Author Topic: Rave vs Hobie Trifoiler  (Read 15131 times)


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Rave vs Hobie Trifoiler
« on: April 08, 2005, 01:48:53 AM »
Hello everybody,

Looking into a hydrofoil sailboat for use here in Florida.  Anyone know the benefits/disadvantages between the Windrider and Hobie versions.  I've heard the Trifoiler may be faster but less productive in choppier seas.  It is also lighter but wider.  I will launching off the beach in which the trifoiler might be easier (lighter) for one person.    

Thanks for any input,



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Rave vs Hobie Trifoiler
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2005, 10:38:18 AM »
The Rave takes about twice as long to setup as a beach cat.  For former catamaran owners and especially for first-time boat owners that was more time than they wanted to devote to living with the Rave, or any boat.  As a result, many Raves are out there for re-sale.  The Rave can be muscled together by one healthy skipper but it's a lot easier with someone else helping you.  The Tri-Foiler will have the edge in that matter.  

Regarding launching and retrieval, the Rave is 17' wide and weighs 380 lbs.  Launching is the same as any other multihull; back the trailer into the water and push the boat off the trailer.  Retrieving is pretty slick.  While still in shallow water near the shore I stand the Rave all the way up on all three foils, and back the trailer underneath the boat, release the foils to lower the boat onto the trailer, and drive into the parking lot to take it apart for the road.  The custom trailer also allows the bowsprit to remain attached.  The advantage of the Rave foils is that you can extend the foils all the way down in shallow water.  The boat is then lifted into the air two or three feet above the water; kind of like having a drydock.  

Beaching a Rave is a simple matter of pulling up the foils all the way and running up onto the beach as with any beachcat.  The plastic hulls are durable but you can't be foolish about running them onto rough surfaces that would also scratch a fiberglass boat.  I've run over a stump and the central hull was pushed up by the stump quite a bit (a few inches) but there was no subsequent damage to the hull.  My old glass cat would have been cracked over the same stump.


Regarding performance, the Tri-Foiler is a pure speedster.  The Rave is fast but can also be used as a cruiser, as well.  A weekend sail to a campout is easier with the Rave because there's room to transport the gear needed for such a weekend.  The two foilers are made for different primary purposes.  Windrider aimed the Rave for a more daysailing crowd whereas Hobie's Tri-Foiler is more of a pure speed machine.  Take your choice.  

I chose the Rave because I wanted to distance race and I wanted to make some weekend camping trips with my wife.  Using the Tri-Foiler for the Around The Island Race in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, for example, would be asking too much of the Tri-Foiler.  First, there's no room in the Tri-Foiler for the gear needed, and second the Rave would have a much easier time of making it through the passes whenever wind, water, and tide make it difficult for ANY sailboat to negotiate a pass.  I'm not saying the Rave is seaworthy.  I'm saying the Tri-Foiler wasn't made for some conditions that the water, or a difficult pass, may throw at a boat going the distance or during a weekend on the water.

Going a distance on the water may also require some fiddling or adjusting out there away from the central hull.  The Rave has nets to make access to the hulls easier or, without nets, you can walk out on the Rave's beam.  I don't think you can access the other hulls on the Tri-Foiler without swimming out to them or heading back to the beach to make your fix, adjustment or whatever needed attention on the outer hulls because the Tri-Foilers beams don't look like they would support the weight of a skipper walking the tightrope on the way to the Tri's sails.  On the Rave you can walk forward and stand to make adjustments to the main, or to lower the main when required.  Once again, the Rave can be used more like a conventional multihull when compared to the Tri-Foiler.  The Tri-Foiler is more "single purpose" and assumes you will be on the beach before having to shorten sail.  That's probably why there are no reef points on the Tri-Foiler's sails.  The Tri is a one-trick pony and wasn't designed to be more than it is.  The Rave is more "multihull" which can also fly.

The bottom line:  If you want to fly, either boat will serve the purpose and at some satisfying speed at 35mph.  If you want to actually use the boat to GO somewhere on a daysail, and a boat that is more seaworthy,  a more comforatable boat, get the Rave.  If you want a bullet-proof, sturdy design, get the Rave.  Picture the Rave as a Ferrari with an engine with a lot of potential, some room for small luggage, great looks, and high quality.  Picture the Tri-Foiler as a racing motorcycle; a speed bike.  Or, look at it this way: scaled up, the big Rave, "SCAT", can go to the Bahamas and back.  A scaled-up Tri-Foiler couldn't do that; the water out there can become too big for it's design.  That's not "good" or "bad".  It's just "different".  Decide how you want to use the boat and take your choice.  The decision may come down to an age or crew thing.  

I can put my longtime crew in the crewseat in the Rave and she's happy.  Thirty years ago she would have been happy in the Tri-Foiler crew seat.  (Yes, we're that old.)

Hobie would be smart to buy the Rave operation and market the boats side-by-side.  The two boats are not head-to-head competing products.  Rather, they are complimentary designs in the next big thing appearing on all sailboats, foiling, that cover the entire niche demographic looking for affordable, manageable boats that fly above the water.  No other boat can provide the thrills that these two boats make possible.


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Rave vs Hobie Trifoiler
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2005, 08:34:38 PM »
Here's a Brit's point of view from an old 1999 presentation.  

Report on the Amateur Yacht Research Society Evening Seminar

Weymouth Speed Week 1999


These speakers gave separate presentations but I shall report them together

since they make an interesting comparison. John Lindsay and Chris Hayle are

both marketing commercially manufactured sailing hydrofoils, these being the

Hobie Trifoiler and the new Rave. John has brought a Trifoiler to Speedweek

before whereas the Rave was new to Speedweek and Chis brought two samples

for prospective customers to play with. These products are in direct

competition, both being flying hydrofoils designed to be road trailable and

to carry one helmsman plus one optional passenger seated in a comfortable

cockpit. Both designs have fully immersed variable lift foils and small

floats at each end of a longish crossbeam, the lift of the foils being

automatically controlled by a mechanism connected to articulated surface

sensors. Both craft have anodised aluminium extrusions for spars, cross

beams etc, both are steered by a tee foil mounted aft and both have reefable

fully battened sails but that is about the end of the similarities.

Foil lift control on the Trifoiler is by tilting the whole foil assembly

about a lateral axis. Foil lift control on the Rave is by actuating only a

full width trailing edge flap on each foil. Presumably these trailing edge

flaps can be controlled by relatively small forces explaining why the

surface sensors are much smaller and neater on the Rave than on the

Trifoiler.  The two craft have quite different rigs. The Trifoiler has a

biplane rig with a mast step at each end of the cross beam, this giving a

reduced height of center of effort compared with a comparable single mast

rig of the same area. The Rave has a more conventional fore and aft rig with

self tacking jib and very square headed main. The main is boomless and the

clew of the main is sheeted to a single point near the transom. When the

sheet is eased a lot of twist appears in the main and perhaps this makes it

possible to spill wind high up whilst maintaining drive from the lower part

of the sail. The Trifoiler has foils moulded in composite materals, the

foils on the Rave are welded from aluminium extrusions. The Trifoiler has

composite laminated hulls, the hulls of the Rave are, I think, rotomoulded

and have an internal stiffening framework of aluminium tubing.

So how did performance compare? Chris Hayle said that the Rave does need a

good wind to get foil borne but once it is flying it usually sails at around

40 knots with a maximum unofficially recorded at 46 knots. However, it has

to be said that the Trifoiler actually put up the best non-sailboard speed

of the week at 31.6 knots, the Rave did 24.5 knots.   [A Rave has been clocked at 42.4 mph in San Francisco Bay and I know that Eric Arens and Mike McGarry have clocked speeds at least this fast in Miami.  Mike's rig came down at the end of the race but, other that a couple of shrouds, the boat nor skipper were damaged.  Designer Dr. Bradfield says to keep the Rave at 35 mph or under.  --Dean].   Amazingly, the best

speed of the Trifoiler was only about one knot slower than the best

sailboard speed. Chris suspected that the Rave could have been adversely

affected by some peculiar air turbulence caused by the way the wind flows

over Portland Bill.

I must admit that I would never have expected flying sailing hydrofoils to

become a commercial possibility. I would have thought that such craft would

be far too vulnerable to damage by grounding and hence only suitable for mad

experimenters who are prepared for frequent rebuilds. This must be an

inherent difficulty but the foils are robustly made, especially on the Rave.

I noticed one of the Raves moored over a hard seabed with the foils left

locked down as the tide receded. At first the small waves caused the foils

to bump on the rocks then the foils came to support the full weight of the

craft. I was surprised that all this caused no obvious damage and indeed it

seems to be the standard way to park a Rave. Recently a Rave foil did catch

a small tethered buoy while sailing and the foil came off best - Chis was

able to show us a battle trophy in the form of the severed buoy dangling

from a mangled length of 6mm cordage. I do wonder what would happen if a

foil caught a heavy mooring chain while sailing fast, I suppose that the

helmsperson just has to make sure this never happens.

Despite my scepticism, commercially built sailing hydrofoils are now

shipping, to use the parlance of the software industry. Chris Lindsay

claimed 200 recent sales, mostly in the States.  They really do get

foilborne and in the conditions which suit them they can be significantly

faster than conventional monohulls and multihulls. However, unless we see

further developments, the sailboard continues to offer the most knots and by

far the most knots per buck. As a big bonus the sailboard gives you

remarkable seaworthiness, damage resistance and ease of transport on a car

roof rack. But you do need to be reasonably athletic and highly skilled to

make the most of a sailboard whereas it is reckoned that any couch potato

with sailing experience can climb aboard these hydrofoil craft and drive

away. You and your girlfriend sit in comfort in a light aircraft style

cockpit and it sounds to be as easy as taking a new sports car out of the

show room, not that I got the chance to try it myself. For quite a few

customers perhaps this could be a winning factor.


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Rave vs Hobie Trifoiler
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2005, 09:29:40 PM »
Yeah.. my Rave does 40kts all the time (on my trailer on the highway).  The Rave is fast... but 40kts is a little optimistic - although I'm sure someone could do it.

My speed record is still only 30mph (gps).  That seemed really fast - the boat was creaking and groaning.  Although, I will go faster this year for sure. :)

I've heard bad things about upwind sailing on the tri-foiler.  Unless you're foil-borne - it does not do that well.  Apparently it drifts downwind.


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Rave vs Hobie Trifoiler
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2005, 10:06:14 AM »
28.2 mph = 24.5 knots  (Rave is flying well and your passenger wakes up from his/her half-slumber because everything has become quiet and very smooth.  He thought he was sleeping on a cloud.  It's fun to pass the sportfisherman in your way.  Give him a toot on the air horn.  Life is good.)

40 mph = 34.8 knots (You're rig will be on down around your head if you keep this up.)

46mph = 40 knots  (That first "POP" was your upper shroud.  The lower shroud caught the mast but the boat took a nasty sharp turn in the confusion.  That faint, breathy scream is your passenger who will need some tender diplomatic treatment from you once his/her fear has subsided.  You may need two or three new battens and patches for the small holes in the batten pockets.  You're lucky you didn't pitchpole.  The redline is 35mph = 30.4 knots.)

My personal best speed has been 38 mph = 33.9 knots.

At the limit the Rave will groan, make short, quick zipping noises, and will make you wonder if it will stay in the water because you've maxed-out the pull/tension on the wand bungees.  It's wonderful.


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Rave vs Hobie Trifoiler
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2005, 02:01:11 PM »
My choice of the Rave was based on the more robust nature of the Rave and the fact that the depth of the foils on the Rave allow the sailor to be in higher chop and still fly.  I'd set speed records if I could, but in the meantime the Rave is a great craft for fun and challenge.
Foiling a Rave is Graceful Exhilaration (and sometimes much less than 'graceful')