Seeing how the foiling cat capsized is both handy and worrying for Matthew Sheahan as he prepares to join the crew for Antigua Sailing Week

Having been talk of the town in Saint Barths for her foiling antics at the beginning of the week, Eduardo Perez’s foiling Gunboat G4, ‘Timbalero III’ became the hot topic at the event’s prize giving on Saturday evening, but this time for the wrong reasons.

On a day that proved exciting for all, Timbalero III was flying on the downwind leg of the course on the east side of the island when the bright orange, futuristic foiling cat tripped up and capsized.

“It was such a silly mistake,” said Peter Johnstone, Gunboat’s founder and G4 crew member. “A gust hit us and for some reason we didn’t dump the mainsheet and she just carried on heeling.”



Fortunately no one was hurt as she slowly turned turtle. With the crew clambering onto the upturned hull she was righted shortly afterwards.

The incident has certainly raised the stakes though, as I’m off to race aboard her in Antigua Week.

“You’re still on aren’t you?” asked Johnstone with a smile shortly after coming ashore.

“We’ll be there. The only damage we suffered was to the mainsail and some electronics, so we’re full on for Antigua.”

As always, his enthusiasm is infectious making it difficult if not impossible to decline.

Yet there’s a nagging personal doubt as to the number of times I’ve dodged bullets in the line of duty from L’Hydroptere pitch poling at over 40 knots just two days after I’d been riding the foiling beast in the same place at the same speeds, to the nerve wracking early trials on Rambler 100 when we were hit by a 50 knot squall with lightening and horizontal rain with the full sail plan jammed on the halyard locks. Just two examples in a long list that might have put me off sailing had I have had anything other than the typical short term, rose tinted sailor’s memory.

Looking on the positive side, at least the crew know where the limits are now and it looks likely that it’ll be a grown up on the mainsheet rather than a journalist guest!