Ea­gle Class

Yachting World - - Front Page -

One of the most ex­cit­ing projects of re­cent years is the Ea­gle Class, a 53ft/16.5m foil­ing cata­ma­ran un­der de­vel­op­ment on the quiet dur­ing the last three years and now part way through build in Bris­tol, Rhode Is­land. This in­cred­i­ble craft is es­sen­tially a “pic­nic boat, a week­ender” ac­cord­ing to Tommy Gon­za­les, who heads up the build com­pany, Fast For­ward Com­pos­ites.

The Ea­gle Class 53 came through the de­sire of US fi­nancier Don­ald Suss­man to taste the ex­cite­ment and speed he’d watched dur­ing the last Amer­ica’s Cup in Ber­muda. Then owner of a Gun­boat

90, he told his skip­per, Gon­za­les, that he wanted the boat to have a wing­sail and foil. De­signer Pete Melvin carried out a fea­si­bil­ity study and con­cluded that it was bet­ter to start afresh, and so a scheme named Project Tri­dent was cre­ated, with three ob­jec­tives: to de­velop a hy­brid wing, a ro­tat­ing wing­mast with a soft sail part so that the mast could be left stand­ing when not be­ing sailed, and the sail could be short­ened; a suit­able plat­form for it; and an au­to­mated foil­ing sys­tem.

The re­sult is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Seat­tle-based de­signer Paul Bieker, who was an en­gi­neer for Or­a­cle Team USA, Olympic medal­list Randy Smyth, and naval ar­chi­tect An­drés Suar.

Smyth proved the con­cept of the hy­brid wing by first build­ing the 20ft

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