Last weekend I was chatting with my older son Simon, who is the engineering manager at Safe Harbors New England Boat Works, and he mentioned that they were designing a new boat for a client that would be a full-on foiling racing machine. It won’t be as extreme as the America’s Cup boats but more in line with the foiling IMOCA 60s that are now racing around the world in the Vendee Globe. A foiling racing boat has the capability of sailing at two times the speed of the wind as it flies over the tops of the waves and this client and many others in the high tech, high performance end of sailing think this is the future of racing. They may be right but where, I wonder, does that leave the rest of the sailing and cruising community? It used to be that all the design and engineering work that went into racing boats, fueled by sailors with very deep pockets, created innovations that made cruising boats faster, more weatherly, and ultimately safer. And because modern racing boats have wider beams, plumb bows and flush transoms, the cruising boats that evolve from them have more interior volume for lush accommodations. But can you imagine a cruising boat with foils? I can’t, but maybe I am old fashioned. Only Group Beneteau has explored building production foiling sloops with their Figaro Beneteau 3, which was designed specifically for the one-design Figaro regatta in France. I have sailed the boat and it is innovative and thrilling but it does not seem to have any technical design and engineering qualities that would work on a Beneteau Oceanis. Too hard to sail, too complicated, too difficult to fit into a marina, too expensive and fraught by potential collisions with flotsam, the foiling Figaro is probably not a boat that will spur innovation in cruising boats. So, in the last couple of years, the racing fleet has veered off onto a foiling path that leaves cruising innovation behind. But that’s okay since modern cruising design is evolving nicely on its own.