Marine

The Flying Phantom: US$40k sailboat levitates two feet above the waves

The Flying Phantom catamaran seems to levitate above the water as it hydrofoils.
The Flying Phantom catamaran seems to levitate above the water as it hydrofoils.
View 30 Images
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
1/30
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
The Flying Phantom's hydrofoil
2/30
The Flying Phantom's hydrofoil
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
3/30
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
4/30
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
The Flying Phantom
5/30
The Flying Phantom
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
6/30
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
7/30
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
The Flying Phantom's hydrofoil
8/30
The Flying Phantom's hydrofoil
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
9/30
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
10/30
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
11/30
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
12/30
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
13/30
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
14/30
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
The Flying Phantom - T shaped keel
15/30
The Flying Phantom - T shaped keel
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
16/30
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
17/30
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
18/30
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
19/30
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
20/30
The Flying Phantom - detail shot
The Flying Phantom rises out of the water at speed
21/30
The Flying Phantom rises out of the water at speed
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
22/30
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
23/30
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
24/30
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
25/30
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
26/30
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
27/30
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
28/30
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
The Flying Phantom catamaran seems to levitate above the water as it hydrofoils.
29/30
The Flying Phantom catamaran seems to levitate above the water as it hydrofoils.
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran
30/30
The Flying Phantom hydrofoiling catamaran

“It’s like removing the handbrake – suddenly everything gets smoother and faster in pure silence.” This gravity-defying US$40k catamaran rises completely out of the water at speed on a pair of hook-shaped hydrofoils. It looks like the work of David Copperfield, but it’s real, and it’s set to start a revolution in the sailing world.

Sailing types can now buy themselves a racing catamaran that breaks free from the drag and discomfort of the water. The Flying Phantom mimics the hydrofoiling action demonstrated by the 2013 America’s Cup field by rising up on two J-shaped wings at speed until both hulls are a good two feet out of the water.

Why? “The main speed limits of a catamaran are the length of the hull, the wetted surface, and the pitch poling as you push it too hard,” explains Phantom’s Nicolas Felix. “When you’re foiling and the hulls aren’t dragging in the water, you can get nearly limitless performance. On a regular boat, you’re always fighting to gain a tenth of a knot, fighting against the friction of the water and the pitching of the waves. When you take off, the drag just disappears and there’s pure silence. Every puff of wind is transformed directly into acceleration.”

Flying Phantom One design

The Flying Phantom can get up on its foils in wind as low as 7 knots sailing downwind or perpendicular to the breeze, or upwind if the wind speed is above 10 knots. Its current tested max speed has been 33 knots, but Felix believes that limit can still be pushed: "The next limit is the cavitation issues you get around 45-50 knots.”

Apart from the vast reduction in drag, another benefit of hydrofoiling is that once the boat is out of the waves, the ride gets a lot smoother. Sailors who have spend years being beaten around the hindquarters by choppy waves are reporting that the foiling experience feels as much like a magic carpet ride as it looks. Of course, if something goes wrong and the boat crashes back down into the water, there could be some pretty serious deceleration in effect that might negate any comfort advantage pretty quickly, to put it mildly.

The Flying Phantom rises out of the water at speed
The Flying Phantom rises out of the water at speed

Hydrofoiling is not new in the sailing world, "flying" boats have held the outright sailing speed records for more than a decade, and the current champ “Vestas Sailrocket II” smashed out a truly scary 65.45 knots back in 2012. But the Flying Phantom is the first product to bring the levitation experience to the commercial market – a “democratizing” of the foiling catamaran.

Phantom International (based in France) is planning to race the Flying Phantom at a number of events in 2014, and also looking into the possibility of developing a racing series specifically for small foiling cats like this one.

The Flying Phantom launched at the Paris Boat Show this year and is on sale now for €28,260 (just under US$40,000).

Product page: Phantom International

15 comments
Paul Adams
Has anyone made a sail board with a hydrofoil ? Love to see that.
Meijer
These guys will even put a hydrofoil on a moth - http://marine.bdg.com.au/index.html
someguy
Isn't the Moth way ahead of the game here? "the Flying Phantom is the first product to bring the levitation experience to the commercial market" seems to be not true here... no?
Lloyd Southam-Sebire
"The Flying Phantom is the first product to bring the levitation experience to the commercial market." I guess you are forgetting about the foiling Moth and the RS600ff?
Ed
That looks like too much work..
telocity
Go to wikipedia or youtube and search for "Hobie Trifoiler". It was a commercial boat, it went super fast, you were suspended above the water between the hulls and it was also expensive. Only the Flying Phantom is larger and hopefully can handle larger waves/chop. So I don't see how "the Flying Phantom is the first product to bring the levitation experience to the commercial market" is a accurate statement.
Jack Sprat
Foils have been tried on most everything. For stability at these kinds of speeds, beam is desirable, which is why cats but not boards are good. Surely there are more than two foils; at least three are needed to maintain "takeoff".
Hugh Rose
Sad Did no one else follow last years America's cup? Now there were some serious hydrofoils Check it out to see what happens when a big cat cartwheels.
zevulon
throw in some gyroscopic balancing devices , a motorized mast, and a whole bunch of algorithmics ( maybe a wingsail ), some solar panelling ot power the electronics, and finally the cavitation resistant foils engineering for the vestas sail rocket http://www.sailrocket.com/node/288 and you eventually are going to get a remote unmanned sailing drone that can travel routinely across oceans at 60 knots---- the navy is probably already spending money on something of this sort, small as the flying phantom---small enough to be deployed from larger boats.
Max Houston
The wind rider rave was a foiler that was available up until recently, so it is not the 1st, but it is very interesting, but over priced in my opinion