UFO Foiler

UFO Foiler Video Highlights

Link to UFO Purchase Page

Boat Details

The UFO radically increases the fun factor of a simple and affordable sailboat. By combining the same wand controlled center-line T-foil system found on the International Moth class, along with a catamaran hull, the UFO offers the otherworldly fun of flying just above the waves. The UFO has been developed to give consistent fun and performance to all level of sailors.

The UFO is:

Simple
Beach launch-able
Robust and durable
Sail-able in shallows at all points of sail
Safe
User friendly
And flies consistently in 8 knots of breeze and above
The UFO Foiler

What’s in it?

Hull:

The hull outstandingly rugged and seemingly impossible to dent. Weighing in at 70lbs.(31.5kg) it’s easy to handle and transport. And, for material geek, it’s made of a vinylester infused, Soric cored, fiberglass, with carbon fiber reinforced beams. The flat bottoms allow it to car top easily. Add a conventional beach-wheeled style dolly, and the UFO becomes exceptionally easy to move around.

EVA foam deck padding makes it comfortable to move around on. The deck rigging layout is as simplified as possible, featuring no long tails, take-ups or needless bits of string. Fulcrum’s rigging philosophy is “the more sophisticated the system, the more likely it is to snag and ultimately decay”.

The Rig:

The jumper-strut wish-boom rig provides safety, performance, and simplicity. Once the hulls have been lifted clear of the water the speed increase is exhilarating; and rapid deceleration occurs as soon as the hulls touch back down. Learning to fly on other foiling boats can lead to some nasty scrapes and bruises. As other foiling boats rapidly slow down, the sailor can continue forward into the shrouds, the wing bars, or raised foils. Keeping this “splashdown path” clear for the sailor was a must in the UFO design. So the UFO stays play no part in securing the rig to the boat,keeping the splashdown path clear of obstructions. The UFO’s jumper stay arrangement provides a broad tuning range of rig stiffness, enabling the boat to be powered up or de-powered to taste.

The collapsible three-part mast is carbon fiber and carbon-glass mix. The boom sprits are also a carbon glass mix for stiffness and durability. North Sails designed and produces the fully battened mylar sail. A halyard raises the sail rather than having to capsizing the hull.

Foils:

The center-line T-foil arrangement, used on the Moth and the UFO, has been through thousands of hours of testing and refining, and its countless iterations of development to the present day. It is the most proven hydrofoil technology in existence.

The center-line T-foils are made from a hybrid foam cored carbon/glass composite and fixed to the bottom of the main foil and rudder strut. The combination of these foils and the tunnel hull shape allows for full retraction of the horizontal top foil section between the hulls. This makes the boat very easy to launch without worrying about damaging the foils. This design allows the UFO to be landed “beach-cat style” onto the sand.

The main foil has a control flap along its trailing edge, which is driven by a wand at the bow. The wand automatically corrects the flap position, and controls flight by keeping the range pre-set by the sailor. “Ride height” is set by changing the extended length of the wand as a ‘set it and forget it’ tuning. Ride height can be set low to keep the hulls close to the water when just getting used to the feel, a mode nick-named “training wheels” by the design team. The ride height can be set higher as comfort with flying high and fast speeds increase. The rudder foil doesn’t have any active controls. It is also tuned with a ‘set it and forget it’ built-in angle of attack adjuster, a feature also available on the main foil. This enables the foils to be adjusted for the wind conditions of the day.

FAQ:

At what points of sail does the UFO foil at?
All of them. Upwind, downwind, reaching. It’s a full course foiler. No, of course not in irons. Don’t be silly now.

What does it cost?
The full sail away package, down to the dolly, costs $7600 USD.

Who can fly the UFO?
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.

What wind and waves can I fly a UFO in?
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.

Will I fly my first time out?
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.

What happens when I crash my UFO into something?
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.

How easy is it to rig a UFO?
Easy.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.

How do I launch a UFO?
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!

Can I easily cartop a UFO?
Yes.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.

Where can I store my UFO?
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.

Why does X look like Y? Surely it would be better to make it like Z.
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.