Hydrofoil powerboat history

Discussion in 'Powerboats' started by tburd, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. tburd
    Joined: Sep 2015
    Posts: 1
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: USA

    tburd New Member

    Hi, hoping to get some help and learn more about the history of hydrofoil powerboats. My background is mostly in sailing, where foils are becoming more popular across a range of racing and recreational boats. I'm curious as to why there hasn't been the same level of adoption in the powerboat community. The benefits of reduced drag and improved seakeeping should be equally appreciated.

    I'm aware of the past commercial ferry projects as well as a few custom builds. The most recent good example being the Hydros team:
    #3 HY-X

    Why isn't a ~30' foiling center console a thing?
     
  2. NavalSArtichoke
    Joined: Oct 2013
    Posts: 431
    Likes: 8, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 83
    Location: GulfCoast

    NavalSArtichoke Senior Member

    Hydrofoils have been around more than 100 years, starting with experimental craft built by Thornycroft. Alexander Graham Bell also experimented with an early hydrofoil boat just before and after WWI.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrofoil

    I think the reason hydrofoils aren't more common is in order to work, you must be at speed all the time, and there are times when powerboats are obliged to throttle back for safety.

    Hydrofoils are expensive to build and operate, and if you damage the foils, all the supposed advantages disappear. The Wiki article discusses other reasons why foils have declined in popularity.
     
  3. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 13,898
    Likes: 118, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 1362
    Location: Cocoa Beach, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  4. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,009
    Likes: 133, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Like any particular type of boat, hydrofoils have their place. They are not a one size fits all solution. Back in the 70's the US Coast Guard borrowed a couple of hydrofoils from the Navy. They were great for pouncing on smugglers. But they were very expensive to run and maintain. They eat fuel like there is no limit to the oil on earth. So they gave them back to Navy with a Thanks, but no thanks.

    The idea of sailing hydrofoils has also been around for a long time, but they are tricky beasts and very load sensitive. If all you want to do is set speed records, fine, but for cruising they are not appropriate.
     
  5. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 13,898
    Likes: 118, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 1362
    Location: Cocoa Beach, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Williwaw


    Just a point about sailing hydrofoils:In addition to Williwaw years ago(1970-74), the new Gunboat is designed as a coastal cruiser/racer. Video of Williwaw that sailed 20,000 miles much of it on hydrofoils:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cYXxZiL4B8
     
  6. BMcF
    Joined: Mar 2007
    Posts: 933
    Likes: 39, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 361
    Location: Maryland

    BMcF Senior Member

    There have been a few smaller hydrofoil craft built..some by us. In fact..we're still building them; working on one as I post this.

    But others have already pointed out some of the drawbacks. The really high performance hydrofoil craft are complex, expensive and very sensitive to fouling, loading, etc. But when they are working as designed, yes, they can be remarkable craft from solely a "performance in a seaway" standpoint. That said...remarkable craft were in abundance during the "boom years" of high-speed passenger craft development and the operation of them resulted in far more bankruptcies than successes...unfortunately for those of us who design them.
     
  7. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 13,898
    Likes: 118, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 1362
    Location: Cocoa Beach, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  8. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 13,898
    Likes: 118, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 1362
    Location: Cocoa Beach, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Attached Files:

  9. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 13,898
    Likes: 118, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 1362
    Location: Cocoa Beach, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  10. htlarsen
    Joined: Oct 2016
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Seattle

    htlarsen New Member

    [​IMG][​IMG]See Talaria IV at talaria.yolasite.com
    It is equal to or better than the planing hull it was derived from in every regard. It is faster, far smoother ride, lower fuel consumption, dockable, trailerable. Its struts are far stronger than a propeller, propeller shaft, or outdrive thus they have never been damaged in 25 years of flying.
     
  11. intrepid71
    Joined: Jan 2005
    Posts: 92
    Likes: 4, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 39
    Location: Connecticut

    intrepid71 Junior Member

    I think reason hydrofoils are gaining popularity with sailboats but not powerboats has to do with speed and power. A sailboat has limited power and hydrofoils can significantly increase the top speed that a given craft can achieve. In the context of racing, that speed potential may outweigh the increased cost and complexity of a hydrofoil system.

    Conventional (non-supercavitating) hydrofoils are limited by cavitation to around 50 knots. Achieving 50 knots with a planing powerboat is generally not a problem. If you want to go faster add more horsepower. Hydrofoils aren't a cost effective way to make a powerboat faster. Horsepower is much cheaper.

    The advantages of a hydrofoil are a smoother ride and better efficiency at certain speeds. That is a harder sell.

    There is one type of powerboat that has limited power and that is the electric powerboat. In the context of an electric powerboat, the advantages of a hydrofoil start to look worthwhile.

    That is why designs such as these are popping up:

    https://quadrofoil.com/
    http://candelaspeedboat.com/

    I am interested in the smooth ride that a hyrdofoil can produce, but for most powerboaters that is going to be a tough sell.
     
  12. htlarsen
    Joined: Oct 2016
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Seattle

    htlarsen New Member

    [​IMG]

    Recreational boating is a sociological phenomenon. Thus reasons for a craft's success should be in sociological terms. There is a principle of marketing related to the "killer app" concept found in computing. "A distinctly different technology can not be sold into an existing market without a compelling reason."
    The compelling reason hydrofoils have flowerer in sail boat racing is that they win races. For a person involved in sail boat racing, winning is compelling. It is the same reason that hydrofoils are used in solar powered boat races.
    If you check you will find that the cost of a 50 knot boat is at least twice that of a similar 25 knot boat. Your right, horse power is relatively cheap, but building a boat that can handle 50 knots is not. This cost difference is roughly equal to the additional cost of a hydrofoil system.
    The hydrofoils quadrofoil, Candelspeedboat, and Foiltwister and several others have been developed. They typically have zero sales, in a few cases they have sold a few craft, but never enough, so far, to sustain a company.
     
  13. shipwright
    Joined: Oct 2016
    Posts: 34
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Australia

    shipwright Junior Member

    Nustar Foils

    Hi Troops have to dip my paddle in here.
    we started building the Nustar cats in 87, hull form is symmetrical planing hull,as most of them were commercial vessels we had to cope with bigger and bigger loads. so we designed a foil fabricated from aluminium.
    These were an incredible success on the 15m model fitted a single foil in the tunnel about 30% of waterline from for,d my theory being if we could lift the forepart of the hull leaving the props well immersed. The reason for the foils was not speed but the ability to carry full loads in a fair sea. second boat with foil on delivery was able to maintain 19 knots from gold coast to Yamba against a 25kn.south east, the boat performed very well no slamming ,having said that no one was moving about. Decelerating at around 10kn before she would come of the foil.
    we fitted our foils to many cats to help overcome the tunnel slamming..
    Shipwright:)
     
  14. intrepid71
    Joined: Jan 2005
    Posts: 92
    Likes: 4, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 39
    Location: Connecticut

    intrepid71 Junior Member

    I agree with what you are saying. It does come down to marketing and coming up with a compelling reason to use a distinctly different technology. Candela has done a pretty good job of marketing their boat not as a hydrofoil, but as a Tesla for the water. The hydrofoil just happens to be one of the technologies they are employing to meet their performance goals. They claim to have 30 preorders. I have been following their progress on the news section of their website. http://candelaspeedboat.com/news/ Although they haven't come out and said so directly, it appears they are having trouble achieving adequate control with their current foil system. From the brief clip they have posted, the boat gets up to speed, but barely gets out of the water and appears to be rolling back and forth. They announced bringing a new hydrofoil expert on board and developing a new foil system for a second prototype. I would take that as a confirmation that the first prototype didn't work as planned. I hope they can get it worked out, it would be nice to see that make it as a successful product.

    By the way, I checked out the video on the Talaria website. Seeing your boat cutting through choppy water at speed while staying absolutely solid as a rock is really impressive. That is what a hydrofoil can do that a normal boat can't.
     

  15. WestVanHan
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 1,378
    Likes: 56, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 746
    Location: Vancouver

    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    I was on a Prout Panther 64 powercat with the Hysucat foils,and reading the stats on the consumption vs speed it was very impressive.

    IIRC top speed went from 30 to 45 knots (somewhere in that range) with no more fuel burn.
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.