Key Largo Steeplechase Race Debrief
Please open up the page to enjoy the stunning M-20 speed in the light wind conditions of the Steeplechase Long Distance Race. Bret Moss and John Casey totally dominating with the M-20 this year, what a race from our mates!
Enjoy as well the interview with Bret Moss and John Casey about their sweet feelings to the M-20 Speed Machine and a great report from John Casey.
Marstrom Catamarans better performance, longer life
- The steeplechase is a classical 100 mile catamaran race around Islamorada in the Florida Keys and brings some major cat players to the race. Just scroll down to watch the video from day one and two and to read the inside interview with Bret Moss and John Casey. John has also an excellent separate report on Sailing Anarchy and on his webpage John Casey Worldwide. Enjoy the watch and read...
Video of day one...not a ripple from the water and single trapping! Un real! What a light wind speed...
Brett Moss and John Casey interview about their sweet feelings to the M-20
What’s your general feeling of the M-20 design
Bret: The M-20 has shown to be a very capable platform in a variety of conditions. Forward reserve buoyancy is always good to have, and the increased stiffness gives good feedback to the helm.
John: Light, stiff and durable. Moving the M20 around on the beach is unbelievably easy due to its weight. However, when I started sailing the boat the stiffness is most impressive. Racking is the biggest problem with modern beachcat designs, but with the M20, the bows stay locked in and there is no twisting of the platform. Extremely light yet extremely stiff. I think you can't go wrong with that! The platform materials are so dense and stiff that I could not only hear the waves hitting the hull, but felt them in my feet!
The fact that the M20 floats above the water instead of trying to penetrate the water makes a difference in keeping the boat in the groove. The M20 likes to turn on the foil. In most newer designs the bow goes too deep in the water and the hull wants to drive straight instead of allowing the driver to turn the boat to achieve proper sailing angle. This difference is very noticeable in the design.
You have sailed the M-20 both with the straight boards and then changed to the curved foils. Can you please tell us the effect of the change
John: Stability. When we sailed the boat on it's lines the fore/aft pitching was very much less than with the straight boards. I would equate the feel to a luxury car ride with a Ferrari engine. The platform has more acceleration with less heel than the straight boards. The hull rises out of the water with less wind, but it slowly flies to a certain height and is easy to control with much more response to cunningham and sail trim. The boat doesn't 'trip' over the foil nearly as much.
Downwind, when the power comes into the boat, since there is less pitching, the boat stays on it's lines instead of the bow sticking into the water. It is easier to get into the proper sailing angle, which equates to less rudder movement which equals more speed and a deeper angle. Even though the original design has plenty of forward buoyancy, the curved foils give an effect in this aspect as well.
The biggest difference in sailing the boat with the curved foils is balancing the forces on the foil. With straight foils the boat is sailed in a more bow down configuration, but with the curved foils we sailed the boat at the proper angle for the horizontal part of the foil to achieve the most lift with the least amount of drag.
Bret: The M-20 was always fun to sail , but the curved foils have made the boat really come on balance. There is the effect of minimized surface to hull reaction, as some load is now carried on the foils. An added positive effect is the boat steers a little easier and the sweet spot range is improved. The new foils allow us to clear weeds while still staying strapped in to the pressure.
We also like the look very cool after years of straight boards.
John Casey / JC prepared for the curved boards installation M-20 ready to race and win the Steeplechase Race
The platform looks like brand new. What’s your opinion of the Marstrom quality and life time value?
Bret: We have had the M-20 for three years and sailed it quite a bit. Prior to that the boat also sailed and completed the Tybee 500. The synergy of the Marstrom design with industry leading building process, gives us a boat that has little to keep up on. When there is a ding or scratch, modern two part urethane paint allows us fast light weight repairs. When other platforms are soft or loose the Marstrom is rock solid. In our sport equipment has to perform and perform well over time or any development is hindered.
The M-20 is designed to be very competitive in all wind and wave conditions. What do you think about the M20 design in light, medium and strong wind?
John: The M20 is amazing in light air. Before I sailed the boat in light air I thought it would benefit from a jib, but after sailing against other first-to-finish designs in light air, the M20 has plenty of power, flying a hull in about 4 knots of breeze. The biggest factor is angle. The boat points like an A-cat, and that was the biggest factor as we sailed upwind with great speed but amazing angle. Since the M20 is so light, downwind it is easy to fly the hull before other designs, which turns into huge gains.
In medium breeze the M20 is easy to keep in the groove. I was most impressed with how the M20 sailed on a beam reach. Again, even though it has no jib, the boat is so balanced that it squirts forward instead of popping a hull quickly. This is noticeable between the straight and curved boards.
We haven't sailed the boat with the curved foils in heavy wind yet, but I am really looking forward to it! With less pitching, the curved foils will help tremendously in waves.
Bret: In light winds the M-20 comes on to the breeze quickly. Any and all increases in pressure can be worked. As breeze builds the true power and control show, in a boat that will balance out and start to stride. In the heavy breeze you are aware of the speed and risks but the balance allows control. Often other teams will comment that they were just hanging on. The M-20 allows you to press and maintain safe margins for reserve. We learn a lot from A class sailing on getting bladed out to go fast , the techniques are very similar.
Just scroll down to enjoy the next video...
...Key Largo Steeplechase Race day two...