As the Formula 1 of sailing returns to San Francisco for the Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix this weekend, the French team has an ace up its sleeve: Candela C-7, the world’s first electric hydrofoil chase boat, which might help them score in the new Impact league.
Flying across the water at speeds up to 60 mph, the 50-foot catamarans of the international sailing league SailGP are the equivalent to Formula 1 cars on water. This weekend, eight teams will line up for an adrenaline rushed Season 2 finale on San Francisco Bay.
For the first time on the sailing circuit, the flying catamarans will be accompanied by an equally elevated chase boat: our Candela C-7 electric hydrofoil craft, which will be used by France SailGP Team’s VIP guests and media to watch the races up close. Just like the F50’s, the Candela is built from 100% carbon fiber and uses hydrofoils to lift the hull above the water’s friction to attain high speeds. The hydrofoils also give the C-7 longer range than any other conventional electric craft, allowing Candela C-7 to cruise for close to 2 hours at 30 mph, more than enough to cover the racecourse.
The C-7 acts as a disruptive force, sporting several innovations that differ it from other hydrofoiling boats – namely computers and software. On Team France’s F50 cutting-edge catamaran, multihull expert François Morvan has the demanding and tricky role of Flight controller – that is keeping the boat fast and flying at the right height by manually adjusting dials that control the roll, the differential of the rudders, and average rudder lift.
In our boats, the controls are managed by computers, much like in other inherently unstable craft, like modern fighter jets such as the F-16. The computers regulate the C-7’s main hydrofoil 100 times per second, much faster than any human could react. The result is an artificially stable and smooth ride, not quite the adrenaline rush of the F50’s, but also absent from the spectacular crashes Sail GP is notorious for. This is exactly why France SailGP Team will use the Candela C-7 to give their VIP guests the closest possible experience to racing in SailGP.
“We are delighted about this collaboration with Candela. It’s the best way to give our guests, VIP:s and media an experience that is the closest to what our sailors live on board an F50: sailing at 30 knots on a boat that flies on the water,” says Bruno Dubois, Team Manager of France SailGP Team.
In the end, C-7 might actually help the French score some points. The newly introduced Impact league tracks the positive actions that teams take to reduce their overall carbon footprint, helping to accelerate inclusivity in sailing. At the end of the season there are two podiums; the winner of the Impact League crowned alongside the Season Champion.
“Having Candela as a VIP boat is an important step to fulfill the sustainability criteria in the Impact League, to reduce fuel consumption of our chase boats and our overall fooprint. Now, the French team is taking the lead in this important area,” says Bruno Dubois.
“The SailGP athletes are the best sailors on the planet, so being able to fly alongside Team France in this epic location is an honor. It’s a great way to showcase that electric boats not only are just as good as ICE powerboats, they can be way better,” says Tanguy de Lamotte, CEO of Candela’s US Division.