A plea for the foiling catamaran


It is now about two years since I decided to switch to foiling catamarans with the GC32 boat class. Having been at home in multihull-sailing for quite a long time, it was obvious for me to try out a catamaran with foils. But my “first time” on a GC32 boat turned out to be a literally revelation for me. After that there was no turning back.
Catamarans can develop enormous speeds even without foils. But the moment when the wings lift a GC32 out of the water and the boat begins to fly almost silently, my heart still beats faster.

So I find it all the more astonishing that the America’s Cup in particular is once again focusing on monohull boats after this Cup has done so much for foiling catamarans. But it is not surprising at the same time that when returning to the monohull, foils are now used instead of a keel, which can lift the hull sideways out of the water. Nevertheless, these novel boats – already called “monomarans” by some because of their similarity to the foiling catamaran – will hardly match the performance of a foiling multihull. 

To a certain extent, this development is understandable, as the new concept is probably intended as a compromise to bring critics and nostalgics back on board. But even this rather elaborate attempt to rescue some of the traditional sailing aesthetics into the present day of high-tech and computer-aided design will, in my opinion, not change the fact: The “simple” foiling catamaran is the future.

At the moment everyone is talking about foiling. “Flying” is the trend that is currently turning the world of water sports upside down. Windsurfers, kitesurfers, but also conventional dinghies are being converted, new boats are being designed and built. There are already smaller “flying” yachts. Even among circumnavigators, the trend is to design monohull boats in such a way that as much of the hull as possible is lifted out of the water when sailing. Long-standing speed and circumnavigation records will probably soon be broken.

All the more reason for me to believe that only foiling on boats that are operated exclusively by hand and do without computer-assisted flight controllers will provide the ultimate “sailing kick”. Because the more the sailor is challenged with his experience and sensitivity, the more the fulfilling feeling of being one with wind and waves arises in addition to all the speed.

Christian Zuerrer, Team Principal, Black Star Sailing