Hailed by its builders, UAE-based ENATA Industries, as the world’s first production foiling yacht, the ‘Foiler’ had its world debut during the Dubai International Boat Show in March.
Speaking to IBI, chief operations manager Mostafa Agib El Nahta described how the project is progressing: “We are bridging the gap between foiling sailing yachts – which in recent years have made large advances in foiling technology – and motorboating, which has not developed the concept of foiling to the same extent.
“One of our key drivers for the project was to deliver the ultimate foiling machine, without any compromise on the sailing experience and handling. We also focused on the performance and maintenance of the yacht whilst delivering an environment friendly boat. We could reduce harmful emissions to the environment both during manufacture and in the use of the boat.
Our manufacturing process uses resin-infused epoxy and carbon fibre for both the foils and the hull, which reduces weight and the quantity of material used as well as avoiding emissions during the manufacturing process. Our manufacturing plant in the Hamriyah Free Zone of Sharjah UAE has the latest technology such as five-axis milling machines and robot machines to improve manufacturing efficiency.”
Company chairman Sylvain Vieujot described the performance of the yacht: “The Foiler delivers a smooth and exhilarating ride for the passengers due to its foiling system that allows the yacht to fly at up to 1.5m above the sea surface at speeds over 17kt. The green footprint of the yacht is enhanced when the yacht is fully foiling as the efficiency gain over conventional yachts is 20% at low speed and in excess of 50% at high speed. A good example of the efficiency gained is that the maximum speed for the yacht in conventional mode is 24kt, while using the foils it can achieve 40kt using the same power.
“Propulsion is by twin 320hp diesel engines driving generators with the final drive to the propellers via two very thin drag reducing electric motors mounted on the aft foil. The yacht can operate in a fully electric mode without the generators for a short time using its lithium battery bank. The foils retract for shallow water use and for berthing. Our maximum foiling speed is capped at 40kt and at a cruising speed of 30kt when we can obtain a range of 130Nm.”
According to the company there is interest from leisure customers in Europe as well from paramilitary boat operators in the Middle East such as customs, police, coastguard and Navy.