This relates to our own experience with Southeast Asia’s first Nacra 20 One Design… First of all this boat rocks! But it rocks in a very nice way, coming from a quite a few years on lightweight F16’s initially I was a bit worried about sailing something that is close to 200 kgs, but on water she’s got such a nice motion through the water that its a real joy. It’s not the frantic energy that the F16’s have but is more of a smooth transition as the speed winds up. And wind up it does!
We’re in the middle of our transition period so winds at this time of the year can be a bit well, fickle. We had a pop in about 5 – 8 knots of breeze and the Nauteek Tactical Electronics showed 15 knots – with the kite up and that was right out of the box.
A few days later we’d increased the mast rake some and the speed had jumped into the 16’s… clearly there’s a lot more to come in terms of boat and wind speeds!
Visually she’s a big boat and almost 18 inches acorss the widest part of the hull (at the main beam). She looks squat but I guess if the designer had vertically stacked the same amount of hull volume, she’d be really hard to climb onto after a capsize.
The nice design aspect of having such a long hull is, the overhang behind the rear beam. This is really long. Whereas the F16 is truncated, the 20 has ample space down the back for two grown men to trapeze from. The other advantage of this is that with so much space here the transom can be made smaller. This is a good thing when you’re hard pressed downwind as it allows the crew to sink the transoms down using body weight. That in turn gets the nose up and consequently, gets the speed up as well!
The foils are the high-aspect variety and because she’s a One Design, they can be made in Carbon. Expensive yes, but stiff and light as well. The 20 balances real well on her foils and helming is the two-finger variety of which we (F16 sailors) have become so accustomed too. I’d say this was one of my biggest surprises as by looking at the boat and her size, you’d think all the loadings would go up. Thank goodness there’s a good balance – driving upwind with 2 on the wire is an effortless affair and the same downwind. In fact, whereas my F16 tends to get a little lee-helm with the spinnaker up, the 20 doesn’t. Then again Nacras cunning rake adjuster screw allows anyone to dial the rudder feel right into the exact position – way NICE!
The daggerboards are long enough to necessitate being pulled up going downhill plus the loadings get huge once your two-on-the-wire!
But the really nice aspect of the 20 is, that huge trampoline! It’s so easy to take 3 or even 4 people out for a blast around the bay! That’s something we haven’t been able to do for a long time. We have high hopes that the 20 will inspire a bit more ‘adventure’ sailing. It will crank out high average speeds with ease which makes covering distance a relative breeze. You can throw on a Tramp Bag and carry enough gear for a weekend without fear of overloading.
The bow is rather flared by comparison to some of the modern bows but the first time you punch it into a wave you’ll understand why? To blasts the water out and away from the hull rather than the ‘potatoe peelers’ that throw it straight up! Remember this boat was designed for races like the Tybee 500 which inspires teams like Velocity Sailing to take part time and again.
With a huge ability to carry weight (minimum onboard is 180 kgs) don’t be surprised to see our local variety sprout 3 trapeze! Awesome machine… it’s going to be a great racing season.