Loftsails have introduced a well developed foiling sail to their range, the Skyscape. We get the lowdown on their foil program from test pilot Fernando Martínez del Cerro Delgado and designer Monty Spindler.
Words Fernando Martínez del Cerro Delgado & Monty Spindler // Photos Bogusz Trepka
WS: What makes a good foil sail?
MS: Soft, effective pumping for low winds, once up on the foil, a light, easy feeling. For performance foil racing there are other parameters. Slalom windsurfing is better suited to rigs that lift more compared to windfoil sails as foils LIFT! Greater rig downforce allows better control of the foil.
FD: There’s a difference between a sail for ‘first flights’ and a sail for performance or advanced foiling. To get started, I strongly recommend going for a wave or no-cam freeride sail, as it will be the easiest to depower and to change tack while attempting ‘first flights’.
Wave sails are also stronger and this is important, as you will eventually end up with your knees on top of the sail. When you move on and look for some extra performance, the sail should be stable similar to a slalom sail, to be able to reach high speeds, but not so stiff as there is not so much friction when going through chop on a foil. Also being softer will help pumping to get planing in lighter winds.
WS: What design changes do you make for a foil sail and what is their purpose/effect?
MS: Certain design parameters are modified, for example mast curve reduction helps soften the rig for pumping.
FD: Less battens makes it softer and lighter and a less open leech will keep the nose down.
WS: Can you use a foil sail for normal sailing and vice-versa a normal sail for foiling?
FD: Both will work. The foil sail will work nicely for light wind freeride, you might need some trim adjustments like a higher boom, but it would be a good freeride sail. A normal sail works great for foiling as well, I would recommend less downhaul and maybe a bit more outhaul tension for foiling than when normal windsurfing.
WS: What are your thoughts on foiling in general?
MS: Love it!
FD: I think it will keep developing, especially in terms off accessibility. It will perform better but it will also become easier. That will make more and more people jump into windfoiling. You can see now people freestyling, surfing and looping with foils. For me personally it is amazing to see, but I don’t feel like it will be the big side of it. For lakes or light wind areas it has a lot of potential. In the racing side, I look forward to a specific foil class to go and fly in all kinds of conditions. These new goals make me feel like a kid, learning windsurfing from the beginning once more and I love it.
WS: What do you see as the future of foil sail design, being able to use smaller rigs in less wind or bigger sails in more wind?
MS: As we learn foiling I think most of us go mostly across the wind, like slalom sailing. Foils are huge, and they lift, so it appears sail sizes are around 1-2 m2 less for windfoiling compared to windsurfing. For foilers who do not race, the future is smaller rigs in less wind.
With time, it’s likely we will go for larger sails in foil racing, sailing more upwind and downwind while making reaching courses less comfortable. It seems foil racing might be like Formula – big sizes, only upwind/downwind courses (big sizes needed for deep downwind courses). It seems the PWA foil courses will be upwind starts (not reaching starts). So for those who foil race, the future is bigger sails in more wind.
FD: We started in Loftsails with the Skyscape by developing a sail that is an advanced freeride sail, but it can perform as good or better than a racing sail upwind and downwind. I plan to compete in the Costa Brava PWA or at the Formula Foil Worlds with my big 9.4 Racing Blade in light winds and move from that to the Skyscape 7.6 when it’s over 20 and up to 30 knots.
I believe these kind of sails are the most in demand right now, but probably the brands will work hard on the highest performance foil sail in order to get their sails to win the competitions and get the best promotion in this new style of windsurfing. So my bet is for high performance 8.0 and 9.5 sails.
Loftsails foil-specialized Skyscape 2018 and 2019 designs are 5 batten 3 cam in sizes 5.8 6.4 7.0 7.6. RRP for 2018 £699 – £769
For 2019 the Skyscape range is expanded to include the new Skyblade 8.6 and 9.4 (7 batten 4 cam) foil racing design.
“ We started in Loftsails with the Skyscape by developing a sail that is an advanced freeride sail, but it can perform as good or better than a racing sail upwind and downwind. ”