Portland Harbour, Dorset
27 September-3 October, 1997
"Aeroskimmer" by Neils Haabosch, T. Bakkek and team
Comments are by Robert Downhill and Dave Culp
In contrast to the previous talk, this was a more serious talk from a member of a seriously well organised team from Holland. They have put three years of hard work into developing the craft which they brought to Weymouth behind a huge camper van cum mobile boat building work shop.
The craft is a carefully detailed and well made catamaran having an asymmetric 20m2 wing sail which tilts over the top of an 'A' frame mast so as to present the correct camber to the wind and perhaps also to gain a little aerodynamic lift. Neils explained that the ability to move the wing quickly into a horizontal position had also proved useful for braking and for coping with gusts. The wing is controlled by various lines leading to blocks on aluminium frames which extend from stem to stern outboard of each hull. These frames are also used for sitting out or trapezeing and being elegantly curved tubes they do not look ugly.
The hulls are fairly conventional but with flattish bottoms for planing. Normal crew is three persons (men and women). The overall beam to length ratio is at least what one would expect of a trimaran rather than a cat. The wing sail has the main structure and the surface of the leading edge female moulded in aramid epoxy and foam sandwich and similar construction is used for the hulls. The rest of the wing surfaces are reinforced flexible film stretched on composite battens. Spars, crossbeams, rudders and dagger boards are pure carbon fibre and epoxy.
Sponsorship is from 3M and other companies but the eventual aim is to make the project self supporting by selling production versions of this and other craft. This was generally the fastest of the non-sailboard competitors and in light winds was sometimes faster than the boards. It would be interesting to compare it with a more conventional cat of similar size and sail area, or with the 'Bootiful' cat which Simon Sanderson brought to Speedweek in '95.
Aeroskimmer have their own web page
Back to SpeedWeek '97