My mate and I just had a little a training duel in Sydney Harbour. Brett was foiling and I was on a Raceboard. The wind recordings were 15 to 20 knots gusting to 27 and 28 knots W WSW. It felt windy on the harbour and I thought to myself it blows in harder I am going to have a real bastard of a time getting home across the heads to Manly. We meet up at Rose Bay and first sailed upwind. Brett was footing pretty fast I was climbing upwind with my centreboard down. We separated a bit and it was unclear who was in front in terms of VMG. Brett was definitely faster through the water. When he tacked I tacked. Brett used the full width of the harbour and I stayed in the channel as I felt the wind was better. Brett got parked in his tack and took a little while to get foiling again. I was powering along and Brett pass behind and to leeward of me so at this point the Raceboard was in front!! Then the Ships Pilot Boat passes in front of me, this boat produces a nice wave and I was able to get on its wake with good wind. I was sailing fast with great height as a result. As we got up to Double Bay Brett speed was very good but he was a fair way down to leeward. Brett’s tack was good, we were now going to cross! I got a lift so the angles started looking good for me. Everything was going perfect for me but then I got a knock and Brett was lifting and the angles started to change and slowly it turned in Bretts favour. At the end of the upwind Brett crosses my in front by about 3 to 5 boat lengths. Pretty close but I said to Brett, ‘I think the foil was much faster’ I said this knowing that I had had good breeze and a nice wake to ride upwind and Brett went a bit close to Bradleys head in his first tack losing the wind.
Upwind - Foil 1 RB 0
It was difficult holding our rigs in the wind and chatting.
I said, ‘go Downwind?’ and Brett said, ‘these are insane, they go straight downwind’ or words something like that.
Heading downwind on port I was planning but not super fast. Brett was going low. I saw strong wind to the left and was sailing high to get to it. I got in the gust first and was lit up big time, the RB had more speed for sure but again we were now separated and in different wind. I held the gust all the way past Bradleys Head and then gybed. My gybe was bad but surprisingly when we came to cross I was still in it and perhaps in front. Then Brett had a crash so I’m claiming the downwind.
Foil 1 RB 1
I then said to Brett, Í better go home’
Brett followed me for a little bit. For sure the RB was quicker downwind in high wind and we were both on the same angle and same wind!
Summing up, the foil looked super cool. Sometimes Brett was going fast and only had the hull just out of the water. It looked safe this way. I thought the foil would have been clearly faster so I was a little surprised! I think I expect a lot of the foil, to be on par with a moth or foiling kite. If Brett had been on his Formula board I reckon he would have got me comfortably so in terms of performance the foiling is getting there but not there yet in my opinion. Maybe foiling is more a lighter wind thing. We had foils before in Rush Randle's time but they never prove to be faster back then, I feel this time it is different
Hopefully on the weekend we can test more by matching up all the course racing windsurfers, a Formula Board with a 12m sail and foil and a RB in light winds and even a Lechner if possible. Stayed tuned.
Regards Justin Lord
Brett was riding a Kerr foil and current NP sail. I was on Exocet RB and LORD Racing RB Sail