn’t see the line had locked in its cleat. I failed to pull it loose. Thanks to the stabilising effect of the foils the capsize wasn’t too violent, pretty newbie friendly. Within a minute the boat was rightened and I was ready to continue in one go.”
Joachim sailing the Flo1 and skimming over the water during his hour-long test sail.
An excellent match
After more or less 45 minutes the session was over. Joachim clearly had a good time. “The feeling of flying over the water was amazing – days later I still have the feeling in my belly. This is the kind of sailing I want to do.”
Talking to the crew afterwards Joachim confesses that the Flo1 is an excellent match for him and his lifestyle. “I have very little time for myself and the Danish season is short. I don’t want to spend that time polishing an expensive keelboat. I want a boat that provides me with adrenaline, while being easy to maintain. I can bring it with me when my children have regattas, launch it quickly, do a few runs and load it back on the trailer easily.”
All in all Joachim seems to have had a great time sailing the Flo1 and looks forward to soon foil one in the waters near Århus.