• Anyone can edit. Just a rough draft work in progress. Please check it out and add to it.
(spoiler alert: there are not 1000 tips yet)
"The two primary testers have been me: 156lbs and Dad: 235lbs. Works for both of us." – Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
In the FAQs it is mentioned that 90 pounds is reasonable.
See Heavyweight UFO Foiling youtube.
• Moderate Wind • 225lb skipper • airborne and moving fast.
"At about 250 lb, clearance under the bridge deck gets to be a problem, and the really heavy are going to have an extra portion of sucks until the foils can get you a few inches of freeboard to clear wave tops." - Steve Clark (Chief designer)
This became a hot topic in Sailing Anarchy. (ignore the title, this thread quickly the detours from topic and devolves into a lively discussion of the merits of trailering or car topping .)
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"You do not need a trailer. The hull weighs 31.5kg and is compact. So assuming your car has a roof, put it there. If it's a convertible, jam it in the back seat like Tony Stark in Iron Man II . I believe the boat fits in the back of some of the world's larger mini-vans if angled about 45 degrees. All other parts are collapsible and take up very little space. Roof racks are cheaper than trailers." – Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
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"In the event that for some reason you need a trailer, here's my short-list of recommendations, ranked from Gucci to Stingey. There are many more options out there; this merely establishes a range.
1. Yakima Rack and Roll. The rolls royce phantom of trailers. With racks exactly 1 inch thinner than the max beam, your straps will come down dead flush to the hull and the whole thing will look like fine art. If you'd rather work some sort of less sexy system with more span, they have a version of the Rack and Roll that's a foot wider still.
2. Dynamic dolly rack on trailer bed. Can be found at nearly any dinghy distributor that I'm aware of, or they'll put it together for you. Basic Dynamic rack U-bolted to an acceptable wheel base. I've been using these systems my whole life and the only thing to cause a failure was getting rear ended by a guy going 30mph faster than us (likely texting). In that case I don't think the rack was to blame. I swear by these things and, in the case of the UFO, where getting the payload to actually be heavy enough will be an issue, this may be a solid call.
3. Trailex SUT-250-S technically designed for V-bottomed boats, this one is fitted with nice large padded bunks which will do a glorious job of carrying the UFO upside down or, in the event that the bunks can be set high enough (don't know. Haven't acquired one to find out) right side up with the bunks on the underside of the deck. The upside down stunt is the trick for making the boat fit on practically everything. With a convex solid tramp, the boats hulls will clear most wheel covers that it encounters and thus overcome the beam constraint on most trailers rather easily. In such a case, running the straps fore and aft across the boat should handle everything.
4. Harbor Freight - 870 lb capacity,40" x 49" utility trailer 62646 $199!!! You can't even buy dollies for that money! Sorry. Getting carried away. The name is Harbor Freight Haulmaster. It's the IKEA trailer. It comes in a pair of boxes in the mail and you bolt the whole thing together with rudimentary tools. Now that's a lot more than a lot of people want to do, but $199!! Wow!
So, okay here's the other bit. Once you're down to this level of savings you're also intercepting the secondhand market pretty aggressively and craigslist is a great place to snoop around. And here's the kicker: the boat is 67 inches wide at max beam so while the Haulmaster brings you the bulk of the way there, you will need to go to a hardware store and buy some 2X4s to bolt to it, crosswise, or a 4X8 sheet of plywood to nail on, thus forming a bed and choosing the "deck-down" orientation.
Again, I don't have a personal top pick for any of these because I use a pair of 2X4s tied to the roof. So I have no experience. However, I have loaded many many many boats and know the dimensions of this one quite intimately.
On another note, yes a 'beach wheels' style dolly does come with the boat. We're stingy yankees, not sadists. A UFO absolutely need a dolly, unless you want to haul it up the sand like a hobie, which will work." – Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
"Designed and built in the USA" – Fulcrum Speedworks website.
Until 23 August 2017, the UFO was blisfully manufactured at the The Zim plant is in Warren RI, USA.
On the 24th the UFO's "left the TPI building on what felt like the last helicopter out of Saigon." – Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
- Top Secret -
The UFO's are now built at the Fulcrum Speedworks facility at 253 Franklin St, Bristol RI, USA.
"The spreaders are attached to the booms. Mast rotates to follow the booms. The jumper wires themselves have a block and tackle on them, so you can control mast bend by altering the tension. As this is directly opposed to the thrust of the booms, when you straighten the mast, you also tighten the leech. Leech tension and foot tension are interlinked like on any sprit/wish boom sail, and you tune with down haul and out haul just as you would a sailboard rig. Mast is really bendy and the sail has a ton of luff round, so there is quite a bit of range in the tuning. Sail is VERY similar to a Moth cut." - Steve Clark (Chief designer)
"I had a hand in the rig development. Wishbones are safer and allow endplating to the deck which has some nice effects. I'm pretty psyched about our aero package. Plus powerful vangs, and booms that can really vang up a roughly 8 square meter rig are neither simple nor cheap. We explored a bunch of other stuff. We chose this package." - Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
More often than not, the variable cost center of a dinghy is aloft. It’s quite easy to lose all the budget victories you’ve made in hull design and process control by choosing the wrong spars and cloth. The easy solution would be to go down the Laser route and put a small full sail on cheap aluminum tubes, but that will not perform well enough for a foiler, or meet weight targets. While a fully battened Mylar sail can be made cost-effectively enough, a freestanding carbon spar would murder the budget. We found that a long composite sailboard spar, built in volumes that dwarf all other spars, is priced at an exceedingly seductive level but, on its own, lacks the stiffness to do the job. In addition, foilers work best with high leech tension, so much so that the booms and tension vangs on foiling Moths are historically plagued by breakage.
Without question we had a spar problem that required a creative solution. I found the answer quite by accident while looking at the 1930s Herreshoff Amphi-Craft on display at the T.F. Green Airport (Warwick, Rhode Island). The boat featured a primitive straight-sparred wishbone boom system, held at its forward tips by wire diamonds and short wire tethers running straight aft to the mast.
Courtesy Mystic Seaport Museum
For a moment I mistook the tethers for spreaders, and realized that diamonds, plus compression struts (spreaders), plus wishbooms married to the tips of those spreaders would allow a cascade of benefits. You could swap out the stiffness needs of the spar with tension strength in Dyneema jumper stays, and replace the tension needs of the vang with compression strength in the booms. This would allow these forces to efficiently cancel one another out, resulting in a conventional stiff spar with a tight leech, while still being based on that inexpensive, flexible sailboard spar. This is the core concept of our original “jumper strut” arrangement, which, finding no prior art, we’ve provisionally patented. We find that it supports and works the sail in all the ways it should and has the added benefit of enabling a lighter-weight sailor to “turn off” the rig stiffness by releasing tension on the jumpers, effectively depowering the boat in windier conditions. This yields a surprisingly wide tuning range for a freestanding rig.
... we kept the deck layout pointedly sparse. There is a Cunningham and a mainsheet." - excerpt from The People’s Foiler: A Design Brief on the UFO Foiling Catamaran, By Dave Clark, Professional Boatbuilder Magazine
"The shorthand is don't worry too much about it. Virtually every outing the boat took throughout testing started and finished in the shallow highly tidal Kickemuit river. To date we have not seen even minor damage from contact or jamming in the bottom, and that's not for want of trying.
Essentially flex in the spar tip is the key to its resilience. The more rigid the tip of a spar, the more liable it is to snapping. Our tip is very whippy and thus laps up misuse without complaint, seemingly ad infinitum. We've been using spars in this configuration for a year now and none have failed from this or any other phenomenon.
As far as righting from a turtle goes, there isn't much to it. Grab the leeward righting handle and lean out off the leeward hull. It comes up and if you're in the bottom at all, the wind and wave action do a ton to work you out. This is one of the reasons the thread is in dinghy anarchy. If you've sailed a dinghy in shallow water, you've probably done this. Now you're capsized rather than inverted. Move to the next righting handle up on what was the windward hull. Lean out and the boat rights quickly. One of the secrets to this is that the spars only weigh 12 pounds. If it's really windy day, the boat may want to do a full 'frisco roll once the rig catches the wind. The fix is to use both righting handles. As the catamaran comes over on top of you, you can anchor the whole thing laterally as you hang out under the tramp and this will arrest any further roll. Then duck the hull get on board and go sailing.
There's nothing safe about a boat that can't turtle. Even if you for some reason are rendered incapable of righting a turtled craft you are orders of magnitude safer than a dark speck bobbing up and down as your miraculously un-turtled boat glides downwind faster than you can swim. Maybe I'm just traumatized from losing A-cats and F18s that didn't belong to me on modestly heavy air days, but for my money I'm happier going out on my own in a boat that I need to spend a little extra time righting some times than a boat that ditches me when it has the chance." -- Dave Clark (Chief Developer, Co-Designer)
“Mast is really bendy and the sail has a ton of luff round, so there is quite a bit of range in the tuning. Sail is VERY similar to a Moth cut.” - Steve Clark (Chief designer)
“There are control wheel driven AoA adjusters for both foils. This gives you a nearly limitless selection of foil tunings to try over the course of an outing, Given that threads give you a continuum rather than a set of pin holes.” - Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
ed. I know nothing about sailing a Moth ... perhaps this will help: Simon talks about the rig on a Moth.
"Simply put, it's not about taking the foils off so much as gating them to "hyperplaning" mode and no further. Choking the wand up until the foils will lift no further than the planing waterline means that the foils generate a crazy amount of planing assist and then push no further upward. Taking the horizontal off makes it a very very short catamaran with a very very tall rig. Don't do it. I do not condone it. It will be far less fun than a day of planing around at about 10 knots with the foil lift keeping you there and pitch-stabilizing the boat." - Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
"The boat is really easy to rig. We had to put the boat I sailed together, which consisted of sliding the 3 piece mast together, pinning the wishbones to the spreaders and sliding the mast into the step. Tip the boat on its side, insert foils from the bottom, attach the wand arm to the main foil, tip the boat back up (foils are held in the retracted position by cool little keepers on the rudder head and mast pod), rig the mainsheet and hoist the sail. Because the rig is so bendy, it is really easy to hoist the main even though it has a lot of luff curve with the stays released. Rig Cunningham and outhaul, slide the dolly under and you are good to go." - Ezra
"A piece of advise to anyone rigging one. If it's taking too long to rig a part such as the rudder or main foil, take a step back, you're probably doing it the wrong way. Once you figure it out it's super simple." - Merde2
"Yup" - Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
"It can" - Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
"Yes. Done it. World's stablest SUP" - Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
"The ergonomics are all wrong for that." - Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
"Roughly 50 inches. Though, thanks to the wand being built onto the strut and located forward of the rig, you can foil with the struts reefed. It requires a five minute modification to the mainfoil strut with a 1/4 inch drillbit. At the limit of reefed foiling, you can fly with about 20 inches of water, though not really at all points of sail. That's too shallow to gain windward heel and not enough strut in the water to generate sideforce. Skitters like a banshee downwind, though. Another extremely odd practical upshot of this is (downwind) it removes so much strut wetted area that it actually significantly decreases the wind required to fly. Really weird but really fun. Modify your foils at your own risk, though. Once you're back at full depth, that hole in the strut is not fast and low profile tyvek tape can only solve the problem for a couple uses at a time." - Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
"There's a down-halyard on the rudder with a cleat and a rope tender system for the tail. It'll drop to whatever depth you set it to. To get it to go back up, uncleat it and continue sailing forward at a minimum of ~1.5 knots. The foil will lift itself to the new required degree of withdrawal. I spent a couple eternities in rhino trying to efficiently get the same type of system to work for the mainfoil, but the 'pin through the head' AoA control is a permanent road block. If you add an extra hole you can set the foil to that, sort of like a reef point, but it's not possible to make the system fully continuous." - Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
|UFO Foil||Waszp Foil|
"I'm glad you asked. We're quite proud of how our foil package works out. What you're seeing is a two part optical illusion. Both on scale and lighting. The waszp uses the same extrusion for both the mainfoil and the rudder. Both have a modestly high cord but around the same thickness as the UFO mainfoil. In comparison though, the UFO mainfoil strut has a significantly smaller cord length (the hulls generate sideforce until you're taking off, so the loading is smaller than one might think). The low cord of the mainfoil is part of balancing the boat with the foil just forward of the mast. The rudder is far higher cord but thanks to the increased thickness of its section actually ends up with only one shear web and far lighter walls. Vs. the mainfoil it is actually lighter by the foot. Glare from the sun in the photo also helps that illusion out further. It's more like a 3/16ths wall in real life. This is all part of one of the key differances between the UFO and Waszp. The UFO is essentially a tandem wing configuration whereas the waszp is an inverse-loaded canard. We are a far more rudder-loaded boat.
We considered aluminum lifting foils and even tried some, but the design compromises required to go to straight extrusions and the limitations it imposes caused us to reject the concept. As it is we get to have proper tapers in our foils and even get beneficial twist in the mainfoil flap. They're also about 1.5kg lighter per foil than their composite cousins. It was a win-win. The rationale for aluminum struts was a lot simpler. 1. Rectangular planforms have a lot less downside when you've got a big old endplate on the bottom that serves its own useful purpose. 2. Aluminum comes out of the die cheap, strong and with exactly the same properties every single time. 3. The carbon ones kept breaking." - Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
"There's a lot of guidance and support on this that I'll pass on at a drop of a hat to resolve this stuff, but I'd like to focus my efforts right now on a fundamental technique primer which is long overdue in being written out and I'll be reposting this elsewhere: Tacking
The maneuver that passes the boat through the breeze in displacement mode at speed is a maneuver I call the Heisman Tack. Here's how it goes:
Steer into the tack with speed on. Don't bother reaching off or anything so drastic, but be footing for sure. Get into a kneeling position on your present weather side with your knees facing in, roughly touching your hiking straps or slightly outboard of there. Thinking of it as sitting on your feet is a good way to visualize it. As you steer into the tack, there are two things of maximum importance to remember. 1. Through the eye of the breeze, the sail is a way bigger rudder than the rudder itself. 2. spending too long in the back of the bus with the bows up in the air will throw off all the flow on the blades as the boat catches on its sterns, stops and rests nicely in irons. Those are the two things to beat.
So here's what you do: Steer into the tack with the rudder-punch through it with the sail. Steer into the tack without attempting to go across the boat. You have plenty of stability to play with. Reach down and grab the foot of the sail about a foot aft of the white fillet-bulb, using your mainsheet hand. Pull the main over hard. Get it over your head and shoulder and cross under it while continuing to pull it across. By now you should be roughly in the center of the boat with your body weight a tad aft. Push the sail out onto the new leeward side HARD. This is why it's called the Heisman Tack. You need to stiff-arm the sail out to drive the boat through the wind quick. If you drop the tiller during this procedure, it usually wont even matter. You're working with a far larger foil at this point.
If you've done this fast, all you need to do is sheet in and go. If you've done this slowly, you can be on the cusp of a stall. The first thing to do is get your bodyweight forward-nearly alongside the main-beam. This cuts the bow up problem out of the equation. Another neat trick is to simulate flow on the foil by "fishing" the rudder. This is distinct from sculling in that it doesn't exceed ~20 degrees from center and happens at a higher frequency. You're fluttering rather than flapping.
Another thing to note is that sheeting in very hard once you're through the eye of the wind has the reverse of the intended effect, since the main foil is forward. Sheet on very slowly and aim to gain flow before doing anything aggressive. It's far better to get through the tack in one quick turntable spin and then build speed than bite off more than you can chew and try to plane through the tack.
All this said, the optimal way to tack is on foils, but that's a whole separate technique based primarily in resisting centripetal force as you turn and getting shot overboard like Nate Outerridge. But also, with about two foil tacks under my belt, I'm no authority on those."
– Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
"There is no such thing as bad weather. Only bad clothing."
– Norwegian Proverb
"I can jump in here on the topic of cold weather foiling gear, as I know a few things on the topic.
Chilly Weather: Full length 5mm wetsuit. DO NOT use conventional dinghy boots. They don't work well at all with the hiking straps. Slippers like these are far better.
Frostbiting: I've been frostbiting the boat for two years now and am quite proud of how the boat is safe enough to even allow consideration of foiling frostbiting. I wouldn't dare do it in any other foiling or high performance boat. Here's the trick. Sometimes you'll get dunked and the water is going to be REALLY cold. Combat this by being so unspeakably hot that cold water is a welcome relief.
Here's what you need:
1.That same 5mm full length wetsuit (which means with sleeves). I wear a Musto Foiling Thermohot Impact wetsuit, to be precise.
2.Neoprene socks inside the drysuit- I use Neosock socks, which I've had for something like a decade with seemingly zero wear https://www.seirus.com/neosock-6871.html
3.Full blown drysuit- I use a Gul Code Zero, I think. I have virtually no opinions one way or the other on the different qualities of drysuits. Just stay away from sharp objects while wearing them.
4.The same pair of Ronstan slippers over the drysuit
5. Neoprene gloves. I use Glacier Gloves
6. HAT! Wind chill on a wet skull will give you brainfreeze from the outside, which feels awful and sucks the BTUs right out of you.
7. If it's really cold, throw an extra neoprene shirt on under the drysuit, tripling the protection of your core. Note: this will sacrifice some extra agility.
I fully intend to continue frostbiting by UFO for a third year here in Bristol a few blocks from the Fulcrum plant. Hopefully, this year I'll get to race some other UFOs throughout."
– Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
These are mirrored here from the Fulcrum Speedworks site.
All of them. Upwind, downwind, reaching. It’s a full course foiler. No, of course not in irons. Don’t be silly now.
As a function of its small and light hull, the UFO ships cheaply in a crate around the world. UFOs have already been ordered to as far away as Western Australia, which is about as far away from our Rhode Island factory as one can get without leaving the planet.
While we do have a global dealer network taking shape, demand is demand. UFOs are available for sale factory direct from the Zim Sailing facility in Warren, Rhode Island, and ship in an efficient LTL crate around the world door to door at competitive prices.
The UFO is the result of more than a year of work from the Fulcrum design team of:
Steve Clark (Chief designer)
Dave Clark (Chief developer, co-designer)
Ezra Smith (3D modelling)
Nat Shaver (Chief foil designer)
Casey Brown (Structural engineer)
Tof Nicoll-Griffith (Sail designer)
For the first year of its existence the UFO went through a rigorous non-stop process of “clay stage development”, in which the numerous prototypes were subjected to numerous changes, experimental alterations and a revolving door of foil shapes.
Clay stage development serves to assure that any errors missed in the design stage are caught and eliminated before production and that any gains which can be made by further development beyond the design phase are made and that use-pattern based tunings and improvements are integrated into the production boat. The production UFO represents both the file phase and the clay phase.
As a result the UFO comes into production with the advantage of both design development, re-design and re-development, uncompromised.
The full sail away package, down to the dolly, costs $7600 USD.
Slots in the continuous build queue are reserved upon receipt of a $2000 USD fully refundable deposit check and a signed deposit agreement. Deposits are refundable until the materials go into the mold for your specific boat. Once the build is complete you have the opportunity to complete the purchase and finish your purchase assume possession of your boat and have it shipped it to your location.
Yes, when you’ve learned how.
While the UFO provides a good easy learning platform for your first foray into flight, don’t let that confuse you into thinking that it’s a matter of minutes until you’re getting everything you can get out of the boat.
The UFO has a remarkably long ramp of rewards to technique which should make it an excellent lifespan boat, in that it’s hard to “top out” and become bored. The high-magnitude rewards to technique, such as learning extremely refined sheeting, and mastering foiling gybes and foiling tacks, keep coming. While the boat provides joyriding immediately, the UFO is a great deal more than simply a cheap thrill.
Within reason, anyone.
UFO pilots have ranged from 9 years old to 64, from 90 pounds to 235. It’s rare that anyone on the fulcrum team conceives of a boat with a narrow niche in mind. Why bother? It’s a mistake in yacht design to design a boat for a narrow range of users, when for the most part people are diverse and the objective of one-design boats is to garner large fleets. That said, the boat is likely to be most satisfactory in all wind conditions in the hands of teens, small and medium men and all women. At the extreme low end of the weight range, sailors may find themselves overpowered and at the extreme high end, the wind speed required for takeoff is about two knots higher than average. UFOs have been sailed “two up” as well, though the above limits of weight range still apply to the sum of the two sailors weights.
The UFO will sail in practically any wind condition.
While it can at times with a skilled skipper take off in very low wind speeds, the baseline for reliable flight is around eight knots. The upper wind limit is more a matter of taste and skill. UFOs have been sailed in 30 knots, but it’s no picnic, as one might suspect. In under 8 knots, the UFO reverts to being a pleasant displacement catamaran and goes from being exciting and fast to relaxing and tactical. Extremely gusty conditions (such as 8 gusting 28), as is true for practically all sailboats, are awful, and should be avoided.
Most chop and wave conditions present no issue for a UFO set for the days’ conditions. After all, powered hydrofoils were first developed by various leading Navy’s as a means of smoothly flying over challenging sea-states. Choking up the ride height helps the UFO fly smoothly through the bottom of the wave pattern, undeterred. Rolling seas present even less issue, as the UFO will ride along them just like any other. Extremely tight and tall chop can be very annoying, which is not peculiar to the UFO.
Most people do.
But conditions, setup and technique matter and if you use it incorrectly, you are likely to get some degree of incorrect results. The UFO is designed to be very forgiving in tuning and technique, so it likely affords you a better chance of successful flight than anything out there. However, you as a skipper, still matter.
You’ll probably do some damage to it.
The UFO is built with durability as a core objective but it’s worth noting that the gulf between “Feather light under engineered ragged-edge high performance craft” and “literally indestructible” is extremely wide. The UFO represents neither of these extremes. Do not attempt your first flight inside a densely packed mooring field. Obstacles only make you better once you’ve mastered the basics.
The current cartop to launched speed record is roughly 15 minutes. Socket the mast together. Attach the boom and stays in one go. Step the rig. Flip the boat on its side, insert the foils, right the boat, hoist the sail and launch. Complexity is best avoided.
Roll the boat into the water. Pull the dolly out from under the boat and leave it on the beach. Drop 8 to 10 inches of rudder and sail out to deep water. Drop your foils and fly away!
At this hull weight, the boat is very easy to put on top of a car, and its flat bottoms allow it to be strapped down hard with no drama. The other components of the boat collapse down to the point of easily fitting in a standard hatchback.
Anywhere you can carry it to. Anywhere it fits.
Behind couches, under beds, under porches, in basements, inside larger boats, chained to apartment fire escapes, hanging in garages. Anywhere it can go that’s convenient for your lifestyle is a good place for it to go.
Just trust us.
If you’ve thought of it, we’ve weighed the pros and cons and its been included or excluded for good reason. Creating a boat that can be produced at an affordable price, for a wide range of sailors with a maximum quantity of accessible performance is an extremely hard target to hit. The UFO meets all of its objectives and does so by blatantly ignoring a few conventions and norms. You simply don’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.