Mar 29, 2022
Recently, I read a very interesting story about a two-tube pontoon boat that had been modified by adding hydrofoils on the tubes. It was both faster and more fuel-efficient than it had been before the foils were added, and it handled better too.
You know how a two-tube pontoon pushes the outside bow tube when you turn at speed – well, the foil-equipped pontoon turned better, banking into the turn. Foils added so much to the performance and handling that even if the foil system cost several thousand dollars, it would be less expensive than adding a bigger engine to get the same speed.
Last week in this column, I asked the question; how are we (as an industry) preparing for the arrival of electric boats?
We are seeing a steady stream of news stories about new electric vehicles. Last week, the city of Windsor, Ontario, together with the Federal and the Ontario provincial government, announced that a huge new battery plant will be built in Windsor.
It seems like electric motors and lithium-ion batteries are coming on fast for cars, trucks, lawn mowers, small recreational vehicles – just about everything that is now gasoline-powered will become electric.
For boating, the amazing efficiency of hydrofoils make the electric motors much more practical. Months ago, we published information about a Swedish firm called Candela. The company recruited Michel Kermarec, the French hydrodynamics expert from the American Magic, America’s Cup team. Kermarec was to lead the hydrodynamics team at Candela to improve the efficiency of Candela’s future electric hydrofoil boats.
Even at this early stage, Candela says its electric hydrofoiling Candela Seven is the most efficient speedboat ever built. The 7.9-meter (26’ LOA) runabout cruises at 25 knots, tops out at 30 knots and its range is 50 nautical miles.
Flying on two submerged foils that are retractable, the design of the boat itself looks fairly conventional and it leaves almost no wake, has the power to pull a waterskier and it flies above the waves and bumps.
I have yet to see a Candela Seven in person, but I feel that foil-equipped electric boats could be a big part the future. To get there though, how will our industry accommodate electric boats, particularly around the question of charging?
Also, how will we prepare to get boats equipped with foils, out of the water on our forklifts or trailers? What kind of modifications will have to be made to the storage yards and racks to handle a boat with foils?
All this seems to be coming fast, but it’s not here yet. The thing is – I think our customers will embrace all this new tech as soon as it’s available. I suspect that the green-goodness and early adopter cachet is going to be very powerful!
Andy Adams – Editor