The Mothmen Prophecy

A revolution is starting in the dinghy world as Rohan Veal's win at Moth's Australian national shows foiling has come of age
Performance dinghy sailing is in the process of taking a quantum leap with the latest developments in foil technology in the International Moth class. Foil-born boats are hardly new. A hydrofoil patent was lodged in the US as long ago as 1894 and foil-born sailboats, in more different configurations than it is possible to imagine, have been built sporadically in different corners of the globe ever since. Small foilers have traditionally been created by speed sailor/inventor types. There have been a number of highly successful examples in the past such as Ben Wynne's Mayfly, A-Class record holder in the 1970s and James Grogono's foil-born Tornado Icarus, the B-Class holder until the end of the 1980s. More recently one of the most successful was Russell Long's Greg Ketterman designed Longshot, the present A-Class record holder (at 43.55 knots) that has since been productionised and turned into the Hobie Trifoiler. Another production tri-foiler is the Windrider Rave. In France for several decades designers and sailors have been experimenting with the use of foils offshore in large multihulls. The legendary Eric Tabarly was probably their most famous exponent and his trimaran/foilers Paul Ricard and subsequently Cote d'Or were both had giant angled foils on their outriggers. A similar configuration was used with very much less success on Alain Gabbay's white elephant of an 85 footer Charles Heidseick during the 1980s and more recently on Alain Thibault's equally breakage prone L'Hydroptere. Lifting foils are also used in the 60ft trimaran circuit, although they are retractible for light conditions and their use is more to reduce wetted surface area rather than to make the trimaran airborne. The benefits of foils are obvious. Stick a Bruce foil (angled V-shaped foil or a V split in two) or a straightforward inverted T-foil under a hull and it develops