Foiling Phantom goes into production
For those who read about the development of Groupama C (more about this here) - part of the preparation and design effort that went into Franck Cammas' Little America's Cup winner involved trying out a variety of L-foils daggerboard and T-foil rudder configurations on a Phantom F18 catamaran to establish which worked best to get a small catamaran airborne with some degree of stability.
The Phantom F18 is marketed by Alex Udin's company Sail Innovation in France, the design of the boat by New Caledonia-based cat guru Martin Fischer, who has penned many of the most successful F18 catamarans and for a long time has been part of the Groupama design team, dating back to his work on Cammas' maxi-trimaran Groupama 3 and the foils for the Groupama Volvo Ocean Race winner. A low-rider Phantom won the 2012 F18 Worlds and was runner up this year.
Following the Groupama team's development work, Sail Innovation is now going into production with the Flying Phantom One Design, which Udin hopes will bring foiling catamaran sailing to the masses in the same way as the Moth has done on one hull.
As with Groupama C (and another Fischer catamaran, the soon-to-be-flying GC32 when it begins trialling its new foil configuration in January), the Flying Phantom uses L-shaped daggerboards and inverted T-shaped rudders to elevate itself from the water, essentially similar to the set-up on AC72 catamarans. However the boards have a C-shape hook at the top to them that alters the cant of the board according to how much it is lower. This enables the board to be more vertical for sailing upwind and more canted (turning the L into more of a V), to dampen pitching when sailing off the wind.
While the rake of the rudder is fixed on the Flying Phantom, the rake of the daggerboard can be adjusted on an endless screw mechanism (as on Groupama C) so that the flying trim of the boat can be altered according to the point of sail, sea state, etc. Also like Groupama C, the daggerboard lifting mechanism is cleverly attached to the crewman's trapeze so that the action of going out on the wire lifts the weather board.
In terms of her performance, the Flying Phantom takes off in just seven knots of wind and can sail at two and half times true wind speed. So speeds of 28-30 knots can be achieved. Upwind, skimming the surface of the water, she makes 12 knots at around 55° to the wind.
The rake control for the daggerboard may take some getting to use to, but the boat is otherwise aimed at being relatively simple to sail and to provide average mortal cat sailors with the opportunity to get a taste of America's Cup technology at a substantially cheaper price point. The boat is clearly interesting Cup teams, as one has already placed an order for some.
The first production models of the Foiling Phantom will be available in May and will cost 26,500 Euros. The boat is on display this week at the Salon Nautique in Paris.