High-tech watercraft transforms from monohull, to catamaran, to trimaran, to hydrofoil

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Monohull, catamaran, trimaran and hydrofoil become one

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The Kormoran from the Austrian company of the same name can speed on (and above) the water as a catamaran, trimaran, monohull and hydrofoil, making it one of the most versatile vessels to ever hit the high seas. A pair of hydraulically actuated hulls allows it to transform before your eyes, even while in motion.

The Kormaran is a high-tech piece of innovation that lets boaters enjoy the benefits of different types of boats without investing in a small marina of individual models. The key to its multifunctional design is in the kinetic outrigger hulls that quickly change its shape and character.

When drawn completely inward via the electronically activated hydraulic arms, the outrigger hulls fold into the fuselage-like central hull to create a monohull. When deployed partially, they become the dual hulls of a catamaran, with the body set above the water. Deploy them completely, and the body drops to the water's surface becoming the third hull of what is now a trimaran.

The Kormaran also has a set of fold-out hydrofoils. When it's in monohull mode, these hydrofoils can be deployed, pushing the body up above the water. This configuration cuts water resistance by up to 80 percent, allowing for a fast, smooth ride that eats less fuel.

With the power from its 493-hp triple jet drive, the Kormaran can hits speeds up to 44 mph (70 km/h) and travel up to 108 nmi (200 km) at that top speed. It measures 7 m (23 ft) in length and between 5 and 11.5 ft (1.5 and 3.5 m) in width, from monohull to trimaran configurations. It appears to be configured for two (cozy) rear passengers behind the single driver. A set of rear-hinged wing doors provide ingress.

In addition to its four drive configurations, the Kormaran can serve as a swimming platform when anchored. The nose of the body transforms into a flat teak deck via two fold-out sections. That combines with the fold-out teak panels that fill the space between the outer hulls and central hull, providing ample space for occupants to sunbathe and dive into the water.

Kormaran complements its innovative design with high-end materials. The boat's main structure is crafted from carbon fiber, one of the elements the company has borrowed from the F1 racing world. The hydraulic arms are a combination of stainless steel and titanium, while the interior is trimmed in leather. The hull and deck surfaces use a black-jointed teak. A lighting system provides for night navigation.

The Kormaran prototype made its world debut in June and will be appearing at the Monaco Yacht Show later this month. The company's materials don't list a production date or estimated pricing, but we assume it didn't invest a reported €10,000,000 (US $13M) without planning to hawk a couple of these to wealthy yacht owners.

To watch the Kormaran transform, check out the 3D section of its website.

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