Comments on Foiling by Current World Champ Mischa Heemskerk

We received this technical report by Mischa Heemskerk published in the Dutch A-Class Assoc FB from Kees Krijger, and it was decided worth to published in IACA's official website.
As current World Champ, and foiling specialist on the latest C-Class developments, Mischa's comments can contribute to learn some additional details on the 8.2 Rule.

Remember any rule change/mod submission must first go through IACA's standard and official channels before it gets to be voted or even considered to poll. IACA's President explained this in the letter we published past week:

All current polls are local ones made by local Associations, no Official IACA's poll has been arranged in any way till now.

This article it is just to expose some comments made by Mischa to the Dutch Assoc. And it is part of a pure informative goal and approach based on some facts, Pros & Cons & comments published before by the President on the "8.2 Rule Explained"

Beyond any technical matter, and regarding the A Class health, let me announce that Argentina is launching an 8-10 boat fleet. And with the history we have I can assure the As major event will have participation soon of some Argentine fanatic sailors eager to race & learn. This great milestone will create a more global class as it happened with the Formula 18 in past years.


Dutch A-Class Association article on Rule 8.2
This week the members of DACA received a mail of the DACA-board, with the request to vote on rule 8.2. Member Mischa Heemskerk, the current world champion, answered with an e-mail, in which he explains why he is against rule 8.2.

Mischa Heemskerk wrote:

“I would like to give some arguments against, because of my experiences with foiling, so that our members of DACA, before they vote about the 8.2 rule, are aware of the consequences of their vote.

I started on the A-Cat with curved foils and I capsized regularly to windward while sailing downwind in the trapeze during training. There was little control over the boat,till I put winglets on the rudders. This was in terms of control and sailing pleasure already quite a step forward. The boat to windward capsizes decreased a lot and sailing became easier. Now we could fly, but there was no advantage in doing so. Plus with flying was a big risk of a windward capsize with the boat still jumping out of the water.

That’s when we developed the J boards. Reducing the chord to the tip was to reduce the lift when the boat comes out of the water as well as reducing drag to get advantage of flying. The tip at the end had two functions, prevent the side slip while flying and increase the lift efficient of the total board as an end plate.

With the J boards we could fly and got more control over the boat. We could now sail safely even downwind in 28kn wind, where sailing upwind became difficult in 28kn of breeze.The downwind cruise speed is 19kn and 24kn top speed so far.

In terms of flying I have experience in the C class. There you have four hands who can do the work with the boards and even that is not enough to operate well.
I know what it takes on these boats to sail stable and fly at top speed and I am convinced that most sailors will have big problems on their A-Class.

Flying with 7kn wind speed and then downwind 21kn was enormous fun. But with14kn wind speed you get a top speed of 33kn which is not relaxed at all. You get used to it, but that means a lot of sailing hours before you can deal with it and then it still asks all your attention. The C class was constantly flying only because of continuously board trim by the crew.

Resume with the current rule 8.2:
We have a boat:
- that can fly (a la America's cup).
- which is still attractive with a very good performance and fun factor
- where 1 person can sail and handle the boat well
- where a novice can sail and enjoy (try that's on a Moth or an AC72)
- where development is still possible, but only with small steps to maintain a large fleet of competitors for regattas in the future

If the rule will be accepted, we get full flying boats, but that means everyone has to buy new boats which is designed and build for flying. You cannot use your current boat to fly, because the present boats are structurally not designed for flying. The DNA is structurally designed to take the loads of flying. Be aware that if you're going to fly, the weight of the whole boat and the sailor are taken by the daggerboard. When sailing hull in the water the pressure of sailor and boat are divided over the complete hull. When flying the daggerboardcase has to be stronger cause it is taking all the load since the hull is in the air. Rudders, rudder gudgeons and transom need to be stronger. Imagine standing with your total weight on the tip of the rudder. That is what happens flying 50cm above the water.

I think it is very important for the A-Class and all it’s members to be aware that the present A-cats are very attractive. If you see an A-Class sail it draws attention. If they sail the boat they are convinced it is a cool boat and want one themselves.

The growth of the class came when good competitive boats like the DNA came widely available. It created a stability and showed that with these boats there is development but not in a crazy tempo.

When the class originally introduced the rule 8.2 it took a direction where boats were developed wihtin these rules. If this rule get’s open now it will create a huge development and requires new boats to be able to compete. There is no need for the class to change now, we are not loosing sailors cause we have this rule. I think the opposite is true at the moment. My best A cat moment was this year, overhearing several A cat sailors who where excited to go sail their boat. No racing, just nice weather and a great boat to sail downwind in trapeze.---