Michel Kermarec joins electric boat company Candela after the AC
Wednesday, March 17, 2021 11:14 AM
The French hydrodynamics expert from the ”Oracle” and ”American Magic” teams will now help design next-generation electric speedboats.Michel Kermarec will be leading the hydrodynamics team at the Swedish Candela electric boat company in Stockholm. His main task will be to improve the efficiency of Candela’s future electric hydrofoil boats.
Kermarec is one of the world’s foremost experts on hydrodynamics with 29 years of experience designing boats for America’s cup teams. Working for Oracle, Artemis and other teams all the way up to this year’s American Magic, he has very much contributed to today’s ultra-fast, foiling AC75 boats.
- With a proven track record in designing and building cutting-edge boats, Michel has the perfect skill set for leading our hydrodynamics team. We're excited to have him on board as we enter the next phase of growth, says Gustav Hasselskog, Candela’s founder and CEO.
The very same technology that made American Magic’s “Patriot” fly above the sea’s surface at 50 knots, is used by the Swedish tech company to minimize friction and increase the range of their first electric production boat, the Candela Seven.
Flying on two submerged foils, the Seven has a range of 50 nautical miles at 20 knots – three times longer endurance than any other electric speedboat before it. The Seven's silent, smooth ride has made it the best-selling electric premium boat in Europe. It’s success holds a promise that fossil fuel powerboats eventually can be phased out in favour of fully-electric craft, says Michel Kermarec who now joins Candela as Chief hydrofoil designer.
- I'm delighted to be joining the industry's number one electric boat company at a time when electric boats really take off, he says.
- Candela is the first serious contender to fossil fuel powerboats. By using foils, Candela improves efficiency by about 80%, which translates into longer range at higher speeds, using fewer kWh, says Kermarec.
Joining the Candela team in Stockholm, Kermarec will be working with the company's naval architects and software engineers to take the world's most efficient powerboats to the next level.
Although the multi-million dollar AC75 boats he previously designed are very complex machines, the 225 000-dollar leisure craft Candela Seven is technologically superior in one crucial way: the control of the foils. America’s cup rules forbid computer-assisted foiling, meaning that the crew of American Magic’s “Patriot” has to manually control pitch, roll and height.
– The communication between the guy who steers, the guy who trims the sail and the guy in charge of the foil is crucial – and to be honest, this is a task at which computers excel. They are far better at this than even the best human teams in America’s cup, says Michel Kermarec.
Instead of skilled crewmembers operating a slider, the foils in a Candela move automatically, controlled by lightning-fast computers coupled to hydraulic actuators.
- What Candela has accomplished is a safe boat that won’t face any issues. It’s both a solid production boat and a high-tech boat. A refined boat that anyone can drive, says Kermarec.
Besides the long all-electric range, Candela Seven's foils offer advantages not seen in other motorboats. The ride is smoother and more silent. The minimal wake makes the Seven a dream for water skiiers. And the cost of re-charging the batteries is a fraction – about 95% cheaper – of the cost to refuel a 25 foot gasoline powered speedboat.
Thanks to electric hydrofoiling’s many benefits over conventional, fossil fuel powered speedboat, Michel Kermarec hopes that the technology will soon dominate the mass-market for motorboats.
- I believe America’s Cup played a big role in popularizing hydrofoils for sailing boats. The next logical step is to transplant foiling to motorboats and make them electric, says Kermarec.