Oh well you'll never know if you don't try. We saw an old wooden Oppie for sale locally going very cheap so we got hold of it, and it sat in the workshop for some time. It needed a bit of work to even get it back on the water. The rowlocks and seat are not essential foiling equipment! Katherine was let loose with a power sander, and various pots of paint and varnish while I pondered how to fit the foils from 'Carbon Footprint' into this vintage wooden Oppie.
Aside from the renovation work required, the actual conversion to foils only took a weekend of bimbling. The aim was to use as much as possible from the Moth, so the foils, gantry, and wand could just plug on. In order to use the same cable from the Moth, and get the wand out in front of the boat and main foil, we made up a little bowsprit. A bit of glass fibre fishing rod, and some carbon supports from the scrap bin and we were there. The gantry was bolted to the transom with some little carbon brackets I laminated up. The main foil fitted through the existing centreboard case (just!) and a cover plate to mount over the open case on the underside of the hull was made up. The exact profile of the board was then cut out of this. (The 'speedfish' as
It certainly didn't leap out of the water like the Moths do, but it showed potential early on, nudging its nose skyward. We were struggling for rudder lift, and wound the gantry as far fwd as we could. It was after this tweak that Katherine sailed out to the entrance, caught a big gust and the Oppie launched itself to max height on the foils. I was unfortunately still walking back to my camera, and missed the max height photo, but got to it in time to get the crash that followed. Any foiler will recognise that as a crash from height!
We'd had visions of the rig falling down, or bits falling off if we had a crash but if you ignored some cracking wood noises all was fine.
I should probably finish with a health warning! It is probably not recommended for every Oppie dad to now go and plug some Moth foils into their kids Oppie! Although great fun to do, the narrow foil spacing, small rig, flat bow and launching issues do not make for the ideal first foiling boat! This was only ever intended as a one off proof of concept joke!