First Ever HH44 Hybrid Electric Catamaran
It’s finally here, the first sea trials aboard the new HH44! The anticipation has been palpable, and we feel a bit like kids on Christmas morning. Hoping we get everything we’ve asked for and a few surprises too.
Because this is a brand-new design from the ground up, not simply a variation on an older model. And while this may not be our boat, it’s mighty close. And the owner of hull number one, S/V BLISS, along with a long line of future owners are all eager to see how she will handle.
These sea trials are all about testing the boat and the systems in every way. Will she point, how is the motion and noise, how much regen will we get…so many things! HH will push everything to the max to ensure the vessel meets the safety and strength of their design specs. Which includes flying a hull!
Needless to say, we are pleased as punch to be a part of this whole process and spoiler alert, she does not disappoint!
We are over the moon about the boat, all her potential and of our course, finally having a home again. It’s so close we can taste it, or maybe that’s just the leftover salt on my lips…
Flying A Hull Is About Safety
Flying a hull and foiling is going to become more and more standard as boats evolve. We’ve already seen it with racing and it is the natural evolution as designs improve. But, it sounds scary to some and reckless to others. But with HH, it’s all about safety. Paul and I talked about this a lot during our factory tour: gonewiththewynns.com/boat-building-details
HH designs their boats with a high power to weight ratio, not with the intention of flying a hull, but to give the boat great light air performance (sailing on light wind days is certainly safer). The ability to fly the hull is by-product of that. And as we say in the video: most HH owners aren’t racing and will never fly a hull on their own. But, without that high power to weight ratio, a sailboat will never perform well in light air.
HH engineers, perhaps even over engineers, everything! The structures, the appendages, the deck gear, the ropes and the sails are all spec’d to handle the maximum possible load that the boat can produce (which occurs at hull fly).
So during sea trials, in order to test everything and make sure the boat is strong enough, and up to HH standards, the boat must be pushed to the MAX. Skilled captains (such as Chris and Ben), have the task of taking all the equipment to maximum load. But flying a hull on the HH44 is a seriously skilled effort. They had to throw out the reefing guide and work hard, and you can see their concentration in the video. Flying a hull isn’t something that is easy to accidentally do.
Which is why you won’t catch us, or most other HH owners, ever doing so. But it does give us peace of mind knowing our boat is strong enough to do so with extra safety margins built in. (Just incase we ever get caught in freak squall or a massive storm)
The alternative to flying a hull at sea trials, are AWS (Apparent Wind Speed) limits which are set by the builder (and its what most builders do). Which is why it’s important to follow reefing guides set on cruising boats or you risk a dismasting, breaking equipment, structural failures and so on. But according to HH, this should never happen on one of their boats. Because they have already tested it at max pressure to make sure the boat doesn’t break.
If it’s safer to build a boat stronger, then why build a boat to AWS limits? Simple: It is cheaper (and lighter) to build a catamaran with AWS limits. Everything can be downsized: equipment, mast, rigging, sails, and even the structure can be built cheaper with less laminate and lower quality resins. But this isn’t the route HH takes. And for us, it’s that design and engineering philosophy that really sets them apart from other catamaran manufacturers.
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