The sea trials of DNA's new TF10 foiling trimaran didn't quite go according to plan off the coast of Spain although there was plenty of performance
Sea trials are designed to push a new boat to the limits and this certainly was the case for the new TF10 foiling trimaran.
The multihull, which has been built by the Dutch boatyard, DNA Performance Sailing, suffered a dismasting during testing off Barcelona in northerly breezes.
The TF10 was pushing past 25 knots in quiet, flat water when the high-modulus carbon fibre mast suddenly crumpled to the deck, breaking in parts on the way down.
Multiple catamaran racing world champion and DNA adviser Mischa Heemskerk, who was helming at the time, said he was surprised to see the mast let go in such light air.
“It seems we may be quite a bit faster than the simulations predicted, which means we could be developing too much power for the mast design,” said the Dutch racer, who stressed that breakages have been an important part of the development of all foiling boats – especially the big ones.
“Foiling in big yachts has only been possible for a few short years, so sea and sail trials are an extremely important tool to find the weak links in these cutting-edge designs,” he added.
Heemskerk said the yacht’s designers and builders are already investigating the breakage to determine what modifications are needed before the production run gets fully underway, and they’re confident the fix isn’t complicated.
“The silver lining here is that we had a great month of sailing with a respectable showing for the (European) Yacht of the Year competition, we learned a ton about the boat, and aside from the mast and a couple of insignificant bits and pieces, the boat performed flawlessly,” he stressed.
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According to DNA, the TF10 will be “the first sailing boat in history designed from the ground up to provide an exhilarating yet unintimidating flying experience to sailors of all skill levels”.
The trimaran is designed to replicate the performance of foiling America’s Cup boats, and uses Z-Foil Technology and electronic foil control.
It has been designed by Southern California-based Morrelli & Melvin, the same team behind both the foiling multihull – Team New Zealand’s AC72 Aotearoa.
At 36-foot long, the TF10 is designed to sail up to three times the wind speed in lighter air, reaching 25-30 knots in stiffer breeze.
It has been commissioned by a group of Newport, Rhode Island-based sailing enthusiasts.
The owner of hull #1, Dr Malcolm Gefer, said the group wants to create a new racing class with “state-of-the-art performance but without the kind of “arms race” and cost escalation from which most grand prix sailing classes suffer”.
“As a group, we knew we wanted something that pushed the boundaries of what is possible in foiling boat design, and it looks like the designers and builders have created something completely unique and exceptional,” he said.
The new TF10 is expected to be on the racing circuit before the end of the winter.