Holtom Foiler 21 - any information?

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John Perry
AYRS Chairman
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Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:39 pm

Holtom Foiler 21 - any information?

Post by John Perry »

The 'office@ayrs.org' has just received an email from a Frenchman who has an opportunity to re-build a Foiler 21 sailing boat that he says is in rather poor condition. He has a copy of the original sales flyer for the boat (extracts below) and would appreciate any further information about it, or to make contact with anyone who has sailed this type of boat, or maybe even owns one today.

My understanding is that the Foiler 21 was designed by AYRS member Gerald Holtom who went on to set up manufacture but I dont think many were ever built, so this one that has turned up in France must be one of a pretty rare breed. The boat has a narrow hull that is stabilised by surface piercing foils carried each side of the hull on long outriggers. The overal beam is sufficient that when the boat is sailing the hydrodynamic lift on the foils balances the sail force so that there is no need for 'sitting out' and the boat is virtually un capsiseable. The foils are very low aspect, triangular in plan with apex down and they are a thick section so that they have enough bouyancy to stabilise the boat at rest. Its an interesting concept certainly.

Does anyone have further information about this boat that we can pass on to the person who is considering restoring one?
Plaquette 2.jpg
Plaquette 1.jpg

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Re: Holtom Foiler 21 - any information?

Post by TheoSchmidt »

I owned one for several years when I lived in Dorset, but sailed it only three or four times and capsized it once (in Portland Harbour), by bearing away too quickly. I have some photos showing the rigging (Michael Ellison supplied the sail!). This was one of Gerald Holtom's originals made of cold-moulded plywood, very light. It was exhilarating to sail because a gust or just setting the sail properly (rotating the mast correctly) would shoot it forward with almost no heeling - sports car feeling. After the capsize - claimed to be impossible - I couldn't right it and somebody towed it ashore, messing it up. I fixed it up but then gave it to a sailing school or something.
My advice it to use it only if it can be kept on a beach, as even though easily car-toppable, assembly takes quite some time, lots of bottle-screws to tighten. I knew somebody who kept one on a mooring in the Menai Strait in North Wales and used it often, wearing a wet suit. But this was the production model of sandwich fibreglass, very stiff and tough.

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