Pip Hare gets behind the wheel of the 46-footer with DSS foils, interchangeable rudder and hydraulic mainsail controls.
Though most of us are captivated by the images of flying boats from International Moths to America’s Cup catamarans, the increased athleticism and technical ability required to manage these high-tech machines make it unlikely to catch on at the mass-participation end of the sailing spectrum. How many of us would actually want to endure the extreme levels of stress and discomfort that the skippers on foiling boats in the Vendée Globe race have reported?
DSS, however, seems to offer the enhanced performance of foils without the brutality of actually flying. A DSS foil protrudes from the yacht’s leeward hull horizontally to increase righting moment when over a certain speed.
When the crew of Maverick talk about sailing in DSS mode the grins on their faces say it all. The jump in speed is often up to 40 per cent. They report a ‘pop’ then the boat takes off.
Despite the speed, it is reportedly a dry and smooth ride because the bow lifts up and the angle of heel reduces to a mere 15-17 degrees. Skipper Olly Cotterell told me eagerly of his first foiling experience, “Surprisingly for me it was not terrifying or hard work, certainly not how the yacht was handling!”
The vang, traveller and canting keel are all controlled by hydraulics. The mainsheet trimmer sits in front of the helm, although there is a remote control for both traveller and vang. This enables the power to be dumped instantly and makes the traveller easy to adjust despite the fact that it is located behind the helmsman’s position.
The rudder is top-loaded through a tube in the deck with steering cables also run over the deck. In the event of a rudder breakage the canard will fit into the same slot to act as a spare. Should the steering cables break, a jury rig could very quickly be rigged up to eyebolts in the top of the rudder tube using lashings over the deck.