Mark, Not really so alien anymore. Foiling is flooding into sailing faster than the switch to: Marconi rigs, fiberglass hulls, aluminum masts, mylar sails, spinnakers on cats, etc., etc. It is available on more and more boats and when the UFO comes out next year it will be the equivalent of the Laser for foiling due to its ease of use and low price. In ten years it (sail foiling) will be common.
Foiling is actually moving pretty slowly, as shown by the simple numbers. Apart from the fact that the first foilers were about 55 years ago and the Trifoiler was around 20+ years ago, the "modern" foilers have been around for about 15 years. There have been about 100 Flying Phantoms, around 700 Moths, a bunch of A Class and a few others sold in that time. Say 1400 boats - that's about as many new foilers as there have been new 420 dinghies in the same period, and far fewer than new RS Fevas. Formula 18s alone have sold over 700 boats in the same period, and a bunch of dinghies are more popular than the F18. Hell, something like 900 Beneteau 40.7s and a similar number of Lagoon 380s and Benny 36.7s have been sold during a similar period.
Compare that to the hundreds of thousands of windsurfers sold in a similar timeframe, the 30,000++ dinghies sold each year in the '60s, or the 1100 RS Aero dinghies sold in about two and a half years and we can see that foiling, while loads of fun, isn't really showing much sign of becoming a really popular part of the sport. That's fine - lots of small niches are fantastic. It's just a worry when so many people are hyping one small niche as if it's going to really help to revive the sport, especially when by implication they are denigrating the rest of sailing.
On a different note - when the UFO wasn't foiling, how fast was it? It's a cool idea, but from a quick look it's hard to see it being quick in light stuff, since once off the foils it is basically a very short cat.