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All the talk on the Blade, hype or actual #57925
09/24/05 05:08 PM
09/24/05 05:08 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
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waynemarlow Offline OP
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waynemarlow  Offline OP
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It seems that there is an awful lot of talk about the Blade and yet there seems little evidence of just how good it is, has it been hyped up by the Forum or is it just a good bar story ? I wonder whether all the talk is holding back some from purchasing what are undoubtedly good F16 boats such as the Taipan and the Stealth.

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Re: All the talk on the Blade, hype or actual [Re: waynemarlow] #57926
09/25/05 02:37 AM
09/25/05 02:37 AM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 9,582
North-West Europe
Wouter Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Wouter  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 9,582
North-West Europe


We have only a handful of Blades racing at this time with halve of them in the southern hemisphere (their season is only starting). But still Matt/Gina are leading the endureance series http://www.1design.net/scoring/endurance05.htm
and have (I believe) 2 event wins under their belts while racing Jennifer Lindsay/Kelly Gray on their Taipans. Of course the last crew won the alter cup qualifiers for the Alter cup race of 2005. So they are a good benchmark.

I think a good argument can be held about how good the achieved results thus far were. Afterall, it is a new boat and any crew will take at least 1 season to get the boat fully tuned out. Also Gina started from zero with respect to handling the spinnaker. Their is a learning curve involved with sailing a new boat (design)

I will state first that I personally have sailed the Blade for only an extremely short while so I'm not able to compare it properly to both the Taipan 4.9 , Taipan F16 and Stealth F16 which I all sailed and raced for a considerable time. At at least more than 5 hours during actually serious racing.

I can tell you however what the guys who took a demo on the Blade are telling me. This includes current Taipan 4.9 owners who are now selling their boats to buy an Blade. We have 3 of these now and a 4th on the bench; 3 Taipan 4.9 and 1 Taipan F16 (the bench guy) owners. 2 of these are active racers and 2 are mostly recreational sailors. This in itself does suggest something as in my personal opinion the Taipan is a pretty high benchmark. You don't just out perform it.

In addition to that we have reports by independent sailors like Tim Bohan which can be found at :

Tim Bohans Blade F16 report

Overhere I have gotten (verbal) reports from people I personally trust very much. Both of the them know the Taipan design, one of them owns a Taipan 4.9 now and the other one knows my Taipan F16 upgraded version. Note that the Taipan F16 is an step upward from the Taipan 4.9 . Both of them came off the Blade after a demo sail with a mind to get one themselfs. Believe me when I say that this is a hard crowd to please.

The general theme in the reports is that the Blade has a better feel of control and that it feels "slippery" throught the water. All say that the feeling of sitting on the water is so different from sitting in the water as with other boats. Also the steering seems to attract many comments. The boat seems to tack very well. The rudders adn hullshape allows it to turn very rapidly and very accurately.

In the way of performance it feels and it is reported to be at least as fast as the Taipan. I personally sailed along side one for about 30 minutes while sailing my own Taipan F16 (with which I did score a few good results this year in races) and found the Blade to be at least as fast as my own boat while the Blade was sailed without a season of tuning under its belt and with a crew that had never sailed together before. Similar comments are coming out of singapore (former Taipan owners) and Australia.

I can go on and on but to many of us it is now quite clear that the Blade F16 is far more than a bar story or a hype design. The bloody things truly appears to be that good.

With respect to the other boats; The stealth F16 and the Taipans I can say the following. Last winter there was a group overhere in the Netherlands of 4 sailors wanting to buy 4 Taipan F16's in one group package. Were they serious ? Well 1 of this group now owns a Blade F16 now, a second is about to order one and a 3rd of that group is seriously considering switching to the Blade F16 as well. That is how serious they were back then. Why didn't they all buy Taipan F16's, because the person negociating the deal for the AHPC side handled the deal like a right amateur and blew it. Despite repeated warnings.

With respect to the Stealth F16, a boat that impressed me personally, I can only say. Both Taipan deals and Blades deals were made after extensively showing the boat and getting people to take demo sails. This is also the way the Stealth is selling in the UK. However overhere in the Netherlands, the Stealth remains a relatively unknown boat. Most sailors can recognize the Taipans and Blades by now because of the efforts by the respective builders and owners. Stealth at this time simply has some catching up to do. Especially Blades internet presence and promo efforts were at a significantly higher level than those of the others. And my personal opinion with regard to the Stealth is that they should really focus on the biggest strong point of the Stealth. A really inexpensive entry into the F16 class with good performance. I really see this boat as having an advantage over the others in getting to the recreational sailors and recreational racers. Simply because you get so much bang for the buck. The other boats are noticeable more expensive and must justify such higher cost price by being very refined and having excellent feel while sailing. That is a rather tall order.

A 3rd argument for all the attention for the Blade F16 is that it is just such a good looking boat. I noticed it when my Taipan F16 was right next to Jaaps Blade F16 after we compared both boats to eachother on the water. People would walk up to us and glance at my boat only to continue to really drool over the Blade F16. Our experience overhere has been the same everywhere. It was just like that at the Westland Cup event in July and I hear rumours about the same thing happening at the Round Tiengemeenten of last weekend. Both the Taipan and Stealth don't have in such amounts what the Blade has in that respect.

It is quite clear that Blade will make it overhere in Europe. The boat is selling itself. A rare talent.

With respect to the other makes and I'm thoroughly honest here :

AHPC needs to get on with their Capricorn F16 designing or fully focus on the Taipan F16; both of which are one noticeable step up from the standard Taipan 4.9. The standard Taipan 4.9 is over with respect to USA, Europe and Asia. There is no kind way of expressing this. The Taipan design needs to move with the times and the current Standard Taipan 4.9 class rules are preventing this by serious limiting the size of the squaretops, disallowing selftackers and forbidding spinnakers. In addition AHPC needs to start a comprehensive promo campaign for their F16 boat. If they don't do that then they will loose the US, EU and Asian markets to the Blade F16 design.

Stealth will do best to just hunt down the current H16 and Dart 18 sailors, especially the younger sailors and actively offer demo rides to them. It is just a great entry boat. Their promo campaign should focus to a large extend on the low asking price for a very respectable preformance level. Something that is much better than any other boat out there especially the H16's (which are more expensive!). Just have people experience the thrill of the boat and don't try to compete with the Blade F16 by pictures and video alone. The Blade F16 is considered by all to be alot more photogenic so don't compete with that boat on its strong point (pictures etc). Just sail hard and often and take people along and then mention that they can have that boat for several thousant Euro's less than the next F16 design. That will work. Stealth still needs to make a name for herself in mainland Europe and you can only do that by doing plenty of demo's.

Also promo material like the new stealth promo video are great in getting people to talk about other designs then the Blade F16. As we have seen just recently on this forum. Maybe I need to warn everybody else out there that the Blade guys are also alot more marketing savy then most of us. In addition to the fact that the Blade F16 is a very good boat. A lethal combination if there ever is one. I've seen the new Blade design webpage and boy, you don't get better in the "looks" department than that.

Maybe we all need to realize that F16 is a formula class and that that means that you will have to compete with other builders and their marketeers to win the available buyers.

It is race !

Wouter





Wouter Hijink
Formula 16 NED 243 (one-off; homebuild)
The Netherlands
Re: All the talk on the Blade, hype or actual [Re: Wouter] #57927
09/25/05 02:43 AM
09/25/05 02:43 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 29
Netherlands
Marc Woudenberg Offline
newbie
Marc Woudenberg  Offline
newbie

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 29
Netherlands
Well summed up.


Marc Woudenberg
T49/F16 Ned302
Re: All the talk on the Blade, hype or actual [Re: Marc Woudenberg] #57928
09/25/05 08:08 AM
09/25/05 08:08 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 86
Netherlands
sjon Offline
journeyman
sjon  Offline
journeyman

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 86
Netherlands
I am a Blade owner. Due to personal circumstances I only sailed a few times on it. But I agree on everything Wouter wrote down. Last years I sailed Auscats Mk4 and Mk5. I must say that the Blade reminds me on the Mk5. The big difference with the Blade and other V-shaped hulls is that you have the impression that you are gliding over the waves with very less drag. A V-shaped hull like the Taipan or Auscat Mk4 feels more like ploughing through the waves and having more drag from the water.
I have sailed a short time next to the Taipan F16 of Wouter. Our rudders were not parallel at all (had no time spent on tuning yet)and were causing severe drag as I saw in the water. Even with the handbrakes on the boat was faster than the Taipan. It is about the same difference as the new "Flyer" inspired A-Cats and the older V-shaped concepts. There is no doubt that the newer hull shapes are faster and better.
I can only say that sailing the Blade is a lot of fun, it is a fast boat with very nice behaviour, also in the North Sea waves. I can tell you that I am looking forward to the 2006 saison with great expectations. I sails just like a fast A-cat but with the spi as a bonus.

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Re: All the talk on the Blade, hype or actual [Re: sjon] #57929
09/25/05 12:32 PM
09/25/05 12:32 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
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waynemarlow Offline OP
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waynemarlow  Offline OP
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So Wouter are you sort of hinting that 95% of F16 ( or potential ) sailors ie those who are recreational or recreational racers should buy a Stealth and spend the savings over a Blade of a few thousand Euros on actual sailing holidays and sailing time, which would enable them to beat hands down any better boat performance ( still not proved against the Stealth's )of the Blade due to the better boat handling of the crew.

Re: All the talk on the Blade, hype or actual [Re: waynemarlow] #57930
09/25/05 02:28 PM
09/25/05 02:28 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 9,582
North-West Europe
Wouter Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Wouter  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 9,582
North-West Europe

I think that to a large extent I'm indeed saying that.

I found out many many times that pure sailing skill is ten times more important that the downright performance of the boat itself.

There is no "spend alot of money and go to head of the fleet way". Actual time on the water and lots of training are what makes a crew win or loose.

Just today I talked to a rather good skipper at my club. Last year he would regulary beat our club champion, this year he doesn't. His explanation :"I simply haven't put in the same amount of time as I have done last year." We talked some more about our racing the last weekend and I mentioned that his first race was mediocre while the second race was alot better. I asked what he were the causes of that change. His first reply :"First race not going too well was because of me personally, I wasn't making good calls or concentrating enough on what needed to be done". Second and third reasons he named was some stuff on the boat like a loose rudderblade and 15 liters of water in one hull (he sprung a leak).

My first thought was :"Wow, this guy not only showed that straightening his head out was seriously improving his result despite the mishaps on his boat, but he also actually mentioned it as the first and biggest reason for not doing well. He could have easily hid behind the loose rudder and 15 liters of water.


But I'm side tracking here.

Back to topic. So yes indeed spending time on the water and doing a significant amount of training and discussing methods and tactics with your crew is by far the most important factor in getting good results. Boat design and design related boat speed are just the remaining 5 %. So with this basic principle in our minds I say : by a reasonably good boat (New or Second-hand) and concentrate on training. With enough time on the water you WILL regulary finish near the top of the score board. Most sailors, recreational sailors and recreational racers, often don't put in enough time and so buying a go-fast boat will do very little to improve their results. So why spend a large sum of money on a negigliable improvement ? First build up skill and when you are in the top then it will become wise to by the best boat around and make sure that the remaining few % aren't holding you back.

Why do recreational sailors still spend more to get the top-of-the-line boats. Simply because they want to have the same type as the true racers (professionals) because they like the looks and the estatics or because they really like the way a top-of-the-line boat feels (sails).

Personally I drive a Toyota starlet of 14 years old and I'm loving that car too bits. Others won't be seen dead in one. It is all how you lay your personal priorities. I of course think that doing groceries in a Porsche is a bit over-the-top and unpractical.

To finish this post up. I believe that the Stealth F16 is a fast boat and well capable of taking line-honours. It is stiff and it has a great landenberger suit of sails. I was especially impressed by the Landenberg spinnaker. The T-foils are indeed a great help in the rough stuff and the snuffer system works very well. There are also downsides but I found that no boat is without them. For 11.000 Euro's (this includes European taxes, so it will be cheaper for non-Europeans) it is definately a very good buy for the majority of the sailors.

I do still expect however that alot of sailors will still opt for the other makes. Simply because of looks and because the other do have a very good feel to them. Stealth is a good boat, but looks and refinement in production and systems is not its forte. Which does NOT mean it is bad in these respects, it just means that the others just better in these respects. I have plastic on my dashboard and a Porsche has leather. You pay more so you get more. This is law cast in iron. Many people like leather dashboards so I guess many people will be willing to pay more to get the other cool stuff as well. And this is great as a class needs both parts of the spectrum to grow and develop.

Wouter





Last edited by Wouter; 09/25/05 02:53 PM.

Wouter Hijink
Formula 16 NED 243 (one-off; homebuild)
The Netherlands
Re: All the talk on the Blade, hype or actual [Re: Wouter] #57931
09/27/05 06:51 PM
09/27/05 06:51 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 6,048
Sebring, Florida.
Timbo Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Timbo  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 6,048
Sebring, Florida.
I have just returned from a cat regatta in Florida this past weekend. There were two Blades starting in the Inter 20 fleet, which had 9 Inter 20's in it. The wind was light and shifty on Saturday and a little better on Sunday but not above 10kts. either day. I was crewing on one of the Inter 20's. One Blade was Matt and Gina who build them in the States. The other Blade was brand new, in the water for the first time on Saturday, sailed by husband/wife former Taipan 4.9 racers, Chuck and Mavis. They only had their old Taipan Spinnaker on their boat, not the bigger F16 spinnaker. I will leave it to Chuck to provide his input on Blade Vs. Taipan, but when I asked him how he liked it he said it was great, loved the extra beam and deeper hulls.

Over the 7 races the Blades did finish in front of several I20's, boat for boat, but it was light and very shifty on a lake. In the better wind of Sunday the Blades were much closer in speed to the I20's, and I'm sure if it had been blowing 15-20 they would easily have kept pace as the bigger boats have to de-power much more in 20.


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