SPORT Sailing Beyonds Limits

3 min

FlyingNikka and TAG Heuer leading the way

It’s a boat of superlatives in the world of foiling. Since its launch in Valencia, Spain, in 2022, the FlyingNikka and its crew – composed of Roberto Lacorte, Alessio Razeto, Enrico Zennaro, Lorenzo Bressani, Lorenzo de Felice, Andrea Fornaro – have continuously pushed the boundaries of what’s possible on water.

Designed by naval architect Mark Mills, following an idea from its owner Roberto Lacorte, this nearly 19-meter carbon composite monohull is the most advanced foiling yacht in the world. And for this new season, the crew faces new challenges and ambitious goals. The main one? “Finding a good balance between performance and crew safety,” explains Alessio Razeto.

  • ©Fabio Tacolla

Thoroughly Scrutinized

To achieve this, the boat has been dismantled and its components thoroughly reviewed. “We X-rayed the yacht to detect any potential cracks invisible to the naked eye,” he continues.

The crew particularly focused on optimizing the boat’s performance in light wind conditions to reduce the wind threshold required for flying, enabling competitiveness even when conditions are less favorable. While today, the FlyingNikka is capable of flying above the water with a wind speed of 9.5 knots, the ultimate goal is to take off at 8.5 knots (15 km/h).

To accomplish this, the team worked on the boat’s aerodynamics, foil efficiency, and sail optimization wherever possible. However, these modifications are subject to certain restrictions aimed at ensuring crew safety and maintaining a level playing field between teams.

 

  • ©Fabio Taccola

A Season Full of Challenges

Several exciting races are already on the calendar. Among them, the Regate di Primavera, an iconic coastal event in the stunning region of Portofino, Italy, promising to be a real test of skills and strategy for the FlyingNikka crew, as well as the 151-mile race in Giraglia.

But one of the most intriguing upcoming challenges is the “No Keel Test,” scheduled for July. This experiment will intentionally capsize the boat, without its keel, to better understand its behavior in extreme conditions. A challenge that will test not only the crew’s navigation skills but also the resilience and robustness of the FlyingNikka itself.

Needless to say, we will closely follow the adventures of the FlyingNikka as its crew pushes the boundaries of technology to remain at the forefront of water sports, akin to what TAG Heuer strives to do in the field of watchmaking. Testifying to this is the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph, which accompanies each crew member aboard the FlyingNikka.