John Casey checks back in from the first real foil-off between the FLying Phantom and his Nacra 20 FCS. His photo, and of course our title reference to one of the funniest shows of the 2000s.
If you’re having a light conversation with someone and they say, “Hey, you should come down to the Keys for a sail,” you meant yesterday. The sun was peering down on us, the wind was around 12 knots with low puffy clouds drifting over the shore and the water was about the same balmy temperature as the wind. It was absolutely pleasurable.
The real story of our day came courtesy of large clumps of sargasso lining up on their march to shore, just hanging out waiting for us. Yes, they play havoc with our daggerboard boats, but a unique and surprising thing happens when the FCS foils through the weeds; they slice right though them. What we thought was going to be the biggest hindrance on this flat water leg from Islamorada to Key Biscayne was actually helpful to us, as the slower boats had to clear their boards far more often. We called our day ‘mowing the lawn’.
The Nacra performed brilliantly as we foiled the entire upwind/close reach day except for a couple lulls and when we had to pinch up high to get over the sandbar protruding from Elliot Key. We finished in exactly four hours. The powerful sail plan definitely helped in the lighter conditions, as the curved board Nacra 20 Carbon arrived to the beach in second place 20 something minutes after us. It’s really all about sawing that mainsheet as well. My crew, Colin Page, played it like a tug-of-war anchorman all day. Sail trim is so important for the balance you need to stay smooth on the foils.
The tried-and-rock solid Nacra 20 crew of Steve Lohmeyer and Jay Sonnenklar are leading the biggest fleet of Nacra 20s.
For more action, check out the Florida 300 site, and stay tuned for my final report over the weekend.