Waking up bright and early, I make coffee still sleepy, but already gassed to the gills for what lies ahead, I will try for the first fly a foiling boat, it is called 69F and is vaguely reminiscent of the newest America’s Cup boats. I arrive after a little more than three hours in Malcesine, on Lake Garda, unusually cloudy weather for a July as warm as this year. A good breeze can also be felt from the Fraglia Vela, where the always interesting Foiling Week, an event that has several stops around the world and originated in Italy, where the best “flying” racers around compete and where you can get up close and personal with this adrenaline-filled way of boating.
69F indeed, a concept boat born from the idea of the Italian racing elite (Giorgio Benussi, Dede de Luca, “l’oriundo” Maciel Cicchetti) designed by Argentineans Wilson and Marquinez.
Going out in the dinghy, we find a fairly stable wind of no more than 12 knots, I see the 69F flying steadily at half a meter high at a high speed (especially if you are a displacement sailor like me) of about 20 knots. The boat is 6.9 meters long, around 3 meters wide, fishing 1.7 weighs 360 kg and has a sail area of 40 square meters.
HOW TO FLY EASY (FOR REAL)
The quick briefing before embarking focuses attention, in addition to performance, on stability (which makes me incredulous knowing people trying to survive on similar boats as the Moth o i Waszp), made possible by the two “L”-shaped foils with the curved arm, the thin drift fin and the “T”-shaped profile rudder.
In fact, as soon as I get on board it all seems a lot less difficult than expected, and as soon as we set off I say to myself, “nice, but when do we foila?” The two crew members-Umberto de Luca and Simone Salvà-seem to intercept my thoughts and tell me “we are flying. Mavva- I say raising my eyebrow, look at the Velocitec, they continue…” 22 knots, mmm actually we are flying! I get gassed right away. We make a couple of turns and sketch a foiling jibe (gybe), the ultimate to be performed on this type of boat.
At the slack then, it almost feels like you can have tea with cookies. Between boards the time flew by and the steering, even for a neophyte like me, turned out to be absolutely approachable, and fun at the same time. Most convenient is the dual stick rudder. A different experience than usual and one that brought me into the “new” world of dinghies and boats “that fly” In total, the boat was on the water for 4 hours, covering 51 nm with a top speed of 40 knots. At these paces the lake looks like little more than a pool of water.
How to enter the world of69F? Giorgio Benussi, who is the project manager, plans to create a fleet of 6 fully managed boats, to maximize cost and time and, allow everyone to learn (thanks to the69FAcademy) and compete in a turnkey circuit for neophytes, enthusiasts and professionals where users need do nothing but have fun!
How? Visit https://69fsailing.com/
And read the full proof in the September issue of the Journal of Sailing.