WHAT IS IT?
The UFO is a simplistic modern hydrofoiling boat, that allows anyone to fly through the air, freeing the hull from draggy water. More stable than the International Moth -or even a child’s pram- with a simple rig, and a set of fully retractable hydrofoils, all for $11,500 USD the UFO makes flying attainable. Thousands less than it’s nearest competition. Built in the United States in high volume and quality control, the UFO maintains a one-design philosophy, creating close and exciting racing on foils!
FLY WITH THE UFO
- Designed and built in the USA
- $11,500 USD
- Compatible and rewarding to all skill levels
- Lightweight for easy maneuverability
- Solid, nearly dent-proof, hull
- Unique patented hull and rig designs
- Stable on and above the water
- Small footprint for carefree storage and shipping
- Takeoff from about 8knts of wind
- Fast, fun, easy to control foiling
FUN FOR ALL AGES
The wand system controlling the foils, which can be set to fly very high, very low (even ‘no fly mode’) and all points in between. This means you can progressively add challenges to your UFO experience as you feel ready for them, from ‘beginner mode’ all the way to ‘extreme mode’. Additionally, the highly tunable sail can be set up to provide only the amount of power that your body type needs, and no excess. This means that the UFO is accessible and fun for sailors of all sizes, ages and skill levels. Merely set up the boat for your skill level and body type and go play around.
The UFO is very broadly applicable and has flown payloads from 70 pounds -a tiny kid- to 270 pounds -a tall grown man and a teenage boy-. The foil package just needs power to climb. Ultra light sailors have been caught on camera flying in 5 knots of breeze and the baseline for 225 pound sailors to take off is 10 knots. 270 flies in 12 knots of breeze.
SETUP AND BREAKDOWN
While the boat can be left on shore with everything in place, but the sail down, that doesn’t mean the UFO isn’t easy to put together or take apart. Quite the opposite. Simplicity begets simplicity and the boat is a cinch to put together and take apart.
Being small is it’s own reward when it comes to handling the boat through all sailing experiences. When you start to really push yourself learning to foil, there are good odds you’ll manage to capsize it. The UFO is easy to right from capsizes and even full “turtle” inversions. This last part is critical, because when catamarans are too heavy to right from turtle the only option is to make the mast float. This has the unintended downside of making the boat very likely to blow away from you. The UFO is designed to stay right alongside you in the event you are separated from the boat. Additionally, the boat possesses an uncommon “park” mode in which it will hold station of its own accord, apparently indefinitely without external input of any kind. The full benefits of that upside have not begun to be fully exploited.
FOILING AT ALL POINT OF SAIL
The Fulcrum design team strictly adhered to the axion “if there’s a point of sail (say, upwind or downwind) that it can’t always foil on, you can’t call it a foiler”. The design team achieved their goal and the UFO is a fully flying boat on all points of sail, which drastically increases its fun-factor.
At what points of sail does the UFO foil at?
The UFO fully foils at all points of sail. Upwind, downwind and reaching. Additionally, you can set it to notfoil when you’re tired and it will do that as well, so you can get home easily. These two factors make the UFO uniquely good for learning to foil.
Who can fly the UFO?
Within reason, anyone.
UFO pilots have ranged from 8 years old to 72, from 90 pounds to 235. Young sailors do well sailing as pairs or with a middleweight to light adult. It’s rare that anyone on the fulcrum team conceives of a boat with a narrow niche in mind. Why bother? It’s a mistake in yacht design to design a boat for a narrow range of users, when for the most part people are diverse and the objective of one-design boats is to garner large fleets. That said, the boat is likely to be most satisfactory in all wind conditions in the hands of teens, small and medium men and all women. At the extreme low end of the weight range, sailors may find themselves overpowered and at the extreme high end, the wind speed required for takeoff is about two knots higher than average. UFOs have been sailed “two up” as well, though the above limits of weight range still apply to the sum of the two sailors weights.
What wind and waves can I fly a UFO in?
The UFO will sail in practically any wind condition. However, it’s important to remember that with all sailboats there are days that are great to sail in and days where you do something else.
While the UFO can at times with a skilled skipper take off in very low wind speeds, the baseline for reliable flight is around eight knots. Trying to squeeze enough power to fly out of too little wind is tiresome and in those circumstances, it’s best to do something else. In 8 knots and above, flying is magical and unforgettable. In under 8 knots, the UFO reverts to being a pleasant displacement catamaran and goes from being exciting and fast to relaxing and tactical. This is another benefit of being a catamaran.
Over the last six years the UFO has proven to be uniquely good at flying safely and consistently in very high windspeeds. In multi-class foiling regattas the UFO has proven to be the only foiler built to date that simply loves high windspeeds. In winds above 22 knots when other foiling boats make for shore, the UFO wants to keep playing. The upper wind limit is more a matter of taste and skill. UFOs have been sailed in 36 knots, but that requires a great deal of skill and focus. The UFO rig having shared DNA with a windsurf rig seems to play a part in the boat’s remarkable ability to get a kick out of big wind. Since the upper wind limit on the UFO is so much higher, this makes the number of optimal days to fly a UFO (if skilled in sailing one) higher per year than with any other production foiling boat.
Most chop and wave conditions present no issue for a UFO set for the days’ conditions. After all, powered hydrofoils were first developed by various leading Navy’s as a means of smoothly flying over challenging sea-states. Choking up the ride height helps the UFO fly smoothly through the bottom of the wave pattern, undeterred. Rolling seas present even less issue, as the UFO will ride along them just like any other. Extremely tight and tall chop can be very annoying, which is not peculiar to the UFO.
Waves do effect baseline windspeeds to achieve takeoff. Imagine getting a plane to take off on a bumpy runway. This is true for all hydrofoil boats. In choppy water, ten to twelve knots can be necessary to achieve fully easy takeoffs. Some UFO sailors use aggressive kinetic techniques to overcome this and take off in choppy water and low wind.
Will I fly my first time out?
Most people do,
but bear in mind that flying is a whole new experience and it takes some learning.
Conditions, setup and technique matter and if you use it incorrectly, you are likely to get some degree of incorrect results. That’s the challenge that the UFO is built to address. Over six years on the market and over 500 boats delivered, the UFO has proven to be the best and most reliable platform for ordinary sailors to reliably teach themselves foiling technique on.
What happens when I crash my UFO into something?
You’ll probably do some damage to it.
The UFO is built with durability as a core objective but it’s worth noting that the gulf between “Feather light under engineered ragged-edge high performance craft” and “literally indestructible” is extremely wide. The UFO represents neither of these extremes. Do not attempt your first flight inside a densely packed mooring field. Obstacles only make you better once you’ve mastered the basics.
How easy is it to rig a UFO?
Best in class, vs other foiling boats on the market. With that said, it’s not easier than doing nothing. Doing nothing is very easy! Putting a boat together is worthwhile but obviously involves effort.
The current cartop to launched speed record is roughly 15 minutes. Socket the mast together. Attach the boom and stays in one go. Step the rig. Flip the boat on its side, insert the foils, right the boat, hoist the sail and launch. Complexity is best avoided.
Leaving the UFO on a dock or a beach with the rig in and the foils simply in the “up” position, achieves an ease of daily use on par with any light beach cat. To go foiling all you need to do is hoist the sail with the halyard, clip the sail to the boom and attach the downhaul line and you’re ready to launch. This brings setup and breakdown to a matter of five minutes or less.
How do I launch and land a UFO?
Far far far more easily than any other foiling boat on the market.
Because the UFO is a very small catamaran, while floating the hulls float relatively deep in the water and create lateral resistance, like the hulls on a hobie 16 or hobie wave. This means that it can sail upwind without a daggerboard of any kind in the water. This is not the case with non-catamaran foilers. The rudder is outfitted with a friction brake and a down-halyard to allow its depth to vary and allow steering in shallow water. So from 16 inches of water and beyond, you can sail away from and back to shore reliably.
Because the UFO’s forward foil assembly is located in front of the mast, the UFO can tack and gybe while the forward foil is fully withdrawn from the water. This is unique. It allows the UFO to navigate reliably in the period between launching or landing and flying. The benefits for usability and safety cannot be overstated.
Once you’ve got to deep enough water, lower your foils fully and fly away!
That’s if you’re using a dolly.
If you aren’t using a dolly, the UFO has even more party tricks to show off. Since the foils withdraw to above the waterline of the hull, the hull can be beached or slid up onto a dock float or boat deck without any risk to damaging the foils. The UFO is a boat that’s eager to go sailing.
Can I easily cartop a UFO?
At this hull weight, the boat is very easy to put on top of a car, and its flat bottoms allow it to be strapped down hard with no drama. The other components of the boat collapse down to the point of easily fitting in a standard hatchback.
Where can I store my UFO?
Anywhere you can carry it to. Anywhere it fits.
Behind couches, under beds, under porches, in basements, inside larger boats, chained to apartment fire escapes, hanging in garages. Anywhere it can go that’s convenient for your lifestyle is a good place for it to go.
Why does X look like Y? Surely it would be better to make it like Z.
Just trust us.
If you’ve thought of it, we’ve weighed the pros and cons and its been included or excluded for good reason. Creating a boat that can be produced at an affordable price, for a wide range of sailors with a maximum quantity of accessible performance is an extremely hard target to hit. The UFO meets all of its objectives and does so by blatantly ignoring a few conventions and norms. You simply don’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.