Swedish electric flying boat now available in US

The Candela 7 electric flying boat from Sweden has joined the sales roster of Denison Yachting, one of the largest yacht brokers in the US. The brokerage was established in Florida in 1948 as the Broward yacht manufacturing company while Candela is definitely the ‘new kid on the block’ – founded in 2014 and launching its revolutionary Candela Speedboat in 2018.

We refer to the Candela as an electric flying boat because it uses hydrofoils – kind of underwater wings – to allow the hull to ‘fly’ above the water, similar to the hydrofoiling SeaBubbles electric water taxi which has received so much attention.

Aim to sell 30 electric flying boats for 2020

For the US market, Denison said that what attracted them to the Candela is that “She is the first electric boat to rival similar fossil fuel equivalents. With a range of 50 nautical miles (92 k) in 22 knots, she glides across the water quickly, cleanly, and efficiently.”

Candela electric flying boat factory with 5 boats being built

The Candela 7 first went into serial production in late 2018, but the company’s order book really started to fill up when it made a big impression (you can’t really say a hydrofoiling boat made a big splash!) at BOOT Dusseldorf this past January. They have delivered 12 boats to customers in 6 countries and their  boatyard just outside of Stockholm is in full swing with a goal of making 30 Candela 7s this year (see specs at bottom of page).

Companies founded by ‘free thinkers’

It is somewhat fitting that Denison is the US firm taking on the Candela 7, as both companies were founded by men inspired by the excitement of doing things differently and grabbing opportunities others might overlook.

Frank and Kit Denison, founders of Broward yachts/Denison YachtingFrank Denison started out by repairing and reselling boats bought on spec and is credited with installing the first diesel engines in a yacht in the mid 1930s. His grandson Bob, who heads up Denison and transitioned the company to a yacht brokerage in 2009 says Frank “was an awesome boat builder” who also developed the first turbine-powered yacht in 1973. Grandmother ‘Kit’ Denison came up with the first ‘country kitchen’ galley for yachts in the 1980s.

Electric boating pioneer Gustav Hasselskog of Candela says his goal was “to change the industry – removing the dependence on fossil fuels in boating.” After looking at all of the possibilities in electric boating and studying the engineering and physics of the challenge he decided the best chance to prove the benefits of electric boats was to make one that flies. To do it he gathered together a team that includes experts in flight control electronics, software algorithms, hydrodynamics and structural composite engineering.

Electric flying boat designed to change the industry

That isn’t to say there aren’t dozens of great electric boats that plane on the water in the regular way and provide great and environmentally performance using an electric motor instead of a gas one. To name just a few:  the SAY Carbon 29 which holds the speed record for production electric boats, the Evoy 1 from Norway, Frauscher’s electric 747,  the Highfield RIB with Pure Watercraft electric outboard and the all-electric GS22E ski and waterboard towboat just launched by Nautique.

engineer at whiteboard looking at equations about electric flying boat

Hasselskog, though,  decided to take a different approach and go the hydrofoiling route mainly because of one big factor: water is thicker than air. No matter how light you make a hull, or maximize its hydrodynamic shape, it takes an awful lot of energy to overcome the friction and resistance – drag– of a boat hull moving through water. Candela’s research indicated “a 7.5 meter (24 ft) planing boat consumes 12-18 times more fuel than a family car.”

Hydrofoiling isn’t anything new, in fact the first evidence of a hydrofoil on a vessel appears on a British patent granted in 1869 to Emmanuel Denis Farcot, and they have been in use in military boats since the Second World War. The concept remains the same – the boat reaches a certain speed at which it lifts out the water and rides on a slightly submerged T or V shaped wing, so there is almost zero drag and resistance.

Candela takes hydrofoiling to a whole new level

Candela has taken the concept to an entirely different 21st century level, which is where the team of multi-discipline experts comes in. Weight, of course is obviously a factor in hydrofoiling, so the hull, deck and deck parts of a Candela 7 are all carbon fibre. That’s the structural composite engineering part.

electric flying boat diagram - motor and foils in down position and up position

The flight control electronics and software management expertise has been applied to the hydrofoils. Traditional hydrofoils are static, but when the Candela is in electric flying boat mode 7 sensors capture the position, velocity and acceleration of the boat in regards to x, y and x and rotation around the same axis. They feed the information to the flight control software and the wings are automatically and constantly adjusted to maintain the best height, roll and pitch.

One question you might have is what happens to the foils when the boat is in shallow water? The foils can be fully retracted into the hull, and the motor can be tilted up, giving the boat a draft of only 0.4 metres / 1 foot 3 inches.

The other question you might have is how the boat performs when there is a bit of a chop – or more – on the water. The video  Candela posted on its facebook page  is pretty impressive. Ut shows the boat on April 6 in with the comment: “From last week’s storm over Stockholm. Rough weather sea trials and benchmarking the Candela Seven against a 9 meter rib! 😀

Electric flying boat multiple award winner

Not surprisingly, all this impressive innovation has brought Candela some nice accolades and awards: nominated for European Powerboat of the Year, and winner of ‘Best for Future’ at the Best of Boat Awards  and ‘Best Foiling Boat’ (it was the only electric model) at Foiling Week.

The nicest awards, though, might be found in the testimonials from first purchasers on the Candela website:

With six people aboard, we typically drive at close to full speed, 30 knots, and cover the stretch from Stockholm to our summer house in just over an hour. Even though we’re loading up the boat with passengers and gear, we always arrive with plenty of juice left in the battery pack.

CANDELA 7 SPECIFICATIONS

Hull Length 7.7 metres / 25 feet
Hull Width 2.4 metres / 7 feet, 10 inches
Draft 0.4 m / 1′ 3″ in shallow water mode • 0.5 m / 1′ 8″ when foiling • 1.2 m / 3/ 11″ w foils extended
Weight  1,300 kg / 2,860 lbs
Maximum Speed 30 knots
Most Efficient Speed 19-23 knots
Minimum foiling speed 17 knots
Motor 55 kW permanent magnet
Range >50 NM in 22 kn + 8 NM in 3 kn

 

Exciting things are happening every day in electric boats and boating.
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