Navier 27 first look: Active foil controlled electric runabout promises 75+nm range at 20kn

A start-up in the US has announced details of the Navier 27 foiling electric boat, which should be capable of top speeds of around 30 knots, a decent range, and with fully retractable foils can even be beached. Phill Draper reports.

A Silicon Valley-based start-up has released details of what it claims to be the US’s first all-electric runabout with an active foil system. The foiling Navier 27 was announced at the Palm Beach International Boat Show.

Proposed initially in both open and enclosed-cabin versions, this reverse-bowed 27-footer promises top speeds of around 30 knots, but most impressively a 75nm range at a fast cruise of around 20 knots. And those numbers should be delivered smoothly despite the sort of 3-4ft waves that would cause issues for conventional hulls and all without exhaust-gas and noise pollution.

Similar to the systems utilised by the current crop of America’s Cuppers, the active foils fore and aft are the game changers. They will work optimally at speeds above 18 knots by raising the hull clear of the water and thereby minimising drag by minimising the wetted surface area.

The ride will all be controlled by a smart autopilot with hazard awareness features built in. Those foils are also retractable, which means these boats can be beached or driven slowly in shoal waters.

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As to propulsion, the ‘teaser spec’ Navier has released thus far mentions twin 50kW motors but no more. Our guess is small thruster pods given claims about easy docking.

Suffice to say the two young Americans driving the project have plenty of cutting-edge technology experience and impressive CVs: Sampriti Bhattacharyya has a PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT and has worked on flight control systems at NASA and Reo Baird is an autonomous systems specialist and experienced boater.

We are told that construction of the first boat should commence this summer with a view to a Fort Lauderdale 2022 world premiere.

Navier 27 Specifications

Length: 27ft (8.2m)
Beam: 8ft 6in (2.6m)
Top speed: >30 knots
Cruising speed: 20 knots
Power: 2x 50kw electric motors
Draft: 2ft / 5.5ft (0.6m / 1.7m)
Capacity: 10 passengers
Starting price: €250,000 (approx)


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