Slatts 22

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Crossing the Stream | Our F-27

Check out all the lines coming to the helmsman. The foil control handle is in my left hand. I'm wearing a life jacket because the day before I capsized it. A friend in a Hunter 23 pulled us back over. It was very cold that March day and by the time I got back to the dock I was shivering so bad I couldn't tie a knot.

At first I wanted to blame the boat for the capsize because the hydrofoil didn't hold the hull down on starboard tack, which is what I thought it was supposed to do.

So I went out again. And capsized again. It's not like a Hobie. No pulling this back over yourself. Luckily, my buddy in the Hunter was shadowing me again. I was not a happy camper and was thinking I bought a terrible boat.

Then I remembered: it's the lousy carpenter that blames his tools. So I contacted John Slattebo, the designer, and talked to him.

Here's the deal: the hydrofoil only works when water is flowing over the surface, just like a rudder. The power the foil has goes up exponentially with the increase in speed. So when you are tacking, the boat is moving very slow, and the foil is basically just hanging there, 3 feet underwater, scaring the fishies. If a gust of wind comes at that moment, and you've got the mainsheet tight because you want to go fast, over you go. Time for swimming lessons, not sailing lessons.

Solution: keep mainsheet slack through and after the tack. Gradually tighten as speed picks up. I haven't capsized since.