Germany driver Erik Heil has revealed that the real life experience of racing the F50 for the first time in Chicago was completely different to his expectations.
The 50-foot hydrofoiling catamarans fly above the water on carbon fibre foils to enable super fast speeds, with France setting a speed record last season of 99.94 km/h.
But the stable flight of the F50s is hard to replicate behind the wheel, Heil said.
“The first time on the F50 was very different to what you see on the TV - it’s much more unstable than you expect.”
As a result, teamwork is critical. “You really have to work hard as a team and coordinate all the people together to get it running,” he added.
The crew line-up was revealed just days before racing began on Lake Michigan and mixes experienced F50 athletes with talented German sailors, such as double Olympic champion Kahena Kunze and grinder Jonathan Knottnerus-Meyer.
Convening ahead of racing, the crew set out its intentions for Chicago, which include maximizing ‘progress and the learning curve’, which are ‘the most important things’ for the newcomer team.
“We are realistic but we will take our chances and try to catch up as quickly as we can,” Heil said.
Germany had a solid racing debut in Chicago, competing mid-fleet for much of the first three fleet races - even positioning fourth in the first fleet race. Despite this, the team was unable to maintain its position and finished with an 8-8-7-7-9 race record, placing 10th overall.