Gunboat G4 with UptiP Foils

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Doug Lord, May 12, 2014.

  1. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    I'm afraid I would have to agree with you CT in this matter. Foilers are fun, and a fascinating technology to develop even further.

    But would I want to be betting on this foiling future as a production boat builder?..... I'm afraid not. There are just not enough unit numbers out there to warrant volume production.

    And how many of those high-dollar clients are there that would want the 'same-old' design that you just produced last week,....no, with there money they will probably want an even newer rendition,.... which just means another expensive development program for each new boat.

    Can't make much money like that. And just one little cog-up in these successive programs can wreak havoc on one's financial stability. I suspect that is what Gunboat is going thru right now,...a bit over-extended, and maybe lacking enough new clients with high dollars to spend,...the combination of both? Hope they pull out of it.
     
  2. OzFred
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    OzFred Senior Member

    A foiler has some serious issues to overcome when being considered as a cruising yacht. The foils need to be kept very clean to work efficiently, they'd need to be cleaned almost daily and would need to be handled with kid gloves. Foiling is only really comfortably possible on a couple of points of sail in good conditions. The vast majority of cruising yachts spend most of their time under power or power assisted, where foils offer no real benefit.

    Foiling cruisers are probably in the same camp as canting keel cruisers—prospective owners decide that the additional cost of foiling capability is simply not worth it, they'd rather put it toward creature comforts or just not spend it.

    Now as a racing vessel, that's a whole different story…
     
  3. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    I think there is tremendous potential for foiling cruiser/racers and for cruisers with retractable foils. The proof that a hydrofoil cruiser can work is almost 50 years old with the 20,000 miles sailed by Wiliwaw:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cYXxZiL4B8
     
  4. OzFred
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    OzFred Senior Member

    Potential for what? Not sales.

    The issues have been stated well enough already in this thread, the G4 doesn't solve them, nor did the Wiliwaw (though it solved some). Even with Moore's Law, 50 years from one (one-off) generation to the next (is there a second yet? this one's already been resold hasn't it?) means it's another 30 or so to the next. The G4 an expensive toy for someone with serious cash for not just the initial purchase, but ongoing maintenance and upkeep.

    If someone offered me a ride I'd accept in an instant. But even if I could afford it, I wouldn't buy one unless there was a good racing scene. They're just too impractical to be a cruiser.
     
  5. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

    As a loss leader then I can see the place for the G4 in the Gunboat lineup but from any other perspective it seems way too much of a niche product to pay for its own tooling and complex build process. The Gunboat product is high end but the numbers produced are tiny compared to cruising and more moderate cruiser/racer type catamarans.

    What takes away from the loss leader concept in this case is production quantities of Gunboats are so low it's hard to see where they will build in enough margin to make up for the loss. Which may go a long way to explaining the Chapter 11.
     
  6. OzFred
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    OzFred Senior Member

    Perhaps not so much a loss leader as a hero marque to provide a halo effect to the genuine cruiser range. Probably a good (certainly brave) idea, just not implemented well and ultimately didn't deliver the sales they were hoping for.

    That's not to criticise the quality of the boat at all, just how Gunboat went about using it to promote the brand.
     
  7. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    G4

    Saying the G4 isn't implemented well is just not factual! The design, engineering and construction of the boat are state of the art and second to none. And the boat is being built by and sold by Holland Composites in the Netherlands. You have no idea how many of the G4's have been sold by Gunboat or Holland. The second boat with many improvements(as described earlier in this thread) should be done early in 2016.
    It represents a major achievement in foiler design by including amenities most people(some still do) thought would be impossible for a foiler. It is a direction in foiler design we will see a lot more of particularly in smaller boats with easy to sail(foil) and comfort being major design criteria on some new boats.
     
  8. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    While I love the G4, and really appreciate the work that went into it I doubt it's commercial value. I think a full foiling cruising boat is a bit of a stretch, but I think as a proof of concept it is brilliant.

    In the near term I can see how a constant camber C foil would be a substantial addition to a performance cruiser though. Lifting 75% of the hull weight would go a long way to adding speed.
     
  9. catsketcher
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    catsketcher Senior Member

    I don't buy the foiling cruiser thing, what about weight? Dave Keiper may have cruised Williwaw but if you read his book Hydrofoil voyager you will see that he almost never foiled offshore. He did credit his twin rudder stern foil with stopping a pitchpole but that is about the only useful thing his foils did on the entire trip to and from New Zealand. Dave sailed slowly IIRC he averaged about 130 miles a day - okay but not fast at all.

    The G4 showed how hard it is to foil for even a super modern cruising cat. Having a fully alert,large and on the ball crew is not part of cruising. Having a stripped out boat with no really galley is not either. This boat was nothing like any cruiser I have seen. Could the whole crew have lived on board and foiled for two weeks of sailing up the coast?

    Multihulls make such good cruisers not because of high top speeds but because of their slightly higher (than monos) higher average speeds and a lot else. Whilst we debate the merits of the Gunboat we miss out on the real reason the boats didn't take over the world - it is because speed doesn't sell. It never has.

    The speed delusion is one of the perennial great misconceptions we live by in the multi scene, but most cruising multis are SLOW. My 38 footer driven by me - ex racer - goes about 8 knots on average and I haven't been passed by any other cruiser for years. When people get attracted to multis they get attracted to cats - not tris - because cats are slightly faster downhill, have wonderful divided layout, don't roll, don't lean, are shoal draft, can take the ground, have lots of storage and are easy as anything to sail downwind (reacher please).

    The message on the lack of Gunboat sales is simple. Speed doesn't sell. It never really has. Simplicity, fun, comfort, economy and value sell. That is why we have hundreds of big fat cats and only small numbers of fast ones. For us tragics, speed is the thing, but for the majority foiling will not be on their radar. The future is fat, slowish, production and roomy. We may not like it but that is what the people with the money seem to want.
     
  10. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

    I agree, the original renders were released with a C foil installed. It seemed a much more practical approach and would still have been fast. The performance of the boat is only mid field and I'd not be surprised if it was beaten by a fairly standard and basic non foiling racing F40 trimaran or catamaran (which is its performance target). On the other hand the G4 has some pretty basic interior appointments to justify the "cruising" tag.

    For the cost of a G4 (700k?) you could buy yourself a GC32 for your foiling thrills (approx 250k?) and have an active circuit to race in, with the spare change (450k) you could also buy yourself a good functional cruising catamaran with proper amenities and payload. I thought Paul Larsen's write up of when the G4 was competing in the Caribbean was interesting reading.

    http://sailinganarchy.com/2015/04/18/random-acts-of-flying/
     
  11. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    G4

    Corley, I had missed that article ,thanks!
    Whether anyone feels a need to "tag" the G4 as a cruiser, a racer or a foiler-cruiser-racer, it is a new kind of foiler-not designed for maximum top end but designed to be able to provide the thrill of foiling on a boat you can sleep onboard after having a meal fixed on the boat. A foiler with auxiliary power!
    It represents the beginning of a new "class" of foiler and a new way to enjoy sailing. Maybe soon we'll see the California 45 foiler-cruiser-racer by Morrelli and Melvin? And, as I mentioned previously, the idea of producing a foiler designed for ease of sailing and comfort is here to stay.
    I think there is great potential for the G4 to do well in sales-we'll see.......
     
  12. OzFred
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    OzFred Senior Member

    But no one said that.

    That is what people are saying, ad nausium. The boat is great, beautiful, wonderful, blah blah blah, but the idea that it will sell as a fast cruiser flawed.
     
  13. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    G4

    =======
    Did I misunderstand?!
     
  14. OzFred
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    OzFred Senior Member

    Yes.

    I was saying that strategy of using the boat to promote sales was poorly implemented (perhaps executed is a better word), not the boat itself. I'm not criticising the strategy or intent either, just how they went about it.
     

  15. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

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