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Is This the America’s Cup Trickle-Down?

In addition to doing a lot of Pacific Cup and other races to Hawaii with big boats, either fully crewed or doublehanded, Philippe Kahn of Santa Cruz has always enjoyed sailing small monohulls off his home waters of Santa Cruz and Hawaii. Based on his recent Facebook postings, and presumably in part because of the America’s Cup, he seems to have contracted a case of ‘Cat Fever’.

Philippe Kahn has gone Cat Crazy.

© Philippe Kahn

As you can see in this photo, he and crew Mark Christensen are foiling off the Santa Cruz Wharf in Kahn’s Motion X 20-ft carbon foiling cat. "We are now officially catamaran pilots," he wrote. "Once [the hulls are] out of the water, it’s just like flying. Magical. Everything gets quiet, accurate, weightless and incredibly fast!"

Looks like a wild ride!

© Philippe Kahn

As you can see, sailing a Motion X cat is not all foiling. There can be sailing upwind in big swells, too.


© Philippe Kahn

And as you can see in the third photo, small cats, foiling or not, are prone to flipping.

Foiling is one of the funny unintended consequences of the AC72s. The boats were not supposed to be able to foil, but the Kiwis figured out a way to do it and were quickly copied by the others. As Latitude has already reported, for a couple of grand you can now buy foils — no tools needed for installation — for a Laser and sail that little monohull above water. Has anybody tried that yet? We can only imagine how your son or daughter would feel about their Laser if they saw a young friend foil by them at twice the speed.

And foiling is not just picking up in sailing. As the incomparable Johnny Heineken demonstrated in last weekend’s West Coast Kitesailing Championship, foiling is the only way to go. The rest of the world will have to catch up.

But foiling kayaks? That’s right. Do a little search on Google and you’ll see foiling kayaks scream right past displacement ones. There are also videos of two-person pedal-powered foiling kayaks. Even a bicycle-powered SUP that gets up on foils. Like Gino Morrelli told Latitude at the St. Francis YC Big Boat Series, "From now on sailing will be divided into BF and AF, meaning before foiling and after foiling."

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Today is just two weeks from the start of the 20th Annual Baja Ha-Ha cruisers’ rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, with stops at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria.