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RS600FF - why float when you can fly?

by Andy Rice 3 Mar 2007 15:10 GMT

The RS600FF takes a great boat – the popular RS600 singlehander – and with the addition of some carbon/epoxy hydrofoils turns it into a flying machine capable of travelling at twice the speed of the wind.

After two years of development, drawing on his extensive experience building foiling International Moths, Weymouth hi-tech boatbuilder L Jenkins and his company Full Force Boats have produced a set of foils designed specifically for the RS600. The result is one of the most radical – and yet very sailable – boats in the world. “The idea for developing the RS600FF came out of speaking to all the sailors who rang me up about buying an International Moth but who were just too heavy for the boat,” explains Jenkins. “If you weigh much more than 75kg then you’re going to be too heavy to be competitive in the Moth. So this left a lot of disappointed people who wanted to go foiling but didn’t have anywhere to go.

“So we started developing the RS600 and seeing how it would convert to being used for foils, and I have to say Clive Everest [the original designer of the RS600] designed virtually the perfect boat for foiling, although he probably didn’t realise it at the time! Now with the RS600FF, we have a foiling boat that works for people weighing between 70 to 95kg, it’s one-design, and with the original RS600 reefable rig you can sail the boat a long way up the wind range.”

With around 350 RS600s in existence throughout the UK, Linton expects most sailors will probably want to buy a secondhand hull and convert it for hydrofoiling. This offers a very cost-effective option which will appeal to most people. However, boats can be supplied brand new from LDC Racing Sailboats and fitted with the RS600FF package.

Purchase of a RS600FF foiling package (£2500 inc VAT) will get you a carbon/epoxy centreboard, rudderblade, twist-grip tiller, rudder gantry and bow-wand mechanism. The package is designed to be easily self-fitted, and comes with printed instructions and a DVD explaining how the foiling mechanism works. Also included is a compulsory lesson in how to sail the boat. This will take place at Weymouth under the instruction of 2006 International Moth British Champion Sam Pascoe who has been the RS600FF test pilot during the boat’s development.

Foiling RS600 video: