Safe and sound

The first of a new breed of maritime transport successfully passed one of the world’s most rigorous leisure boat tests, conducted by the Swiss authorities in Lucerne.

Candela Seven is the world’s first electric hydrofoil boat to enter the market, and as such, had to pass a set of trials to meet the Swiss safety, noise and emission standards.

Compared to the CE certification that all boats in the EU must conform to, the Swiss regulation is stricter. The Alp lakes double as reservoirs for drinking water and are rigorously protected. The threshold for noise is lower, as well as pollution and oil spills than in the rest of Europe.

To see if the novel craft would be deemed safe for use on the Swiss lakes, officials tried to provoke the foiling Seven by making sharp turns at full speed. To no avail – unlike other boats, the Seven has a brain: a flight computer that automatically adjusts the hydrofoils under the boat, keeping the craft artificially stable in winds and waves, even if provoked.

Candela Seven passed all tests with distinction. Needless to say, the emission test went well for the electric boat. But the one category where the Seven really outshone conventional boats, was the noise measurement. On the logarithmic decibel scale, an increase of 3 dB represents a doubling of sound intensity. To pass the test, a boat cannot be louder than 72 dB. Candela Seven flew silently past the sound recorder buoy, which picked up a mere 65 dB – about the sound intensity of a normal conversation.