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Displaying items by tag: Foiling dinghy

Rory Martin of the Strangford Lough Activity Centre provides a variety of land and watersports through what he says is a quirky, experimental adventure centre. Though the Strangford Lough bases are at Whiterock and Sketrick Island near Killinchy on the west side of the lough, it is very much a mobile facility available throughout Northern Ireland. But apart from what is probably considered a common set of sports including kayaking, paddleboarding, boat tours and wet bouldering, there is now e-foiling which Rory calls a Magic Carpet Ride – the next big development in water sports.

Once reserved as a Millionaires’ play toy, the new sport of E Foiling has found a home on Strangford Lough. Celebrities such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, big wave surfer Laird Hamilton or Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg have tried it, with the latter going viral for flying above the water on an electric powered surfboard carrying an American Flag. This unique experience can be compared with driving a supercar or learning to fly a plane. For the same price as a night out, anyone can enjoy the feeling of flying above the water at speeds of up to 30mph.

E Foiling uses an electric powered surfboard on a hydrofoil wing which lifts 80cms out of the water giving an unparalleled experience of flying as Rory Martin suggests; “It’s like riding a magic carpet or a hoverboard. If you’ve seen Back to the Future, Disney’s Aladdin or indeed Marvel Comic’s Silver Surfer then you’ll have an idea of what to expect. We have purchased four of the Lift E Foils with the help of Ards and North Down Borough Council Experience Development Programme. Lift E Foils are considered the best available on the market. They are expensive pieces of kit, but we expect demand to be high and have received a huge amount of interest. The funding has allowed us to offer an introductory rate which should make it more affordable for the public”. He continues;” The latest technological advances that were once reserved for passenger ferries or high-end sporting competitions such as the America’s Cup are developing quickly. Powered by Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries and using an all-carbon hydrofoil wing has allowed weight reduction and longer battery life with a flying time of two hours”.

Strangford Lough is an ideal location for e-foiling as there’s plenty of flat enclosed water and beautiful scenery. Furthermore, as a noiseless and pollution-less activity it is in keeping with the centre’s sustainable ethos. Rory is confident that it will be popular. “You don’t have to be a pro surfer to enjoy the activity. With some flexibility, most people can get up on the board on their first session. With all equipment provided including wetsuits, buoyancy aids and helmets, participants just need to turn up and give it a go”. Rory explains; “As we emerge from the pandemic, we expect the demand for newfound water sports to continue. Paddle boarding, kayaking and wild swimming have massively increased in popularity, and we have been instrumental in increasing access to the water. We expect demand tosurge but be warned! It is very addictive and some of our initial customers are already looking at purchasing boards. We are very proud to be the first people to offer it in Ireland”

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Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Charlie Cullen of RStGYC came second at this year’s foiling week in the Waszp class held in Fraglia VelaMalcesine, on Lake Garda which finished yesterday, with Netherlands Paul Hameeteman taking first place and Denmarks Jeppe Borch finishing third.

Charlie, 19, was the only Irish representative at the event which attracted over 100 boats in various classes with world-class sailors from almost twenty countries.

Foiling Week is an event dedicated to foiling which involved clinics with International champions including Olympic gold medallists Tom Slingsby and Paul Goodison. Other competing champions were Francesco Bruni, Ian Jensen and Billy Besson.

It was quite a spectacle with over 60 Moths, 30 Waszp and other foiling boats on the lake, The racing was very tight and super exciting.

 Charlie Cullen of the RstGYC IRL 2987 (Purple Mast) on Fraglia VelaMalcesine, on Lake Garda Charlie Cullen of the RstGYC IRL 2987 (Purple Mast) Charlie Cullen of the RstGYC IRL 2987 (Purple Mast) at Fraglia VelaMalcesine on Lake Garda Photo: Martina Orsini

There were demos to try out foiling bikes, boats and foilboards. Also, ideas of developing new foiling technologies with sustainability in mind were shared.

There were 4 days of racing. Day 1 was cancelled due to no wind, but they got 10 very competitive races over the 3 days.

It was exhilarating sailing with great racing and a great group of people and no doubt foiling is the future.

The next big event on the Waszp foiling calendar are the waszp Europeans in August that will be hosted in Circolo Vela Arco in Lake Garda and there is expected to be a good Irish contingent.

Published in RStGYC
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The President of the governing body of International Sailing has spoken about the possibility of a foiling boat in the OIympic Sailing line–up for Tokyo 2020. In a far reaching interview with Scuttlebutt's Craig Lewick, World Sailing's Carlo Croce also says that sailing is one of six sports under review for the 2020 Games. It looks certain therefore that there will be changes in the sailing classes, something World Sailing, according to Croce, is hoping to keep to a minimum as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) looks for 'spectacular' events.

'I think in November we will be able to announce good news to the Council, but at the moment we’re still confidential because the IOC has not yet formally decided. Maybe kiteboard, maybe foiling boat… I don’t know. Perhaps an old hobby of mine – a long distance race with very simple and basic one design boats with no extreme equipment', Croce said.

The choice of a foiling boat, such as the Moth class, might be looked on favourably by Ireland as Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy, in the Laser Radial class, is also a keen foiling dinghy sailor. Annalise has already finished second in the Women's world Moth championships, a pioneering international foiling class with 15 boats sailing in Ireland.

'We decided to ask our members to vote for what we call the unlock vote, which meant we had to unlock the decision taken four years ago to keep the same Olympic events from the 2016 Games to the 2020 Games. We were pushed hard by the IOC to move forward to a more spectacular program, and they just give you – very quickly –  two figures: 10,500 athletes in Rio and in London. This is the number they don’t want to change. There will be five new sports in Tokyo and six current sports under review, not for pushing them out, but to look what they can do for improving, and sailing is amongst the six' said Croce.

Croce also told Scuttlebutt 'We could pick up one man and a girl and put them in an offshore boat… just a personal thought. I am completely convinced we’d find someone who can find provide the boats to the Olympics free of charge. It could also be a way for people competing in a dinghy class to also participate in the offshore race and compete for two medals, which our sport never had. That could be interesting'.

But nothing is decided. It’s not me who will decide; it will be the Council. Certainly there will be changes, but what I want to really say is we will do absolutely the minimum changes we can not to have people throwing away all of their boats and our member nations being in trouble. So the changes yes, but just the minimum we need to. Our member nations have to design a program of four years, so we need to be quick.

Read the full interview on Scuttlebutt here.

Annalise Murphy will be given a civic reception tomorrow in Dun Laoghaire. Details here.

Published in Olympic

World Sailing Information

World Sailing is the world governing body for the sport of sailing, officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

Founded in 1907, World Sailing's vision is for a world in which millions more people fall in love with sailing; inspired by the unique relationship between sport, technology and the forces of nature; we all work to protect the waters of the world.

World Sailing is made up of 144 Member National Authorities, the national governing bodies for sailing around the world and 117 World Sailing Class Associations.

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