Navier’s America’s Cup inspired debut design
Silicon Valley startup, Navier recruited Oracle Team USA’s principal design engineer for the 35th America’s Cup, Paul Bieker, as lead naval architect for its debut model, Navier 27.
Navier is led by two Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) engineers with expertise in ocean robotics, aerospace flight controls, and autonomous systems. Co-founders Sampriti Bhattacharyya and Reo Baird recruited the Seattle-based naval architect, who is also an engineer and founder of Bieker Boats.
Bieker is a design expert in hydrofoils and carbon fibre structures with experience in performance engineering for some of the fastest monohulls and multihulls in the world. Bieker worked with Oracle Team as a designer since 2003 and was asked to be the team’s principal design engineer for the 35th America’s Cup in 2017.
“Our goal is to work with the best team possible and we believe Paul is the best expert in hydrofoil technology,” said Navier CEO, Bhattacharyya . “With Paul’s decades of real world experience in building hydrofoiling crafts and our own expertise in control systems, we are ensuring that Navier 27 is the best performance electric craft built to date.”
Navier 27 is a 27-ft (8.2m) foiling performance vessel that’s capable of a range exceeding 75 nautical miles under electric propulsion and includes advanced autonomy features. When it launches at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 2022, it will be the longest-range electric boat in the world. With its hydrofoils, Navier 27 can fly over waves reaching 4ft high and it is 90% more efficient than a traditional 27ft boat, said the firm.
“The things that impressed me the most about Navier and their approach to the 27 project is their focus on the technology and getting a boat on the water as efficiently and quickly as possible,” said Bieker. “It was also clear to me that their experience with innovative marine vehicles, flight control, and robotics will help ensure that the most challenging aspects of the project will get the attention that they require.”
Questions and Answers with Paul Bieker
Question: How is working on a recreational boat like Navier 27 similar to working on a racing boat that competes in America’s Cup?
“An America’s Cup effort is similar to the Navier 27 project in that they are both an intense push to get from a clean sheet of paper to a race ready team and boat. They are different in that there is less room for trial and error in the Navier than there is in the America’s Cup’s boats. The Navier needs to be dependable and safe from the beginning rather than simply being high performance.”
Q: What are your expectations for Navier 27?
A: [run on] “If we execute the Navier 27 concept to its full potential we will have created a boat that combines high efficiency with comfortable general – purpose accommodations, and a foil arrangement that can handle rougher sea states than any small recreational hydrofoil craft built to date.”
Q: How can hydrofoil electric boats disrupt mobility or waterborne transportation as a whole? Do you see potential?
“Marine transportation in the Western world got addicted to cheap fossil fuel based power after the second World War. High output engines and cheap fuel combined with inefficient but capable, heavy deep-vee powerboat hulls became the default way to move fast over water,” said Beiker. “In this world, hydrofoiling is a way to move fast over the water while using approximately a third of the power of a conventional high speed boat carrying the same payload.”