Persico F70, the adrenaline rush of flight on a hypercar of the sea
Sunday, October 17, 2021 9:05 AM
Genesis of a sailing maxi foiler that is an understatement to call it futuristic... on the occasion of the Monaco Yacht Show, Pressmare.it talked about it with its creators
by Giuliano Luzzatto
For anyone interested in sailboats, strolling along the quays of the Port of Monte Carlo during the Monaco Yacht Show is a bit like walking down 5th Avenue in New York for the first time. In Manhattan, towering over you are huge skyscrapers, while in the Principality, there are motorized megayachts. In the midst of this state-of-the-art world for a select few, you have the opportunity to personally meet the important names in yacht design and boatbuilding. And this is how, at boatbuilder Persico Marine’s stand, I managed to meet one of the top designers of the moment, Shaun Carkeek – originally hailing from Cape Town but strategically based in Palma de Mallorca at his firm Carkeek Partners – together with Marcello Persico, the president of the boatyard, and Daniele Mazzon of Pininfarina, who designed the interiors of Wallycento Tango. Built of carbon fibre by Persico, this 100-ft Wally craft is one of the most exclusive and technologically advanced maxiyachts to ever hit the water.
My natural curiosity immediately led me to check out the Persico F70, though. The F70 is a full-foiling 21-and-a-half metre mini maxi that Persico Marine announced in March, in the full throes of the America’s Cup by a very exciting video clip that intentionally made the viewer’s mouth water for further information. Let’s admit it, after seeing the AC75s fly at Auckland “everything else became history”, including the flying catamarans of the preceding edition of the Cup. The idea of the F70 had thus arrived at the right moment, the result of a partnership with Shaun Carkeek, whose 360° experience on racing boats was already known. His firm gave us the winning Fast40s (40-foot high-performance racers very similar to the TP52s and in certain ways more advanced – Ran VII was honoured as the Sailing Boat of the Year in 2018), as well as an innovative 52-foot IRC racer
First of all, I learned that the F70 proposal had received numerous positive comments and some potential owners had asked for further details straight away, even if at that time construction had yet not begun. Defining such a boat as “sexy” is hardly sufficient, but the path from desiring one to deciding to own one will take a little longer than usual, because, in this case, the boat is moving into new territory, which is still not well known. If, on one hand, it is a spectacular “cafè racer” – I cannot find a better definition, as the F70 promises the adrenaline rush of a hypercar – on the other hand, there is some doubt about how much it would be used for short cruises or offshore regattas.
“We have two yacht owners who are very interested,” Marcello Persico confirmed. “But they would like to share such an innovative adventure with other yachtsmen.” Indeed, building a boat of this type is a strong statement of intent. Having other companions to share the experience with would make the endeavour more attractive, also since the owners already are experts and have other yachts.
The F70 is completely finalized down to the last detail and ready to be built. My first question concerned the foils, which in the video were deliberately hidden. Would there be an arm with a winglet like those Persico made for all the AC75s, or would it be a more traditional shape? Carkeek promptly satisfied my curiosity: they will be foils derived from the ones on the IMOCA 60s, the boats in the Vendée Globe, but aided by elevators on the rudder blade, so that the boat (with a canting keel) can reach full fly mode with only 10 knots of wind. The foils, which will be completely retractable to allow the F70 to dock normally, will use the same CFD and VPP software as the IMOCAs and AC75s. In addition to all this, the boat can count on the unequalled technological experience of Persico Marine. Thanks to the micrometric precision of the laminate obtained through the use of Coriolis aerospace robotics technology, Persico not only supplied the arms for the AC75s and built Luna Rossa, but also constructed some foils of the very latest generation for the IMOCAs, on top of the entire Linkedout boat.
On its part, Pininfarina, with its wind gallery, VR simulation tools and all its technology developed for the automotive industry, has contributed by creating a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork and technology: the interiors – almost futuristic in their simplicity – can be accessed through a double entrance forward of the helmsman’s position, very similar to the cockpit of an AC75.
Flying control will be managed electronically to ensure perfect control and easy sailing with a crew of between 2 and 4 people, which can be increased to 8 for offshore regattas. The small crew and ease of steering are, in my opinion, the focal point that will allow this boat to see the light in the near future.
The Persico F70 will be made of high modulus carbon prepreg, with a Nomex and Kevlar sandwich core, for a total weight of 10 tons. The sail plan calls for a mainsail of 190 square metres on the 30-metre rotating mast, a jib of 145 square metres at the prow, and, for sailing downwind, a very flat reacher of 270 square metres. Since the boat is really dual purpose, allowing for peaceful navigation in light air displacement, the design provides for a gennaker of over 270 square metres attached to the bowsprit.
I truly believe that a “toy” of this nature cannot be passed by unobserved. Personally, I cannot wait for the build to start and am very eager to take part in a sea trial to experience the excitement of a lucky owner.