007’s New Toy

The Med’s coolest launch flies above the sur­face.

Boating NZ - - Contents - BY LAWRENCE SCHÄF­FLER

Mak­ing its world de­but at the Dubai In­ter­na­tional Boat Show ear­lier this year, the 9.6m Foiler’s equipped with re­tractable car­bon-fi­bre hy­dro­foils. When de­ployed, the boat flies 1.5m above the wa­ter.

Enata says us­ing the boat is easy – it’s just like a sports car. You press a but­ton to de­ploy the foils, push the throt­tles for­ward and you’re on your way. The foils are able to han­dle waves up to 3m (Force 5 to 6), while pro­vid­ing a com­for­torable ride for up to eight pas­sen­gers (skip­per and seven guests). The foils are re­tracted in more ex­treme con­di­tions, and the ves­sel is used as a con­ven­tional mono­hull.

The foils of­fer a wide op­er­a­tional win­dow – the boat starts to foil at 12 knots and is com­pletely out of the wa­ter at 17 knots. In flight mode max­i­mum speed is 40 knots.

Enata gen­eral man­ager Alois Vieu­jot says the de­vel­op­ment of the Foiler was a very nat­u­ral step. “We are a fam­ily of sailors and kite-surfers and have been foil­ing with kites and cata­ma­rans for about 10 years.

“We pro­duce large com­pe­ti­tion and pro­fes­sional drones, as well as rac­ing sail­ing boats and kite­foils. The Foiler is re­ally a blend of all those tech­nolo­gies. To start this project, we merged our R&D with the Swiss com­pany Hy­dros. It had al­ready pro­duced a work­ing foil­ing pro­to­type in 2015.”

The Foiler switches be­tween foil­ing and con­ven­tional boat­ing mode in a few sec­onds. When moored or in a ma­rina, the foils are out of the wa­ter. That way they stay dry and clean, thereby re­duc­ing main­te­nance.

Hull de­sign en­sures a smooth take-off and land­ing, bring­ing ad­van­tages such as com­fort and ex­cel­lent fuel ef­fi­ciency thanks to min­i­mal drag.

A hy­brid propul­sion sys­tem com­prises two diesel en­gines and a large bat­tery for the elec­tric drives. The com­bi­na­tion of these tech­nolo­gies make the Foiler about 20-50 per­cent more fuel ef­fi­cient than con­ven­tional launches of a sim­i­lar size. Users can opt for com­pletely silent mode (full elec­tric) for up to 10 min­utes at 10 knots, with a larger range at lower speeds. This is ideal for ma­noeu­vring around a ma­rina.

Foils also of­fer the ad­van­tage of a min­i­mal wake – which means less ir­ri­ta­tion for moored ves­sels and less im­pact on sen­si­tive en­vi­ron­ments along the shore­line. And be­cause of the hy­brid sys­tem and the boat be­ing above the wa­ter, it gen­er­ates very lit­tle noise. With­out any wa­ter hit­ting the hull, noise lev­els in­side are also very low. “The best word to de­scribe driv­ing the Foiler is tran­quil­ity,” says Vieu­jot. “It’s like sit­ting on a fly­ing car­pet – sweep­ing over the ocean.”

“It’s like sit­ting on a fly­ing car­pet – sweep­ing over the ocean.”

OP­PO­SITE TOP The foils fold up for low-speed ma­noeu­vres.TOP No, the Bond girl is not in­cluded in the pur­chase.

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