Red devil

All photos from Laurens Morel/ unless otherwise stated
Mark Bulkeley talks us through the newly wingsailed M20 catamaran he raced at Texel with Herbie Dercksen
The sailing world continues to go solid wingsail crazy. The latest to be fitted with one is Herbie Dercksen’s M20 catamaran, centre of attention at last weekend’s Zwitserleven Round Texel Race in Holland. This year’s Texel race was a carnage-filled affair, held in brisk 20 knot winds, with the normal hair-raising launch off the beach through the surf, followed by collisions throughout the course of race - including several high profile victims like Carolijn Brouwer on her Viper and British fellow M20 skipper Will Sunnucks, who got hit prior to the start – and with a 15 minute section of the race where the crews found themselves sailing in just 0.5m of water thanks to the low tide. While three Nacra F20 Carbon cats were first across the finish line, led by Mitch Booth and son Taylor, Dercksen and Mark Bulkeley aboard their bright red Zwitserleven-sponsored wingsail wonder defied the bookies and not only completed the course, the first of just two M20s to finish, but put in a worthy performance on their first competitive outing with their new rig. “To be honest I don’t think anyone on the beach gave us any chance of getting the boat around in one piece without breaking it!” commented Bulkeley, adding that the amount of time they had sailed in Texel was about the same as they had been able to put in prior to going there. They did break a few things, notably a daggerboard when it touched bottom, but nothing wing-related. The red M20 is in fact the same Marstrom-built platform Dercksen and Bulkeley used when they set the Round Texel course record two years ago. Since then it has evolved. The standard M20 has a main and kite but no jib, so they added a jib to help manoeuvrability and then, emulating Will