The Quadrofoil is the perfect example of intelligent engineering. It was created by three Slovenian designers who decided to take an entirely fresh approach to recreational watercraft design. Amazingly, despite the Quadrofoil’s complexity, the team managed to develop a prototype in only six months. The vessel made its debut at Slovenia’s Internautica exhibition last week.
Reaction to the prototype has been so positive that a production run of 100 for this year has already begun. Its ambitious creators hope to be manufacturing more than 10,000 per year from 2013. The fact the Quadrofoil is on offer for EUR 15,000 ($19,100) makes that goal seem plausible, as there’s nothing else quite like it and most brand-new recreational watercraft come with a comparable price tag.
But its not only its unique appearance that makes the Quadrofoil so appealing. Its 25 mph (22 knot) top speed is achieved despite only requiring a 5 horsepower electric motor for propulsion. It sends no emissions into the water, it is near silent, and even at top speed it produces next to no wake as the hydrofoil design lifts the hull out of the water. In terms of safety, the Quadrofoil has been designed to be self-righting. So even if it happens to flip over, it’ll roll back the right way up.
The Quadrofoil weighs in at just 150 kgs (330 lbs) thanks to its carbon fiber and Kevlar body and hull. It has a built-in 4.5 kWh battery pack which is good for 62 miles (100km) on a full charge – which by the way only takes an hour from a mains socket! Flexible solar panels can also be used to recharge the batteries in case you’re away from any civilization, or just need a top-up on the fly.
The four hydrofoils of the aptly name Quadrofoil can be adjusted by means of a manual or electric winch, this means they can be lifted whan coming into shallow water. With the legs turned upwards the Quadrofoil has a draft of just 6 inches (15 cm). To make transport easier the hydrofoil legs can be removed so getting it out of the water doesn’t require a special trailer.
As a further boost to the Quadrofoil’s appeal, in Europe the vessel – due to its low power and weight – fits into a category of watercraft that does not require registration, licensing or insurance. Just stick it in the water and go.