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  • 2019-Sep-13


When is a hydrofoil not a hydrofoil?

Recently I saw in a marina in the Mediterranean some peculiar construction which brought up the question: Are these add-ons at the boats’ skeg already called “hydrofoils”?
Why is the answer to that question important? EU Directive 2013-53-EU (known as the ‘RCD’) under which the CE label is given to watercraft, has some exemptions, one of which is “hydrofoils”.
This means that all ‘hydrofoil’ watercraft are outside of the scope of the RCD. Regrettably RCD does not come with a definition for that type of craft.
When it comes to CE assessment and certification of craft the EU market surveillance, notified bodies and manufacturers can certainly agree that a hydrofoil is something in-between a motor craft like the one shown in the picture and some flying sailing dragsters like the America’s Cup AC45 F.
But when does ‘hydrofoiling’ start?
Now first series production boats, be it the Figaro Beneteau 3 or catamarans like Nacra 17, are arriving on the market. Are they both hydrofoils trying to fly or do they just have some support to increase hydrostatic stability after a certain speed?
There’s no clear line yet.
Regulators and standard writers will have to find a way to deal with these boats soon!

Uli Heinemann