Skip to main content

Best Boats 2016: Whisper Foiling Cat

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Performance Multihull under 30ft

10-Whisper_2758---Copy

Whisper Foiling Cat

At approximately 1445 on October 13, 2015, the day after the Annapolis sailboat show, history was made when the increasingly creaky and cranky 195lb, 51-year-old executive editor of this magazine experienced full-foiling sailing performance in all of about 10 knots of wind. Talk about foiling for the masses! The sailboat that accomplished this feat was the new 17ft 8in Whisper catamaran, built by the UK’s White Formula and distributed in the United States by Nor’Banks sailing. Even more incredible than the fact that the boat could get our great lunker beast of an editor airborne was how easy it all was, thanks to its clever foiling system. Unlike the various other cats out there employing those same twitchy J-foils developed for the 34th America’s Cup, the Whisper uses a pair of Moth-style T-foils with a control wand immediately aft of each blade to create a ride that is stable, predictable and precludes the need for helmets and body armor. It also means any decent sailor can get airborne and stay there within minutes of taking the helm.

On a practical note, the all-carbon Whisper features two-piece construction, in which the “deck” is bonded to the hulls to create a monocoque structure that is both stiff and durable. The rotating mast, boom and sprit are also all carbon and the jib is self-tacking. Twin trapezes get crew weight well outboard for keeping the boat steady and provide a great vantage point from which to watch the horizontal foils slicing through the waves. All-up weight is less than 200lb, and the rudders and daggerboards are retractable to facilitate beach launching and landing. Best of all, the entire package can be had for just $36,000, less than the cost of a mid-size sport boat. Wouldn’t it be great to see a robust one-design class develop around this boat? Talk about breathing new life into the sport of sailing! whiteformula.com

Related

promo-2048x

Just Launched Mid-sized Cruisers

With so many manufacturers dreaming up bigger production boats, more and more mid-sized cruisers fall on the smaller end of their lines. However, “smaller” does not mean less, and the tricks for optimizing larger models have helped with squeezing more enjoyment into less LOA. As ...read more

05-DSC_0638

Charter: Lake Tahoe

A sail on Lake Tahoe has been on my bucket list since the day I first laid eyes on it, and come hell or high water, I decided I was going to someday charter a boat there. North America’s largest and deepest alpine lake, Tahoe sits at 6,225ft above sea level and straddles the ...read more

East-River-Rapids

Escape from New York Part 1

I was never supposed to take my boat through New York City. After getting sucked backward through the Cape Cod Canal on my way south from Maine, when the speed of the current exceeded the maximum speed of my little electric auxiliary, I wanted nothing to do with Hell Gate and ...read more

LEAD-Celeste-in-the-Tuamotu

A Watermaker Upgrade

As a classic-boat sailor, I’ve long held that simpler is the better. I still think this is true: a simpler boat is cheaper, she has less gadgets to break down and there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing you’re able to handle a bit of discomfort. Thus, for a long time, I sailed ...read more

01-LEAD-IDECsport_180919_032

Sailing Speed Records

Although the 1903 defender of the America’s Cup, Reliance, was deemed a “racing freak”—the boat pushed design rules to their limit and couldn’t be beaten, at least in very specific conditions—designer Nat Herreshoff was nonetheless onto something. A century later, purpose-built ...read more

BVIFeetup

Chartering with Non-sailors

Three tips on managing the madness First-time charterers and first-time sailors aren’t at all the same thing. One group may struggle with beginner chartering issues, like sailing a multihull, catching a mooring or dealing with base personnel. For the other group, though, ...read more

AdobeStock_455372159

A Gulf Stream Crossing at Night

Even the dome of light glowing above the city behind us had disappeared as if swallowed in a gulp by Noah’s whale. The moon was absent. Not a star twinkled overhead. The night was so dark we could have been floating in a pot of black ink. The only artificial lights to be seen ...read more

00-Lead-549215sJL2uLEa

Summer Sailing Programs

Every year, countless parents find themselves navigating the do’s and don’ts of enrolling their children in a summer learn-to-sail program for the first time. While the prospect of getting your kid on the water is exciting, as a sailing camp program director, there are a lot of ...read more