Marine

Wave Chaser refines its catamaran-style craft into the 390 ZF

Wave Chaser refines its catama...
The Wave Chaser 390 ZF in action on Sydney Harbour 
The Wave Chaser 390 ZF in action on Sydney Harbour 
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A look into the development of the Wave Chaser 390 ZF
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A look into the development of the Wave Chaser 390 ZF
A look into the development of the Wave Chaser 390 ZF
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A look into the development of the Wave Chaser 390 ZF
The two hulls on the Wave Chaser are connected by a central platform 
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The two hulls on the Wave Chaser are connected by a central platform 
A prototype 390 ZF 
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A prototype 390 ZF 
Details on the sails of the Wave Chaser 390 ZF 
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Details on the sails of the Wave Chaser 390 ZF 
The sails of the Wave Chaser 390 ZF
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The sails of the Wave Chaser 390 ZF
The central platform on the Wave Chaser 390 ZF 
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The central platform on the Wave Chaser 390 ZF 
A look into the hull of the Wave Chaser 390 ZF 
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A look into the hull of the Wave Chaser 390 ZF 
The 390 ZF (without sails) ready to hit the water
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The 390 ZF (without sails) ready to hit the water
The Wave Chaser 390 ZF in action on Sydney Harbour 
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The Wave Chaser 390 ZF in action on Sydney Harbour 
The Wave Chaser is meant to take around 20 minutes to assemble 
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The Wave Chaser is meant to take around 20 minutes to assemble 
The Wave Chaser in action on Sydney Harbour 
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The Wave Chaser in action on Sydney Harbour 
The hulls on the Wave Chaser can be used as paddle boards 
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The hulls on the Wave Chaser can be used as paddle boards 
The Wave Chaser takes to the water
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The Wave Chaser takes to the water

With its unique twin-hull design, the Wave Chaser wants to deliver an intriguing blend of windsurfing and sailing-style fun to the masses. Having launched a prototype last year, the company has further refined its unique idea and created the Wave Chaser 390 ZF.

When the first Wave Chaser surfaced last year, the team said its twin hulls were designed for maximum hydrodynamic lift without sacrificing maneuvrability. The hulls on the newer 390 ZF, designed by Sam Tehan from Force 9 Surfboards, have been shaped with the same goal in mind. The new designs have very little rocker and a v-shaped nose, and transition from a single-concave to a double-concave shape towards the rear.

Like with the previous design, the twin hulls on the 390 ZF are connected with a raised central platform, capable of supporting two people weighing a combined 180 kg (397 lb). Propulsion comes from a pair of Barrcouta sails, both of which have a foot length to height ratio of 2.6:1 – described as "relatively narrow." The company says this allows for maximum airflow to both rigs.

The sails of the Wave Chaser 390 ZF
The sails of the Wave Chaser 390 ZF

There are two different sail configurations on offer: an 8m2 (86 ft2) setup for light to moderate winds (up to 15 knots, 17 mph or 28 km/h) and a 6m2 (64.5 ft2) rig for stronger breezes up to 30 knots (34 mph or 56 km/h). When you're tired of running around with the sails up, or if there isn't any wind, the hulls can be removed and used as stand-up paddle boards. The whole thing should take between 15 and 20 minutes to assemble, and can be carried around with a regular van or pickup, rather than requiring a dedicated trailer.

All told, a fully-assembled Wave Chaser 390 ZF weighs a shade under 60 kg (132 lb). Of that weight, 46 kg (101 lb) is the hulls. The newer ZF is a useful 8 kg (18 lb) lighter than the prototype we covered last year, and the narrower (70 cm or 27.6 in) hulls should be easier to mount on a roof rack. In spite of the skinnier, lighter design, company founder Nigel McBride says the updated design is stronger than the prototype.

"What we've been able to do is maintain, and even improve the structural integrity and rigidity of the craft," McBride tells New Atlas. "We have the strength in the right places now."

"It powers up faster, and it's easier to control," he continues, comparing the 390 ZF to the first Wave Chaser prototype. "Directional and point-to-point control is much more precise. The hulls are far more buoyant – most of the weight saving is in the hulls. The buoyancy, and the feel on the water is far sleeker ... it's much lighter and much more nimble."

The 390 ZF (without sails) ready to hit the water
The 390 ZF (without sails) ready to hit the water

If you're anything like us, there's probably one major sticking point when thinking about the Wave Chaser – why bother, when conventional catamarans already exist? According to McBride, his company's design is faster and more stable.

"First of all, it's the only planing hull catamaran of this size," he explains. "There's less water displacement with this craft. When it gets up to a planing speed is when it really comes into its own, because there is less surface friction, less water friction overall than you'd have with a conventional v-hull. Less drag overall means that it's faster."

McBride also says the low-profile twin-mast setup on the 390 ZF make for a more stable craft, one that's less susceptible to tipping in high winds. The lower center of gravity and outboard-mounted sails help with overall rigidity, too, for a more responsive (and durable) ride. Down the track, the company is planning to offer a set of foils for the Wave Chaser as well, but they're still in the development phase.

A look into the hull of the Wave Chaser 390 ZF 
A look into the hull of the Wave Chaser 390 ZF 

Because it's still early in the production process, we don't have a firm price figure for the Wave Chaser. We do know, however, it should be in a similar ballpark to foiling catamarans of a similar size – stay tuned for more information when it becomes available.

Check out the Wave Chaser 390 ZF in action below.

Source: Wave Chaser

Wave Chaser 390 ZF

4 comments
ikarus342000
Old idea, but a good sales pitch. It was many times tryd with 2 windsurf boards to built a catamaran. All have the same problem, pitchpoling (turning turtle over the leeward hull) because of high water resistance on the lee side. I sell plans for biplane (better parallel) rig catamarans since 1983. My DUO 425 weights without rigs 44kg (compare). Material costs without rigs US $ 800,-. Construction time about 100 hours. Self aligning construction through matched hole technique. Like construction technique for Aluminum aircrafts. It is a plywood/glassfiber/Epoxy composite. Speed reached and measured 33knots. Not only on paper. The speed was reached with a boat which was 25 years old by the way. Length 4,25m, beam 2m. From the car roof in the water in about 15 minutes. I have no clue how many are sailing worldwide. I stopped counting after I sold 600 plans.
ADVENTUREMUFFINffin
Interesting idea but video needs work. Wastes a lot of one's 30 sec attention on less than awesome scenes of blasting through waves at 30 knots. The other issue is design. How does one see oncoming traffic? Sails are in the way all the way to the stern.
Wave Chaser
Hi ikarus, Yes dual rig catamarans are not new. We're particularly inspired by Crossbow II which held the sailing speed record from 1975 to 1980 and the more recent 50:50 (V Hull) and Yves Parlier (Planing Hull) boats, both impressive leaders in their class. We haven't experienced a propensity for pitchpoling in winds up to 20knots. Winds above that can be exciting, but flat hulls, with their larger surface area, are far more stable than V hulls. With lightweight sails and carbon masts, the Wave Chaser floats well on it's side and is blown upright with ease when the sails and platform are pointed windward.
Wave Chaser
Hi Adventuremuffin, We agree with you that video footage could be better. The video in this article was shot from the shoreline on a Samsung Galaxy S7. We'll shoot better footage with proper equipment soon. Re sails obscuring vision, if you believe that's a problem buy a speedboat mate! No, seriously, observation is not a problem. The craft is nimble and easy to control so you can point to view and if you look closely our sails are see through.