Sailing The F-22 - My First Impressions
After leaving the Annapolis Boat Show I went up to Maine to sail on Sam Ballard's recently launched F-22. This can be a nervous time for any designer, as looking at a newly launched boat is a little like an actor first watching his own performance on film - in hindsight one could always do it better.
However, any nervousness was soon laid to rest, as while there was still some setup and finishing work to do, it really was a dream to sail and handle. Even though towing a dinghy, it moved effortlessly. The proportions looked just right, it trimmed perfectly, and I could not find anything significant that needed change or improvement, a rare event indeed.
The new third generation beams are obviously very high above the waves, and shaped perfectly to knock down any spray, while their flat tops made them very easy and safe to walk on, and also comfortable to sit on. The new floats looked very big at the end of the beams, and the boat felt very stable, almost like an F-31.
The new Beam Compression Pads - accessible and very easy to adjust when required
A key improvement to the beams was to move the Compression Pads up to the beam tops, around the beam bolt areas, which does make it very easy to see or feel any slight movement, as was expected. This makes them a breeze to adjust, even while sailing, and one can then get them just about perfect, so as to eliminate the odd creak that can come from this area. Also makes the structure stronger/lighter, by feeding the compression loads into the main hull structure via a more efficient load path
Sam Ballard with 'yours truly' steering.
The boomless main worked great, as did the daggerboard rudder and kickup centerboard, while the cabin is very very roomy with a more open look and feel. Everything looked, felt, and worked as intended or even better, so I was extremely pleased.
The cockpit area, with owner Sam Ballard and builder Jim Shula (behind mainsail)
Sam is an ex-monohull owner and is delighted. He still can't believe how well and fast it sails compared to his old mono. Based on how this untuned F-22 sailed, the F-22R is going to be a real flier!
There were many others thinking the same, the Ijsselmeer was covered with boats, monos of course. And we passed them all, even the big ones. It looked like they were anchored with sails up. But we were going with 4 knots, only with main and jib (a screacher will be mounted next year).
Slipping, unstepping the mast and folding was easy. We will store OPTIMUM for winter now and have a rest from building and sailing until next May.