Electra_Sport_20250Nov2By Graham Jones

What do you get when you cross an Ideal 18 with a 505...? After two action-packed test-drives on Lake Ontario last summer, my answer is speed, excitement, convenience - and the new Electra Sport 20. Hot of the drawing board of the design team of sailmakers Hubert Raudaschl of St. Wolfgang, Austria, and Heider Funck of Toronto, this sleek sport-boat made its Canadian debut as it screamed around the race course in Toronto's Humber Bay this past summer. Four years ago, Funck began to dream about building a small performance-oriented, One-Design keelboat that would be fast, easy-to-handle and also simple to pack up at the end of a day's racing.

What Funck is now marketing in Canada and Europe is something akin to an Ideal 18 on steroids. In his words, "we are hoping that the Electra will be appealing to so-called Masters sailors who have graduated from the Laser class and are looking for a new boat to race One Design." In its first incarnation, the Electra was conceived as a one-person One Design with a 100 per cent, self-tacking jib on a small furler and a mega-roach, fully battened main. With a tight set of class rules that will force owners to race their boats out of the builder's box, Funck envisions his boat sailing in a pure One-Design setting in both single-handed and double-handed classes.

Ironically, the first Electra sold in Canada (three are currently sailing in Austria) is being used for cruising (not racing) on Lake Muskoka in Ontario's cottage country. And in reality the Electra will be a fantastic cottage boat on larger lakes like Muskoka because it excels in the lighter airs and flat water that typify inland sailing. While Funck originally intended the Electra to sail with a maxi-roach main and self-tacker, this sail plan has been modified since launch time to fine-tune the boat's overall performance. With its original sail plan (the powerful main and small jib combo more often seen on performance catamarans like the Tornado), the ES lacked the forward punch to power the Electra upwind in a chop. As it was, the small-battened jib could not re-accelerate the boat if the bow hit a wave the wrong way. To give the boat more horse-power, Funck has more recently added a larger overlapping 130 per cent Mylar jib.

I tested the Electra with both headsail combinations on separate occasions, first in mid-summer and then later in the autumn and found that the combination of the bigger lapper, as it is called, and less-radical roach profile on the main is the most balanced, all-purpose setup. After he returned to the loft floor to cut-down the roach of the main and design the new lapper. Funck began experimenting with a spinnaker for the Electra Sport. With new-found boats peed upwind, the Electra's downwind legs still needed turbo-charging. While white-sailing in club races, Funck found he could sail significantly faster off-wind than a Shark skipered by one of the world's purportedly craftiest Shark sailors, Sid Dakin. Still not satisfied with this showing, Funck rigged a pole and spin-gear and went out sail-testing with a slightly modified Shark spinnaker he had built at his loft. While I did not have an opportunity to sail with the chute, I did get a chance to watch a video of the Sport in flying sails mode. Some of the thrilling footage taken from a chase boat showed the Electra tearing along in perfect control on a screaming three-sail reach in around 15 knots of breeze (in the strong puffs, the tender was definitely the chase-boat).

Even in these moderate conditions the Electra appeared on the edge of sailing through is blow wave and as Funck pumped the mainsheet, he seemed prepared to catch a plane to double-digit boat speeds! The broad smiles on the faces of the skipper and crew as they later surfed on the rooster-tail of the photo-boat, suggested that the Electra was breaking sailing's equivalent of the sound barrier that cold October weekend. From, the view on the power boat, it wasn't hard to notice the impressive wall of sail flying from the Electra's single swept-spreader rig (an Isomat section one smaller than that used on the Ideal 18).

In spite of its large sail plan, the Electra Sport is surprisingly stiff. With this big multihull-style rig, the boat will scoot along in the predominantly light air of inland sailing in and around the Great Lakes. In heavy air, two crew with legs in hiking straps and bums over the side in half-hike positions will be able to keep the Electra under control without fear of the dreaded wipeout. The 300 lbs of lead in the boat's elliptical keel also make the job of keeping the Electra flat a lot easier on the back. With new wheels off of the wind, Funck decided to enter into more local PHRF flying sail club races in the Toronto area. Shortly after, a local boat measurer convinced Funck to measure the Electra for MORC so the boat could race on weekends in Toronto's growing interclub MORC fleet. For the rating conscious, the boat's initial PHRF number is around 230 seconds-a-mile and just above 20 feet in MORC, with a spinnaker and a 130 per cent genoa.

The first time I saw the Electra sailing around the cans last summer was during a breezy (30-knot-plus) interclub point-to-point race. I was charging upwind on a J-35 under a blade and a single reef as the Electra zipped by surfing downwind at high speed. Twelve miles into a 19-mile race the Sport was sitting on top of the MORC fleet racing towards the finish.

Standing beside the boat in its slip, the ES looks low-slung and high tech, with a windowless cuddy-cabin, blunt bow and immaculate tooling and finish. I stepped on the Electra for a second time late in Ontario's sailing season. All afternoon before my test sail on the Electra, flags all along the lakeshore were flying straight off their poles, snapping loudly in a puffy north-est blow. As I pulled on my wet-weather gear, the breeze whistled through the rigging of the boats in the basin in ever-intensifying crescendos. Subconsciously, I was preparing myself for what I though was certain to be a gear-busting, hike-your-brains out, tie-up-at-the-dock-soaked-to-the-bone boat trial. Was I surprised.

With Joe Blair (a sailmaker from Funck's loft), I pushed off from our slip under jib alone, and began to short-tack out between the two rows of docks at the club. Our hoist of the main was made easy due to the Electra's standard lazy-jacks which hold the main neatly on the boom. Furthermore, both main and Genoa halyards travel through Harken deck organizers and lead to the edge of the dog house and are easily accessible to both crew and skipper. After we had the main up, and wailed on the vang, I quickly scanned the rest of the sail controls in the cockpit. Judging from the field of white caps out in front of us, I would have no time to think out in the open.

The Electra's powerful mainsail and mast are controlled by a 4:1 Harken ratcheting fiddle block mounted on a central barney-post. Without a traveller, mainsail twist is controlled reaching and running with a 6:1 purchase that cleats underneath the boom. The cunningham and all other secondary sail controls lead to either side of the hatchway, but are not double-ended to opposite sides of the boat. Genoa sheets lead to a single fairlead and then back to a Harken cam cleat. To help hiking crew re-enter the Electra, the builder, Paul Contouris from P. C. Mould of Erin, Ont., has mounted a flush set of Harken hand-holds. These little units, as we were to find out, came in handy. Before I knew it, we had sailed beyond the lee shore and were quickly accelerating out into in the confused water of Humber Bay.

As it was too late to consider reefing the main, we both dug our boots deeper into the hiking straps and held on for the ride. I immediately discovered that the round gunnels are perhaps one of the Electra's smartest features. These smoothed over the excruciating bum and thigh pain created by hiking on some boats across steep metal toe rails and sharp cockpit coamings and made leaning out comfortable. Out in the lake, we broad reached in gusty 25-knots winds, literally hopping fro wave to wave, surfing down one and popping onto the next. The Electra's flat run aft promoted surfing as we slalomed around the three-foot chop. I was particularly impressed with the responsiveness of the boat's large elliptical rudder as we banged-off a couple of sweeping, windsurfer-type gybes.

The rudder is evenly balanced and consequently the boat never develops any weather helm pull on your steering arm. While the helm of the Electra has a similar feel to that of the J/92, it is almost too balanced and forgiving. Because it doesn't really develop helm, the boat feels like it is always in perfect rim even when it perhaps isn't. It would be simple to induce a bit more feedback in the helm, however, by setting the rudder shaft slightly ore forward in the rudder blade. Although it's difficult to predict how fast we were travelling, based on the size of our boiling wake and my am-I-on-a-keelboat-or-a-Sea-doo? sensation, I imagine that we were surging up to nine or 10 knots.

Because of its large cockpit and open transom, the Electra gave me the impression that I was sailing on a boat much longer than 20 feet. By comparison, the cockpit of a 24-ft Shark, with its nasty high coaming and unfriendly angles, feels like a crowded sandbox. With two of us sitting hip to hip in this long cockpit we had ample room for another, say, Lightning crew if they wanted to come along for the ride! Another plus about the Electra's cockpit is that it kept the two of us almost completely dry even in the hairy conditions we sailed in that blustery afternoon. After what seemed to be barely more than 10 minutes of reaching out in into the lake, the Electra was well on its way across the Lake Ontario towards St. Catharines. As both of us wanted to be packed up before dark, we decided to turn the corner and head home.

Upwind in any small keelboat in more than 20 knots of breeze is never a picnic, but the two of us in a drop-hike position were able to carefully claw our way back to Mimico Creek where we began our test. While our speed was not nearly as impressive as it was between 90 and 180 degrees apparent, we still fought our way upwind smiling all the way. One regret is that Funck has not installed a cockpit floor-mounted traveller to help dump off the Electra's large main in the puffs. However, I'm confident that his and a couple of other hardware upgrades will significantly improve both the layout and sail-control systems of the Electra.

Originally published in Canadian Yachting's Winter 1993 issue.

Specifications

LOA            20 ft.

Beam            6 ft. 3 in.

Draft            3 ft. 3 in.

Ballast            300 lbs.

Weight            750 lbs.

Sail Area            1,095 sq. ft.

 

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
This line-up of Beneteaus can to us from our friends at RCR Yachts in NY State where they are ...
As another harsh Victoria winter came to a close, the deck repair and refinishing continued with ...
The Peterborough Canoe Company was formed in 1892 and began production the following year after ...
On one of the sunny days we had recently, Kyle MacTaggart in Honey Harbour ON fired up the Merc to ...
For all those OnBoard subscribers who have followed along with the maintenance, repairs and ...
We hardly need tell you about the pandemic but it’s worth noting that the marine industry is acting ...
If you’ve been to CORK, you’ve probably seen Tim Irwin. Whether he was organizing volunteers, ...
This brilliant shot comes to us from professional shooter Elle Bruce.  These four sailors are ...
In 2008, Pat and Lynn Lortie said goodbye to their everyday life to pursue their dream; making ...
With old boats every repair seems to uncover something else needing attention.  Removing the ...

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Building on our last two editions (Sealants, and Fibreglass, respectively), Gelcoat is the next ...
After a successful R2Ak and regatta season in 2019, I felt that Pitoraq was due for a major ...
Pause for a moment and ponder this question. How much is your life and your safety at sea worth? ...
Last edition we talked about sealants to perform tasks like bedding and sealing. Other tasks like ...
Over the winter, a many-thousand pound fiberglass, wood or metal shell is held in position by only ...
Since the late 19th century, a debate has raged on the relative merits of diesel fuel over ...
This bag does more than hold your anchor and rode in one tidy little pile. After you’ve anchored ...
Purchase your copy of the BRAND NEW Ports Georgian Bay 2020 Edition at the Toronto International ...
The boat was put on the hard for this winter and were going to follow along with Graham as he ...
In this part, we’ll delve deeper into the other parts of the boat found below the water line: the ...

Shrink Wrap2020 is a year of change – self-isolation, social distancing, quarantine, and working remotely have become the norm. For many, this has been a bitter pill to swallow. Another bitter pill for boaters is the delay of the season. Provincial laws differ – so terms like ‘essential’ aren’t translating widely across the marine world.

In BC, marinas remain open and fuel is available, sometimes with conditions. In Ontario, marinas, boat launches, yacht clubs and the professionals that service the marine industry aren’t considered essential, unless the service and location allows a person to access their permanent residence only accessible by boat.

Read more about Boating in 2020........................

 

  

CY Virtual Video Boat Tours

Virtual Boat ToursWe all love boats and nothing can break us up! So, what better way to spend our time than looking at interesting boats and going aboard in a virtual ride or tour. We have asked our friends at various dealers and manufacturers to help us assemble a one-stop online resource to experience some of the most interesting boats on the market today. Where the CY Team has done a review, we connect you to that expert viewpoint. Our Virtual Show will continue to grow so visit frequently and check it out. If you can’t go boating, you can almost experience the thrill via your screen. Not quite the same, but we hope you enjoy our fine tour collection.

 

Read more about the CY Virtual Boat Tours....................

Destinations

  • Prev
If you have four hours to enjoy a fine tour of one of Canada’s most interesting waterways (let’s ...
Boom & Batten Restaurant is suspended over the water adjacent to the Songhees Walkway and ...
Provincial Boat Havens are those special places to drop anchor in British Columbia’s West Coast and ...
NW Explorations, a Bellingham, Washington-based yacht charter, brokerage, and marine services ...

KingstonBy Amy Hogue

Cruise into the city of Kingston, Ontario, and it will quickly become clear that this city and surrounding waterways have something special. Built around the northern shore of Lake Ontario, Kingston is the place to go if you love to explore new waterways, fantastic views, and exceptional boating opportunities.

Sitting at the intersection of three world-class Canadian bodies of water, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal (Cataraqui River from Kingston to Newboro), the water’s influence is deeply woven into Kingston’s culture and history. 

Read more about Kingston...........

 

Marine Products

  • Prev
Since its introduction last year, the JBL by Harman Marine BassPro 10" Powered Subwoofer (JBLMBP10) ...
Ever since I was a youngster Jeeps of all kinds have fascinated me. It wasn’t until the mid 70s ...
New from Plastimo, this bi-colour backpack in Tarpaulin 500D will keep contents dry from ship to ...
Being a boater can come with certain space restraints for additional items that may make your ...
Whether you are interested in monitoring your vessel’s systems while underway or remotely from your ...
No wires to install down your mast. Transmit to smartphone/tablet. Works with lots of great ...
Vesper Cortex, the advanced multi-station VHF, AIS, monitor with intuitive touchscreen operation is ...
The Handy One Combo is an all-powerful, hands-free lighting solution. It's tough, reliable, ...
The Nebo FIXR features an easy, portable solution for all your everyday tools.
Thru hulls are fantastic for helping you evacuate unwanted water from your hull.  The Dripper ...