High speed shuttle uses air lift

It is the lift generated by the wing structure that lifts the catamaran hulls in the water It is the lift generated by the wing structure that lifts the catamaran hulls in the water

The French company A2V which exhibited its revolutionary air assisted catamaran at Seawork two years ago has recently delivered a version that will link the town of Evian on Lake Geneva in Switzerland to both Lausanne and Geneva.

Called the Evian One, this new craft can carry up to 12 passengers in comfort at a cruising speed of 50 knots.

The A2V concept is a wing-like cross deck that spans the two slim stepped hulls of the catamaran. It is the lift generated by the wing structure that lifts the catamaran hulls in the water, significantly reducing the frictional resistance and allowing high speeds and good fuel economy with modest power. The passenger compartment is contained within the wind structure with passengers offered and excellent view through panoramic front windows.

The whole 12 metre long structure is constructed from composites, much of it sandwich construction, with a beam of 7.35 metres. The craft runs on a draft of just 0.65 metres and the loaded displacement is 7.5 tonnes when carrying the 12 passengers.

The power comes from a pair of Yanmar 8LV diesels that each produces 235kW. These drive through surface drives and this package offers a cruising speed of 50 knots at 90% power. The fuel tanks, one in each hull, each hold 300 litres which gives a range of 250 miles and A2V claims that the fuel consumption is 2.2 litres per nautical mile.

There are 12 luxurious seats in the passenger compartment which is full air-conditioned. The pilothouse is in a compact compartment on top of the ‘wing’ and this allows an all round view. The craft has EU certification for category C.

On the route on Lake Geneva it takes this shuttle just 30 minutes for the transfer from Evian to Geneva compared with 1½ hours by car on a good day.

A2V is developing a larger 18 metre version of this shuttle that will carry up to 40 passengers on a route on the Gironde Estuary in France from Royan to Bordeaux. Another version under development will use electric motive power with power from a bank of batteries which has been requested by a number of potential clients.

By Dag Pike

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