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Wfoil 18 Albatross: WW1 seaplane with modern hydrofoil design can hit 50 knots


May 21, 2012

The prototype wFoil 18 Albatross

The prototype wFoil 18 Albatross

Image Gallery (23 images)

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.

The prototype wFoil 18 Albatross

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.

The prototype wFoil 18 Albatross with motor removed and sail fitted

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.

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Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon

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.

22nd May, 2012 @ 09:43 am PDT

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.

22nd May, 2012 @ 10:24 am PDT

re; donwine

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.


re; Calson

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.

22nd May, 2012 @ 12:46 pm PDT

That engine looks more like a Rotax 503 with intake and exhaust silencers...probably very quiet. Nice design.

22nd May, 2012 @ 03:52 pm PDT

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.

22nd May, 2012 @ 04:05 pm PDT

All those round pipes don't help the speed. They should be oval or aerofoil shaped to reduce air drag.

Gregg Eshelman
22nd May, 2012 @ 05:38 pm PDT

re; Gregg Eshelman

At the speeds and volumes specified it would not be cost effective to engineer and manufacture out of round booms.

23rd May, 2012 @ 09:09 am PDT


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):

Benjamin Hostnikar
25th August, 2012 @ 12:37 am PDT
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