Foiling technology has really taken off in the past few years. We pick out 6 of the best hydrofoil boats you can buy right now…
With its roots in the 19th century, foiling technology is as old as the hills, but in the past five years we’ve noticed an explosion of hydrofoil boats coming onto the market.
In part inspired by the foiling raceboats of the America’s Cup, the popularity of foiling is easy to understand – fuel efficiency gains are substantial, noise is almost eliminated (particularly if your foiling boat also happens to be an electric boat) and they look as cool as a snowman in a freezer!
To help you understand the dizzying array of foiling boats available right now, we’ve put together the following guide to what we think are the most promising designs out there.
6 of the best hydrofoil boats
SEAir foiling RIB
Founded in 2016, French yard SEAir builds foiling RIBs, having been inspired by the speed of foiling racing yachts.
We tested their 5.5m model back in 2018 and since then they have expanded their range to cover superyacht chase boats, commercial and military vessels.
Our tester recorded a top speed of 32 knots, with the foils doing their best work at around 20 knots, but SEAir claims that 42 knots is possible in the right conditions.
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The Cannes Film Festival has seen the launch of the new ICON electric boat. Created by BMW in collaboration with
Dubai-based Enata Marine added a healthy dose of glamour to the world of foiling boats in 2018 with the launch of its Foiler.
In addition to a superyacht tender-worthy exterior, this 32fter includes a bow window for spectacular views while underway.
A 40-knot top speed and a 190nm range makes this a very appealing option, although the premium price tag of $938,000 may put some off.
When British boatbuilding giant Princess Yachts got in on the foiling boat game in 2019 with a 35ft carbon-fibre dayboat, we knew that things had really taken off.
While the foil-assisted R35 may not have the spectacular cruising-above-the-waves appeal of some other foiling boats, it is highly efficient, beautifully designed (in collaboration with Pininfarina) and handles like nothing else we’ve ever driven.
In our review, we praised its rare combination of agility, refinement and stability, with spray kept in check impressively at high speeds.
Swedish firm Candela burst onto the scene in 2021 with its debut, the Candela C-7, which was billed as the world’s first electric foiling boat, but it was the 2022 launch of the Candela C-8 that really moved the game on.
Available with a 69kWh battery, adapted from the Polestar 2 electric car, owners can expect a range of 57nm at 22 knots, more than enough for dayboat use.
The consumption figures are truly staggering, with Candela’s figures suggesting that the C-8 is more than 12x more efficient than an equivalent 300hp outboard powered sportsboat.
Not content with being at the forefront of the amphibious boats market with its caterpillar-track offering, French yard Iguana has set its sights on the world of foiling too.
Announced last year, the Iguana Foiler will be powered by the world’s most powerful electric outboard engine, the 300hp Evoy Storm.
Having tested both the engine and the boat separately, we can’t wait to see the result when they come together with the added advantages of foiling technology. Watch this space…
Another exciting model in the hydrofoil boats pipeline, this 24ft runabout is particularly interesting is its simplicity. Unlike its main foiling rival, the Candela C-7, the Mantaray M24 requires no complicated electronics to ‘fly’.
Instead it uses the builder’s patented mechanical hydrofoil system, which it has trademarked as Dynamic Wing Technology or DWT. The technology is said to be the result of ten years’ development work and uses a retractable T-foil in the bow and H-foil amidships that self-stabilise mechanically.
This allows it to lean naturally into corners and ride serenely over waves without relying on a network of sensors and algorithms to monitor and adjust the foils. If it proves effective this could drastically reduce the cost and complexity of foiling boats, while simultaneously increasing reliability.