BEST ONE-DESIGN: WASZP

Sailing World
Favorites

The bulletproof first foiler for the masses, the Waszp could change the foiling market from the bottom up.

So you wanna foil, do ya, punk? Well, now’s your chance. Conceived as an entry-level alternative to the Moth, the Australian-­designed foiling Waszp, built by McConaghy Boats in China, is a thing of beauty. While the Moth class is successful worldwide, the boats are difficult to sail, expensive and high-maintenance. Waszp creator and top Moth sailor Andrew ­McDougall, of KA Sail, recognized the need for an everyman’s foiler, and with an entourage of high-performance tinkerers, he spent several years developing the Waszp, which is a class-legal Moth but better priced and more forgiving to sail. It’s also a heck of a lot easier to launch than a Moth, which is a bigger deal than one might imagine. With the Waszp, you can sail off the beach with the foils up, drop them once in deeper water, attach the bow-mounted wand’s nipple fitting to the main foil, and off you go.

There’s more volume in the hull, and the foils are larger than a Moth’s, so the boat can accommodate a wider weight range, too. In 10 knots of breeze, the judges were told, a 200- to 215-pound sailor can get enough flow across the foils to achieve flight. Expect takeoff speeds to be similar to a Moth’s, but with lower top-end speeds.

The boat is bulletproof compared with high-end Moths, due to the epoxy hull and the extruded aluminum foils. “If you wreck a Moth foil, you’re talking a couple thousand dollars,” says Moth devotee Ben Moon, who presented the boat to our judges. “This boat is super robust, and that is key.”

A lot of the complexity and engineering in the Moth is concentrated around the mast base because of significant vang loads. To avoid this, the Waszp uses an aluminum wishbone boom, which provides sufficient leech tension. Ask any Moth sailor how it feels to face-plant into a shroud at 25 knots, and you’ll understand the benefit of the Waszp’s unstayed rig, which is a two-piece carbon section that fits into the boat’s travel box. The travel box is another selling point (you can upgrade to a fiberglass box): With a quick disassembly process, the boat can be packed and stored in the garage.

And how does it sail? The judges were skunked for their test, but new owners around the country are sharing stories of pure enjoyment and immediate foiling, taking the boat for a spin right out of the box. The wings can be pinned to a lower position, and the foil ­adjustments preset for lower ride heights until you figure out the balancing act.

Once you’ve got that part dialed in, you can start to play with the worm-screw adjustment on the main foil, which controls ride height. This adjustment is made on the fly by a small-diameter line led out to the wings. Once you’ve got ride height to be second nature, it’s time to explore bow attitude by twisting the tiller extension. It’s bow-down downwind, bow-up upwind. There are also adjustments using the rudder gantry and wand for different conditions when you get more advanced.

Hundreds of build slots were sold before production came online midway through the year, and since our Boat of the Year tests, Waszps have been buzzing on waterways around the country. At $10,500 ready to sail, the boat is inexpensive enough to be an impulse buy, says Allen, but one that will be justified when Junior gets his hands on it (smaller sails are in the works for lighter sailors). The Waszp will be welcomed with open arms at existing Moth events, further swelling the ranks of sailing’s new foiling generation.

The bulletproof first foiler for the masses, the Waszp could change the foiling market from the bottom up.