Wfoil 18 Albatross: WW1 seaplane with modern hydrofoil design can hit 50 knots
We're not quite sure why the sudden interest in hydrofoil innovation in Slovenia, but last week's Internautica event saw the release of two different and quite radical recreational hydrofoil craft. The first was the Quadrofoil electric hydrofoil sportscar for the water, and the second is the wFoil 18 Albatross, a cross between a WWI seaplane and a modern hydrofoil which is capable of 50 knots.
The work of pilot, flying instructor, yacht and airplane builder Tomaž Zore, the wFoil 18 Albatross is designed to merge the feeling of flying with sailing.
The wFoil 18 Albatross is actually two boats in one - fitted with a 75 kW Rotax 912 engine, the two-seater is capable of 50 kts, and by removing the engine and adding the sail, you get a sailing craft with an almost unbelievable top speed of 40 kts.
A special 60 knot version of the sailing craft is being readied for an attempt on Hydroptere's 51.36 knots world sailing speed record.
The Albatross carries two people and wFoil claims a trailer-to-water time of under 30 minutes for the hybrid seaplane-hydrofoil.
If you think the wFoil 18 Albatross is radical, the company's start-up funding is equally so. It is searching for 12 people who will pre-pay a less-than-market price for the first twelve wFoil 18 Albatross produced, so it can kickstart production of 20 units a year.
The wFoil 18 Albatross ZERO (indicating it is one of the initial "Series Zero" prototype series) will be based on the prototype wFoil 18 Albatross, which had its maiden sea flight on March 21 at Portorož, Slovenia.
This first test at sea is documented in the video below.
About the Author
Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks.
All articles by Mike Hanlon
That engine looks more like a Rotax 503 with intake and exhaust silencers...probably very quiet. Nice design.
The main sail has no boom in the picture. If it did - it would knock out the 2 passengers. The engine was a nice touch.
Design needs to be modified as with its present width it would be impossible to dry launch or to put in a conventional boat slip at a marina. If owners have to have their own pier built to be able to use the craft it is going to limit the market so a handful of very rich sailors who have many other options.
Design needs to have collapsing arms to reduce its overall width for storage and to make it trailerable.
There is nothing particularly difficult in designing a boom with a curve in it. For the design having a rigid wing be both the mast and sail would be efficient. It would be the first time I saw a spinnaker mounted on such a wing but I can not think of a reason that should not work.
If you had watched the video you would have seen that the booms come off so the only problem with trailering her is the time it takes to assemble on or near the ramp.
Anyone who has sailed a catamaran knows the danger of dagger boards when coming into shore. Most hydrofoils I've seen are launched from a dock or deep water. There usefulness is great but they need to be practical.
All those round pipes don't help the speed. They should be oval or aerofoil shaped to reduce air drag.
re; Gregg Eshelman
At the speeds and volumes specified it would not be cost effective to engineer and manufacture out of round booms.
My name is Benjamin Hostnikar, and I study at the Faculty of Management, Koper. I am carrying out a survey which is going to enable me to finish my study successfully. I will be very grateful if you participate in this survey. The survey is about wFoil.The survey is completely anonymous. Thank you for your cooperation. The survey is available on the link (English version): http://www.1ka.si/a/17983
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