|This article does not cite any references (sources). (October 2012)|
Three F18s starting a downwind leg at the 2006 North-American Championship
|Crew||1 skipper and 1 crew|
|LOA||5.52 m (18 ft 1 in) (maximum)|
|Beam||2.6 m (8 ft 6 in) (maximum)|
|Hull weight||180 kg (400 lb) (minimum)|
|Mast height||9.15 m (30 ft 0 in) (maximum)|
|Mainsail area||17 m2 (180 sq ft) (mainsail and mast combined area maximum)|
|Jib / Genoa area||
4.15 m2 (44.7 sq ft) (maximum)3.45 m2 (37.1 sq ft) (maximum for lightweight crews)
21 m2 (230 sq ft) (maximum)19 m2 (200 sq ft) (maximum for lightweight crews)
The Formula 18 class, abbreviated F18, is a formula-design sport catamaran class. It was started in the early 1990s and quickly grew to a full-sized International Sailing Federation recognised class, with large racing fleets all over the globe. Before the turn of the century, the F18 class was attracting up to 150 boats and crews to their world championships. Since then, a limit has been placed on attendance (max 150), and therefore qualifier rounds for the world championships are held worldwide.
Currently the F18 class is serviced by 11 professional boatbuilders, each of which designed and builds their own boat for the class. Because the F18 class is a Formula class, any boat that adheres to the limited set of general design specifications may participate in all F18 races. This has led to a score of homebuilders and professional builders to design their own F18 boats and race them in this class.
The F18 class also uses an equalizing system to keep heavy crews competitive with light crews. Lightweight crews are required to sail with smaller jib and spinnaker sails, giving them less sail drive.
The class around the world
These F18 boats are equipped with asymmetric spinnakers, and as a result they require a skilled and physically fit crew to be competitive. However, many crews also use this catamaran for purely recreational sailing. Despite their heavy construction, the F18 boats are quite fast, and the skill level in this F18 class is second only to the Olympic Tornado class. Olympic catamaran sailors can often be seen participating in F18 racing.
The F18 class has full racing circuits in many places around the globe. Several thousand boats have been sold over the years. The F18 class is a fully respected member of the main international catamaran classes, alongside the A-cat, Tornado and Hobie 16. These four classes make up the top in a sports catamaran scene that contains tens and tens of sub classes. The F18 class had earned this position within a timescale of only seven years (1993 - 2000) and continues to grow.
The Formula 18 class was the first sports catamaran class to use the identifier "formula" and "F" in the name. In this respect, and in its government of boats, it is similar to the F1 car and motor racing. The success of the F18 class during the 1990s quickly led to a proliferation of other formula classes like the F20 and F16 classes. The identifiers "formula" and "F" were first well known in the early 1980s in relation to the bigger boats like the F40 catamaran, F60 trimaran, F28 and others. None of those classes, however, are classified as sports or beach catamarans. As an example, the F40 was 12 m (39 ft) long and required a full crew to race.
- International F18 webpage
- North American F18 webpage
- UK F18 webpage
- Dutch F18 webpage
- Australian F18 webpage
- German F18 webpage
- Italian F18 webpage
- Canadian F18 webpage
- Norwegian F18 webpage
- French F18 webpage
- Finnish F18 webpage
- Swedish F18 webpage
- San Francisco Bay Area F18 webpage
Active Formula 18 Sailing Groups and Clubs