Take flight on home soil this summer


With many of us making the most of opportunities a little closer to home this summer, there couldn�t be a better time to get back out on the water and perhaps even try something new.

The last few months have seen many of us with additional time on our hands. For some, it�s been a great opportunity to keep fit or learn a new skill, for others a chance to rediscover forgotten hobbies.

If you�re nodding at the above, but haven�t quite found your �new opportunity� yet, look no further and join the foiling revolution!

�Foiling has certainly taken the industry by storm, but for many it can still seem out of reach and daunting, especially when watching the incredible craft sailed at the America�s Cup, Sail GP or the foiling Moth fleet in action!� says Amanda Van Santen, Chief Instructor of the RYA�s Dinghy and Windsurfing training schemes.

�You would be forgiven for thinking this if we were in the early years of foiling conception, but actually it�s never been more accessible.

�The advances in foiling equipment and adaptations are truly incredible, placing the experience of taking flight into the hands of many everyday sailors, windsurfers and opportunists. You only need to go down to your local beach or water to see the plethora of equipment flying!�

How to get started

We spoke to RYA Coach Assessor and foiling expert, Shaun Priestley to find out more about where to begin�

Conditions and kit

�Be sure to consider the conditions and equipment before aiming to take your first flights,� explains Shaun. �10-12 knots of steady wind on flat water is the dream. If you are used to sailing performance boats then starting out on a Waszp or Moth should be fine.

�However, if you want to ease yourself into foiling, consider starting in a boat which is stable in displacement mode, such as an Aero or Laser with adaptive foils, or foiling ready boats like the F101, Skeeta or Nikki. This will ensure you don�t use all of your energy on swimming after a capsized boat! Instead you can channel that energy into developing a feel for the new techniques you�ll need to lift the boat out of the water.�

�There are an increasing number of boats coming into the market and being used by RYA training centres, so chat to the instructor and see what might be best.

Hone your technique

�Once the boat is set up correctly, technique is key� says Shaun. �It�s a technique you might not be familiar with which is why a little tuition might make all the difference.�

Foiling was introduced to the RYA�s sailing and windsurfing schemes last year, adding a new exciting element for sailors to enjoy. The RYA Sail Foiling courses are all about getting on the water, with an instructor that�s specifically trained to give you just the right amount of background theory for each stage of your progression; First Flights, Sustained Flights and Performance Flights.

Recommended reading

The�RYA Foiling�(G110) book outlines the key skills required for both windfoiling and sailfoiling. The official supporting text to the RYA foiling courses, the book outlines all the key skills required to take flight, covering everything from equipment and set up, to launching and landing. There�s also some incredibly useful information to help finesse tacking and gybing.

Have fun!

�Foiling is fast and exciting,� adds Shaun. �It adds a new and exhilarating element for those that might be a little bit less interested in conventional dinghy sailing.�

Best of all, it�s more achievable than you think, with most people surprised at how quickly they can get up on the foils.

Shaun�s top tips for take off

  1. Point of sail � your point of sail may differ, but ensure it is a reach of some kind. Usually slightly above or below a beam reach is best as this will create the speed needed to get the main foil working.
  2. Boat balance (heel) � you will need windward heel to increase the righting moment and ensure the foils are working in your favour.
  3. Mainsheet � continuous trimming of the sheet will ensure that you can trim to your new apparent wind angle AND control the balance of the boat.

Tune in�

To help you make the most of your time on the water, we�ve launched an exciting new mini-series of videos aimed at both aspiring and improving foilers.

The six-week series hosted by Shaun and RYA Windsurfing Trainer and fellow foiling expert, Sam Ross, will cover both sail foiling and wind foiling. Each video will introduce and explain the techniques needed to get started and fine tune your foiling finesse. From first flights to sustained flights, even mastering those foiling gybes.

�Both Sam and Shaun have played an integral part in the inclusion of foiling with the RYA training schemes, as well as boasting years of experience and expertise,� continued Amanda.

�We hope the videos will highlight just how accessible and enjoyable foiling can be and would encourage anyone interested in giving it a go to contact their local centre and book onto a course.�The video series kicked off with an introduction to sail foiling first flights last Friday (31 July) - catch up here. A new video will be released on the RYA YouTube channel each Friday at 11am.

Make sure to join us for the next edition of RYA InBrief as we hear from Sam Ross about the wind foiling videos and his top tips for taking flight.

For more information about the RYA foiling courses, please visit www.rya.org.uk/go/SailFoil or visit www.rya.org.uk/go/WheresMyNearest to find a course near you