As the most recent America's Cup demonstrated, sailboats can run fast and make razor-sharp turns on hydrofoils. But until the 31-foot Foiler from Enata made its debut in March, hydrofoils and motorboats never seemed like a good match.
At the Dubai Boat Show, the Foiler, which is built in the United Arab Emirates, lifted out of the water at 18 knots, accelerating to 40 knots on carbon-fiber foils. Riding 5 feet above the water, the Foiler handled tight turns with precision.
The curved foils use water pressure to lift above the surface. The Foiler can run in 6-foot seas in 30 knots of wind with a smoother ride than a traditional boat, according to the builder, because the hull does not touch the water.
Diesel-electric propulsion — including twin 320 hp BMW engines, electric generators and “torpedoes” at the base of the rear foils — is what makes this boat work. Sensors monitoring water conditions change the boat’s trim in different sea states. The hybrid motor runs silently at 10 knots on battery power while reportedly offering 20 percent better fuel efficiency than traditional power plants at speed.