EVENTS | Neil Baird to celebrate fifty years of (hydro)foiling on IHS anniversary

The co-founder and chairman of Baird Maritime, Dr Neil Baird, has been invited to present the keynote address to the 50th anniversary virtual conference and celebration of the International Hydrofoil Society, which commences tomorrow with global participation.

“I’m proud, honoured and delighted to have been invited by the International Hydrofoil Society to present the Keynote Address at its 50th anniversary conference. Having been fascinated with foiling since I was a teenager, more than fifty years ago, it is a subject very close to my heart,” said Dr Baird.

“In addition to the steady development in commercial and naval hydrofoil craft over the last half century, the past twenty years have seen explosive developments in hydrofoil technology in the leisure sector. Now, it seems there will soon be an exciting meeting of minds and transfer of that futuristic leisure technology into the commercial and naval sectors. Some important breakthroughs are soon to be made and we are sure to learn about many of them at this vital conference,” he added.

The conference continues for a number of weeks, with details of the first week (this week) below. For further details on later presentations, please visit the IHS website.

International Hydrofoil Society 50th anniversary virtual conference, week of October 18, 2020:

Tuesday, October 20

19:00 US eastern time (16:00 US Pacific time, 10:00 AEST (+1 day)):

  • Opening and introduction: IHS President Ray Vellinga
  • Keynote speaker: Neil Baird, Baird Maritime
  • Speaker: Paul Bieker, Bieker Boats

Thursday 22 October

11:00 US eastern time (08:00 US Pacific time, 17:00 South Africa)

  • Speaker: Professor Gunter Hoppe,

These sessions will be conducted on Zoom. Use this link for all sessions:
(If it doesn’t open automatically, use Meeting ID: 315 723 1248 and Password: r09YST.)

See abstracts and speaker bios for this week. (PDF download)

Neil Baird will provide a keynote address spanning over 50 years of hydrofoil development. At a young age, he experimented with the use of sailing craft centreboard, which, when the craft was heeled over while driven by the sail would help support the boat. Thereafter he encountered hydrofoil operations around the world. He will share his views on the potential future developments for hydrofoils.

His keynote address will be provided on October 20, 2020, 50 years to the day after the International Hydrofoil Society held its inaugural meeting in London. His full written keynote address will be made available by the IHS thereafter. IHS is honoured that Neil accepted our keynote speaker role. It brings us full circle after 50 years given Countess Juanita Kalerghi, the former editor and founder of the similar trade magazine Hovering Craft and Hydrofoil had encouraged and supported the establishment of the IHS in the lead-up to the founding of the society.

Paul Bieker will start with a broad overview of the many types of boats and craft he has designed and built, with emphasis on those with foils. They have ranged from small and simple to large and extremely complex and have included power boats and sail boats, monohulls and multi-hulls. The most challenging by far have been the America’s Cup craft, which have become large foiling machines not at all like the traditional-style monohulls of decades back.

Paul has been on the Oracle America’s Cup Team for the last five competitions and has made particular contributions in the area of structural design, especially for the foils and other elements that have to be extremely strong but also extremely light. He will show examples of that and describe the processes for designing and constructing them. He will finish with preliminary information and figures of a proposed 150-passenger, 35-knot hydrofoil ferry for Puget Sound operation.

Professor Hoppe reviews classical hydrofoils and analyses design constraints which might have led to reduced interest in furtherhydrofoil developments. The most important constraints are listed and compared to another hybrid, a catamaran or multi-hull equipped with hydrofoil wings. The comparison shows that nearly none of the constraints of the classical hydrofoil appear in his Hysucraft designs. He describes the Hysucraft and how it was developed, then compares its design problems with the ones of hydrofoils and concludes that higher efficiencies are possible with Hysucraft than with other typical seagoing boat types.

As the constraints in the classical hydrofoil design are absent in Hysucraft, these can be used in small craft and also in larger craft up to 30 metres or even 40 metres. Professor Hoppe describes how larger fast craft are possible with variations of the Hysucat principles called Hysuwac (for hydrofoil supported watercraft). One example of such a foil is shown and is fundamentally different than the Hysucraft,with a smaller front foil near the bows and a mainfoil aft of the LCG position. The hulls are usually symmetrical demi-hulls of the semi-planing type.

A method to compare efficiencies of craft is presented based on the well-known transport efficiency, and formulas and a collection of data are provided for anybody to check out his own boat efficiency. The method shows that Hysucraft are some of the most efficient small craft and prove that hydrofoils aren’t getting extinct but live on in varying forms.

A Hysucraft foil system is shown for the Thunder Child 2, built by Safehaven Marine in Ireland, which on September 8, 2020, broke the world record for 50-foot and larger boats on the course between Cork and Fastnet Rock in Ireland. The calculated performance on this run is given in table form with full data from the run showing that the foil system improved the craft’s efficiency by about 40 per cent, a huge advantage against usual boats, allowing the world record.

Find out more at the 50th anniversary celebration page

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