007’s New Toy
The Med’s coolest launch flies above the surface.
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.