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A Foiling Superyacht

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Pierpaolo Lazzarini embarked on his yachting journey with his project Plectrum, a 74m superyacht inspired by the AC75s of the America’s Cup.

The role of a concept in yacht design sparks a debate: how to strike a balance between igniting imagination and proposing feasible solutions?

Designers navigate various schools of thought, with some prioritizing feasibility while others advocate for bold ideas that challenge norms. These innovative concepts often grab attention, circulating on social media and reaching broader audiences beyond traditional yachting circles.

By captivating the imagination of potential clients and inspiring young individuals considering careers in design and engineering, these bold concepts play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between theyachting industry and its future stakeholders.

Anticipates possible futures

We discussed this with Pierpaolo Lazzarini, who continually pushes the boundaries of design, envisioning increasingly innovative yachts.

Avanguardia

He maintains a steadfast dedication to exploring unique and cutting-edge ideas. Lazzarini emphasizes, “Our goal is to stimulate imagination, curiosity, and spark conversations with potential customers seeking something extraordinary. When shaping new ideas, beauty holds significance for us.”

He describes Avanguardia as a showcase: while not feasible, it ignites imagination and may lead to practical concepts.

Pangeos similarly offers a glimpse of future directions. Lazzarini likens these projects to science fiction films, which, by transcending limitations, offer insights into potential futures

A feasible project

Plectrum – Cross section and dimensions

Plectrum, the 74m superyacht inspired by the AC75s of the America’s Cup, stands as a feasible project. Similar solutions have been achieved in the past, despite technological limitations. For instance, in 1964, vessels like the USS Plainview, a 67m hydrofoil capable of reaching 40 knots, were already feasible.

This vessel, built nearly 60 years ago, showcases the potential for realizing projects like Plectrum with today’s advanced materials and technologies.

Pierpaolo Lazzarini has confirmed the interest of potential clients in Plectrum, with many brokers presenting the project to their clients. Let’s delve into some of his studio’s concepts before delving into Plectrum.

Jet Capsule

Pierpaolo Lazzarini made his mark in the yachting world with the Jet Capsule, an innovative project that garnered immediate attention when presented at the Monaco Yacht Show in 2015.

Prior to his current role, he had a career in the automotive industry, specializing in exterior design.

Transitioning to yachting offered him the chance to create projects from scratch, drawn by the industry’s greater creative freedom compared to automotive design.

According to Lazzarini, the hypercar sector’s entry barriers are incredibly high, whereas the nautical sector offers more room for innovation.

He highlights the significant changes in the automotive sector over the years, contrasting with the relatively unchanged nature of the nautical sector, which presents ample opportunities for exploring unconventional designs.

The Jet Capsule, one of Lazzarini’s unconventional designs, has received a positive response from the market. Several custom-made Jet Capsules are currently sailing worldwide, showcasing its global appeal. Lazzarini has also developed a version of the Jet Capsule equipped with a foil, which has undergone executive study and will soon launch the Floating Motors line.

Plectrum

Plectrum is a remarkable 74 m (242-ft) foil superyacht designed with inspiration from the latest America’s Cup sailboats. Its name derives from its resemblance to a plectrum when viewed from the stern, evoking the image of a moving instrument plucking the waves.

Plectrum compared to the USS Plainview

Unlike the AC75, Plectrum is not equipped with sails but is powered by 3 hydrogen-powered motors, each capable of producing 5000hp (15,000hp in total).

The estimated cost for building the first unit of this superyacht is 80 million euros. The yacht boasts 4 decks, including 6 guest cabins, a master cabin, a helicopter hangar, a spacious garage for two tenders, and a garage for water toys and cars located in the stern area.

Moth and foil culture

The adoption of foils in sailing has been largely driven by the impressive performances of Moth boats, which have demonstrated the ability to foil both upwind and downwind and achieve victory on the regatta course. The use of advanced composite materials, including fiberglass and carbon, along with sophisticated computational design tools, has enabled this technology to advance even further.

However, for many traditional sailors, transitioning to foiling is a significant shift that requires a willingness to embrace a new way of sailing. While technology is always evolving, there is sometimes resistance to new methods that challenge traditional views.

This is not a new phenomenon, as historical articles from the early 1900s express concerns about new technologies ruining the sailing spirit.

Foiling represents a revolution in sailing by providing increased speed and reducing reliance on traditional equipment such as winches. As the technology advances, sailing is becoming more technologically advanced, similar to Formula 1 racing in comparison to everyday cars.

Despite the attachment to the romantic vision of sailing, it is important to remember that sailing has always been associated with speed.

From trade boats to warships, vessels have always been designed to achieve greater speed. If we consider speed as an integral part of sailing, then the future of sailing is undoubtedly associated with foils.

Foiling Technology
One of the most remarkable features of Plectrum is its use of a foiling system despite its large size. We spoke with Luca Rizzotti, founder of Foiling Week, to understand why this technology, which was patented in 1869, is now regaining its popularity. Luca’s first experience with foil was in Australia in 2005. Since 2010, he has served as the President of the Italian Moth Class Association, and in 2017, he became the president of the International Moth Class. In 2013, he founded Foiling Week, an event that brings together foiling boats, their sailors, designers, and builders. The idea for this event was born a few months after the 2013 America’s Cup finals. Luca believed that if the small moths and the huge 72ft catamarans of the Americas Cup were foiling then everything in between could also go foil sooner or later.

The use of foils

Foiling projects involving the transport of people and goods are becoming more and more attractive. Several commercial projects for 60-70 m long foil ships are currently in development for use within 1,000 nautical miles, perfect for the needs of the Mediterranean Sea.

Due to the efficiency of foils, these projects offer a competitive alternative from both an economic and ecological standpoint compared to traditional aircraft.

These vessels can be used for coastal connections or inland lakes, providing a fast and efficient transport solution. With the use of increasingly efficient foils and advanced electronic technologies, the system’s efficiency is even greater, requiring less power to reach high speeds.

The use of foils in boating is not yet a mature technology and requires further development before it can be deployed on a mass scale.

However, the use of foils is spreading rapidly in several niches, starting mainly in the sporting sector and also reaching the workboat sector, as demonstrated by Artemis’ EF-12 project.

If a significant motor boatyard invests heavily in foil development, it will undoubtedly accelerate the rate of the adoption of this technology.

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