With the Dubai International Boat Show mooring at the mouth of the Dubai Canal for the first time in its history, we navigate through the new and old waters of this landmark marine event
Carbon fibre flying boat constructed in Sharjah has the James Bond factor
From Sharjah with love. A carbon fibre flying yacht called the Foiler may seem like a crazy creation from 007’s Q Division, but it’s very much real and it’s built in the UAE.
It’s not hard to imagine Daniel Craig’s 007 smouldering away at the helm of the Foiler, a top-secret project from Sharjah’s Enata Industries that made its surprise world debut at the 2018 Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS).
Arguably one of the most popular boats at the event, and certainly the most innovative, the Foiler had showgoers enthralled from day one with its sleek looks, but up to its premier little was known about the striking 32 footer.
However, its builder, Enata Marine, is no stranger to the UAE’s watersports and sailing enthusiasts.
Based in Sharjah’s Al Hamriya Port, Enata Marine’s primary goal is not world domination but high-end marine, aerospace and architecture research and design.
Funnily enough, Enata could indeed be seen as the Middle East’s version of Q Division, as it designs and constructs military-grade multicopters (serious drones), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned aerial systems (UASs).
These gadgets are all technologically advanced, and most are constructed in ultra lightweight carbon fibre to save weight and add strength.
Dubai’s sailors will fondly remember Enata Marine’s GTCat 66, a carbon-fibre catamaran launched at DIBS a few years ago.
Enata Marine also builds custom-designed, hand-made kite surf kites and boards that offer enhanced speed and performance both in and out of the waves and, most importantly, feature a revolutionary foiling system.
With Enata’s expertise in yacht design, carbon-fibre construction and foiling systems, it comes as no surprise that the company has combined all three to create the Foiler, one of the most radical dayboats ever to have hit the water, or flown over it.
In true James Bond style, it’s more than just a straightforward vessel — when it hits 18kn, the 31ft diesel-electric craft lifts out of the water on extendable foils, enabling it to fly 1.5m above the waves, no doubt to the theme tune of Thunderball.
To deploy the foils, simply press the Fly Mode button on the helm and the foils and rudders quickly deploy by a hydraulic ram system.
Pressing the Float Mode button will reverse the process, causing it to drop down into the waves to become a conventional boat. Not only does the red foil system look amazing, but it also delivers a smooth, quiet ride for its eight passengers, as it glides over the sea — not on it or through it, thus virtually eliminating seasickness.
The lack of drag also allows the twin 320hp BMW engines to perform more efficiently, delivering a 20 per cent increase in fuel economy at foiling speeds and topping out at 40kn.
The Foiler matches its high speeds with equally tight handling. The foils and rudders enable you to turn with tight precision, so much so that Enata went as far as limiting the Foiler’s turning radius for safety reasons.
At a more relaxed cruising speed of 30kn, the Foiler can travel 130 nautical miles on a tank of gas, and should you need to infiltrate the odd Bond villain’s lair, the electric generators mated to the two electric torpedo propeller pods allow you to cruise in near silence at 10kn for 10 minutes.
If there was ever a boat that screamed “Bond-gadget”, it’s the Foiler. Every inch of it, from its BMW hybrid electric pod propulsion system to the extendable, carbon fibre foils are not only technologically advanced but designed to give its owner a performance advantage over similarly size dayboats and tenders.
Looks wise, it’s hard to beat and with the foiling system turning more heads than a Bond Girl, Enata has also made it superyacht friendly — the foils and props can be retracted tightly enough for the 32-footer to be conveniently stowed into superyacht garages.
The Enata Marine Foiler is yet another groundbreaking boat that puts the UAE’s shipbuilding industry on the world map, and at roughly a million Euro, you don’t necessarily need Auric Goldfinger’s precious metal collection to buy one.
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