Here’s a quick update from Fujin in the NYYC Multihull Regatta. It was an interesting day yesterday to say the least. We were again postponed for two hours at the dock. Again, the race committee did a good job finding a place to race where there was wind as we went north from Newport further into the bay. A northerly filled in shortly after we arrived at the racing area and quickly built to the higher teens by the time the race started.
Views from onboard.
We had a shorter windward-leeward type course this time around with a total distance of about nine miles. Our start was nearly identical to yesterday’s with us starting nearer the pin end with Gunboat 62 Elvis ahead and below, the only boat closer to the pin. The race can only be described as really good fun! I haven’t experienced anything quite like it. There’s something about sailing a 53-foot catamaran flying a hull going to weather at speeds approaching 16 knots, with a 62-foot cat doing the same thing less than a boat length away.
It was again a very tight race with Fujin and Elvis leading the way for the rest of the fleet. We are very closely matched in boat speed and swapped places a couple of times during the race. At these speeds laylines and mark roundings came quickly and we had to be on our toes and thinking ahead to the next maneuver. Our top speed on the second run was 26 knots! Fujin barely hung on to correct over Elvis by a mere 15 seconds.
The race committee wisely chose to call it a day as strong thunder storms were heading our way. On the hour-long motor back to the dock it rained hard with plenty of lighting and thunder. Evidently Elvis has rum on tap and they were kind enough to share, by mixing some in a 2-liter bottle with a bit of coke then the bottle over to us while under way. Little did they know that we were staying close to them on the assumption that any lighting would hit their taller mast not ours!
The forecast is for rain near the starting time, but the breeze should be blowing enough to allow for an on time start. Boat call is 0900 and it’s 0825 now. Time to wrap it up.
Ed. Note: Thanks again Brad. Keep it going PNWers! Regatta web site here. Results so far are lovely.
We are very lucky to get some reports from Brad Baker onboard Greg Slyngstad’s Fujin in the NYYC Multihull Regatta. Designer Paul Bieker’s post on the design has been one of the most popular pieces on sailing.com in recent weeks, and with good reason. A lot of thought has gone into this design that serves as both a cruiser and impressive racer, and Bieker gives us some keen insight. But back to the matters at hand, Brad is a renown navigator but a newbie to catamarans. We’re counting on the Northwest crew no doubt to be in the thick of things. Here’s Brad’s report from the start of day 2:
2017 NYYC Multihull Regatta
The first day of sailing is now finished, at the 2017 IRC East Coast Championships and 2017 NYYC Multihull Regatta. I’m aboard Fujin a Paul Bieker designed 53 foot “cruising” catamaran. Yeah, right, “cruising!” It’s a cruising cat if you like to go upwind flying a hull at 14 knots with boat speeds at over 20 knots. We are racing against 6 Gunboat cats and a new HH 66 cat.
My wife PJ and I arrived late on Monday. Tuesday was a practice day and a big eye opener as to what it is like to sail on a very fast catamaran. Designer Paul Bieker knows all about designing fast boats with a long succession of performance oriented revolutionary racer cruising monohulls. Fujin is Paul’s first shot at a catamaran, and as far as I can tell he hit a home run! To better understand Paul’s genius, his second catamaran design was the Americas Cup 50 for Oracle.
It’s currently the second day of racing. We are currently postponed and at the dock. A perfect time to fire off a race update! Yesterday’s forecast was for light to moderate winds out of the S to SW, with a reasonable chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. The reality was heavy fog in the morning with very little wind. The race ended up being postponed for about three hours. The NYYC race committee did a nice job finding wind on the bay. Though we shared a starting line with the IRC fleet our race, we sailed different courses, with the IRC boats doing shorter buoy races while the multis sailed a “Navigator’s Race” which turned out to be a race around Prudence Island. The course length was about 17 NM.
It was an upwind start in about 14 knots of breeze with higher gusts. It was impressive to see 7 other big powerful and very fast cats on the start line. We started nearer the pin with a highly modified Gunboat 62 named Elvis winning the pin just below us. My job was main trimmer. All I can say is thank goodness for electric winches. The loads on the powered up cats are surprisingly high. Fujin is the smallest of the catamarans at 53 feet. The size range in the fleet is 53’ up to 66’. Fujin might be the smallest, but she is one of the fastest, being nearly half the weight of the Gunboats and a radically different design, which includes C shaped foils. The foils don’t completely lift the boat out of the water, but they do provide lift and reduce the wetted surface. In 14 knots of wind we were achieving 14 knots of boatspeed upwind. The race quickly turned into a match race between Elvis and Fujin, with Elvis leading around the first mark on the south side of Prudence Island.
Fujin is sailing with a very talented all Pacific NW crew, with the bonus of having her designer Paul Bieker on board along with his son Leo. We work the boat hard and shook out the first race jitters. About 1/3 of the way around the island we managed to pass Elvis going downwind on a shift and legged out on a short reaching leg around the top. Our top speed was 22 knots. Keep in mind I don’t think the wind speed exceeded 16 knots. Though the wind got shifty at the end, we managed to hang on and stay ahead of Elvis to save our time for the win. The wind and sun held for the entire race, which took us maybe an hour and a half to complete. The intention was to complete two races, but with the late start the committee decided to call it a day. I learned a lot on that first race, but have a ways to go. These fast cats are a different animal, but super fun!
After racing, the multi crews gathered at the New York Yacht Club Newport outstation. Cognizant of dress codes I made sure to wear a collared shirt and did not wear jeans. The Fujin crews rubbed shoulders with the likes of Cam Lewis and Nigel Irens. Not to be out done, we had our own rock star yacht designer Paul Bieker along with his son Leo.
The forecast for today is for light winds from the south in the morning. A cold front is forecast to make it’s way south probably crossing the race course sometime between 1300 and 1400. The wind should make a switch to the North and the temp will drop 10 to 15 degrees. Oh, and there might be strong thunderstorm activity. Should be interesting!
Update, the AP flag has been lowered, game on!
Ed. Note: Brad Baker is an owner at Swiftsure Yachts in Seattle. Hopefully we can hear more about this regatta and, fingers crossed, our PNW crew can make it’s mark.
The stories, videos and photos of the Paul Bieker-designed catamaran Fujin keep flying across my computer screen. It absolutely screams for attention! Paul Bieker designed Fujin, and below provides some very keen insight into his process (plus some very cool flow dynamics images!) We’re honored that Paul shares it.
Despite Fujin’s current residence in the Caribbean, it’s really a Pacific Northwest effort. Owner Greg Slyngstad is well known here for his racing campaigns. And a regular path has been beaten to the Caribbean to get Fujin flying. Jonathan and Charlie McKee, Erik Bentzen, Brian Huse, Scott Smith, Jack Christiansen and Fritz Lanzinger have all been onboard at one time or another.
(Photos have been pulled from Facebook and other sites)
It should be no surprise that there’s been plenty of success on the racecourse. She won the Round the Rock race at the St. Thomas International Regatta and placed a close second in the regatta itself. She tied for first in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta’s Offshore Multihull Class. Unfortunately a slow Caribbean 600 and flight schedules forced Fujin to retire 120 miles from the finish.
We’d love to get some reports from onboard, but in the meantime let’s hear from Bieker, who took time from his somewhat-more-than-full-time responsibilities as Lead Design Engineer with Oracle Racing. Here’s Paul:
Greg came to us after the last America’s Cup asking for a cruising/racing catamaran for sailing in the Caribbean.
We designed the boat with what I think are pretty innovative bow shapes partially inspired by the shapes I saw sailing in Polynesia as a teenager and partially inspired by what I have learned about hull shapes in the 14’s. The lower bow is pretty full and chined to produce more lift and to reduce wetted surface when going fast. We kept the chine angle in profile fairly steep to help insure that it has a positive angle relative to the waterline when trimmed bow down into a moderately big wave (I have found you can “trip” over chines if they are too flat in profile). We used one of our Americas Cup contacts, Len Imas to do the computational fluid mechanics to optimize the hull shape for a range of speeds and trimming moments. The upper bow and freeboard are cut away as much as possible to reduce windage and weight. We gave the rudders horizontal wings to help control pitching. The boat has been sailed with and without them and they seem really effective in settling out the trim of the yacht.
Most of these performance cruising cats are compromised by the weight and windage of full standing room cabin between the hulls. The arrangement of Fujin uses a mid wet deck “pod” to provide headroom for a central low profile community space where the galley, settee and navigation station are located. The private spaces are in the hulls with each hull having a large double berth and head.
We employed another friend from our Americas Cup work, Steven Roberts to do the platform and rig structural design. His structure for Fujin is a step above other boats of the type and hence Fujin is significantly lighter. She is entirely carbon/epoxy/foam structure. The builders, Gold Coast Yachts, did a great job building the boat to the structural specifications and she has proven to be structurally sound.
Now, America’s Cup stuff may have dominated Bieker’s energies for a long time, but I personally feel that his greatest efforts have been in creating innovative dual purpose yachts. Fujin is obviously one, but I’d say Jonathan McKee’s Darkstar is certainly another and my personal favorite is Longboard. Anybody looking for a truly innovative, reliable and structurally sound design would do well to talk to Bieker.
Update: Jack Christiansen of North Sails Seattle, one of the NW luminaries aboard Fujin, just shared some videos: