Bieker Boats and Glosten to develop advanced hydrofoil craft

Two US companies have joined forces to develop advanced hydrofoil craft. Bieker Boats has years of experience designing fast foil-born boats, including work on the foils for the America’s Cup boats, while Glosten has worked on the design of passenger vessels for public and private clients over the past 50 years.

The joint venture team claims that their ultra-efficient concept requires less than half the installed power of a typical passenger catamaran, resulting in a 50% reduction in fuel consumption. When compared to the latest foil-assisted, low-wake small passenger vessels, the design achieves three times the passenger miles per gallon. The design team achieved this by combining the proven technologies of ultra-efficient hydrofoils, lightweight carbon fiber hull construction, and modern geared propulsion equipment.

The concept uses a novel arrangement of central and aft foils with deep struts supporting the horizontal foil. The drive to the propellers is taken by a vertical shaft to the propellers mounted on the aft foil. The struts and foils are constructed of high temperature cured carbon fibre laminates, achieving the same strength and stiffness of high strength steel at 20% of the weight. These advancements in foil design and manufacturing are claimed to be a spin-off from experience with the latest America’s Cup foiling yachts.

Glosten’s director of business development, Kenneth Lane, commented: “Our team is thrilled to offer this proven high-speed hydrofoil technology. The reduced energy consumption results in significant emissions reductions per passenger mile and facilitates optional use of plug-in electrical approaches.”

“We are excited to apply modern high-performance composite design and construction to the world of commercial vessels. Weight savings and operating cost savings are as closely linked in hydrofoiling craft as they are in aircraft,” said Paul Bieker, naval architect of Bieker Boats.