UF0 FOILER

Sailing World - - Boty -

Recre­ational DE­SIGNED foil­ing FOR Class racing THE JUDGES LIKED In­no­va­tion Con­cept and ac­ces­si­bil­ity RE­QUIRED CREW One PRICE AS TESTED $7,600

DDave Clark is the UFO’S cocre­ator, builder, tweaker and apos­tle. When he ex­plains the con­struc­tion of his 10-foot cata­ma­ran con­trap­tion (“we use this apoc­a­lyp­ti­cally thick tri­ax­ial fiber­glass layup”) and its han­dling (“as you ask the boat to chal­lenge you, it will con­tinue to chal­lenge you, but only when it’s asked”), his en­thu­si­asm is as an­i­mated as the UFO’S be­hav­ior on the wa­ter, es­pe­cially in flight. The UFO is oth­er­worldly, the judges agree, with the po­ten­tial to dis­rupt the dinghy-sail­ing scene as an all-ac­cess low-cost foiler.

Nowa­days at Clark’s Ful­crum Speed­works fac­tory in Bris­tol, Rhode Island, he’s crank­ing out these pint- size craft, ship­ping batches in card­board boxes and con­tain­ers with in­ter­na­tional ship­ping man­i­fests. He’s tak­ing orders over the phone, on credit cards, from im­pulse buy­ers drop­ping $7,600 for an “all-in­clu­sive” sail­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

How’s the UFO built? It’s vac­uum- in­fused, with car­bon-re­in­forced vinylester for an all- up weight of 110 pounds. The wish­bone spar assem­bly is a mix of car­bon and fiber­glass com­po­nents; the foil struts are ex­truded alu­minum; and the el­e­va­tors are a mix of car­bon, glass, foam core and stain­lesssteel parts.

“Com­plex­ity is the en­emy,” says Clark, who de­vel­oped the UFO with his fa­ther, Steve Clark. “I need it to be ro­bust, and I can’t have parts go miss­ing.”

That might be true of the UFO’S big pieces, says Allen, but there are still quite a few lit­tle pins and parts re­quired for

It’s in­no­va­tive, cre­ative and in­ex­pen­sive. I can see a lot peo­ple get­ting their first taste of foil­ing with this thing. CHUCK ALLEN

assem­bly and flight. “You’ll have to take good care of it, es­pe­cially if you’re in and out of the wa­ter, and mov­ing it around all the time.”

The car­bon wind­surf­ing mast tube that Clark uses is bendy, so he added a jumper strut sys­tem to stiffen it. The wish­bone ar­range­ment is then the most ef­fec­tive way to pro­vide high leech ten­sion and power in the sail, which is es­sen­tial to the en­tire rig pack­age.

The judges’ test­ing ses­sion in sub- 10- knot con­di­tions doesn’t al­low flight for Tom Rich nor Greg Ste­wart, both of whom ex­ceed 200 pounds. But Clark, at 170 pounds and with two years in the boat, has it foil­ing in a heart­beat, us­ing an ex­plo­sive ki­netic tech­nique he’s per­fected to get liftoff. Allen is ini­tially un­able to get it foil- borne, but 2 knots more of wind­speed and a lit­tle ex­tra ef­fort on the main­sheet is all it takes to get him fly­ing.

The UFO’S tun­nel hull is a simple and defin­ing plat­form that al­lows it to be sailed home when the breeze gets to be too lit­tle or too much. Its T-foils lift nearly flush with the bot­tom of the boat, for launch­ing it from a shore­line or a dock. The ride­height wand is eas­ily ad­justable to the de­sired chal­lenge of the day. “Low to start and learn,” says Clark. “Higher as you get bet­ter and faster.”

At the end of your UFO ses­sion, break it down and leave it on a dolly, or stuff the whole lot into your fam­ily wagon.

“That’s what makes this boat so cool,” says Allen. “It’s in­no­va­tive, cre­ative and in­ex­pen­sive. I can see a lot peo­ple get­ting their first taste of foil­ing with this thing.”

Or as Clark pon­tif­i­cates, “You can use it across your en­tire sail­ing ca­reer — from your Opti un­til you’re old and dead.”

As a unique foil­ing ob­ject, in­deed the UFO’S most ap­peal­ing as­pect is the abil­ity to sail it in con­di­tions that have other foil­ers on the beach. Sailors new to foil­ing will be quickly re­warded with min­i­mal ef­fort.

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