Turbine-powered, composites-intensive hydrofoil nears reality

US-based Hydrofoils Inc. has built a subscale version of the 50T, a 15.2m twin turbine-powered hydrofoil that makes significant use of composites.

Hydrofoils Inc. (Lake Worth, FL, US) has built a subscale version of the 50T, a 50-ft/15.2m twin turbine-powered hydrofoil. When built at full scale, this five-passenger, 100-plus-knots, twin marine turbine-powered, lightweight boat will be, says the company, stable, safe and comfortable, and can be ABS, DNV and HSC certified. The main center hull and the two outboard interchangeable engine module covers will be fabricated from a carbon fiber/epoxy composite. The foils will be aluminum and stainless steel.

Hydrofoils says draft of the boat, based on tests with the subscale version, will be less than 0.46m running (foils extended) or static (foils folded). The boat will be operational in both modes with foils normally retracted while approaching dock or shore. The company says such shallow-water boats use about 50% less fuel than other boats of the same size and power, since they do not displace water. Hydrofoils also notes that the boat offers increased safety and comfort because it does not ride on waves the same way a traditionally hulled boat does. The gas turbine/electric hybrid drive system for the boat will be manufactured by Turbine Marine (Pompano Beach, FL, US) and will provide a total of 3,600 hp at maximum cruising speed, and up to 400 hp in electric drive for harbor maneuvering.