SEAir Press release, January, 27th, 2017. “One day, all boats will fly” (Éric Tabarly, 1987).
On the afternoon of January 25, 2017, off the coast of Lorient, France, SEAir’s Mini 747 flew for it’s second sea trip, the first with enough wind to allow flight. A unique performance, and to our knowledge, the first time in the world a racing monohull boat was able to achieve stable and balanced flight thanks to foil technology. This opens up many new perspectives for the mechanical knowledge of flight and a larger access to foils for all.
This new step achieved by the Lorient based start-up SEAir, is essential in nautical innovation. While foils are generally used to relieve the hull of sailboats – as seen during the Vendée Globe 2016 -, SEAir placed one of
these multidirectional appendages on their Mini 747, allowing it to fly
above the waves, at a speed of 15 knots with a wind of 8 knots. The Mini 747, a ground-breaking prototype designed and built by architect David Raison, was transformed into a full-size demonstrator by SEAir, assisted by David Raison, and modified by Thierry Fagnent at the AMCO Concept shipyard. The former owner of Giancalo Pedote was also called upon for his perfect knowledge of the boat. SEAir was also assisted by Hugh Welbourn of Dynamic Stability Systems. The portside foil of the Mini 747 was set up with eight deformation sensors. The collected data will be analysed in detail to find the best technical solutions to optimise the production and use of future foils. A control unit, patented by SEAir, allows to adjust the
foil on four axis, with several degrees of freedom. The starboard foil, still under development will be even more evolved than the current portside foil.
During the first trimester of 2017, trials planned by SEAir on their Mini 747 will allow to test various offshore take off and stabilisation settings. After which will most like come some attempts to break records to ensure that the foils and their systems can withstand gruelling and durable conditions.