Thomas Tison and nlcomp partner to build sustainable foiling boat
The French firm Thomas Tison Yacht Design & Engineering is joining with Italian shipyard Northern Light Composites (nlcomp) to develop the ecoFoiler, a 3.8-metre foiling dinghy made with recyclable materials.
nlcomp specialises in rComposite technology, which the firm says allows for easier recycling of composite material at the end of the boat life.
The French studio, led by designer Thomas Tison, says the ecoFoiler will be easier to handle before and after take-off, unlike other high-performance foiling dinghies that can be challenging to sail and tend to fly very high.
“While there are several foiling concepts in the market, the ecoFoiler is going to set the bar high. It will be the first production foiling dinghy to be designed with bio-composite materials, offering a refined, fast design that ensures ease of sailing,” says Tison.
In 2022, Tison’s studio launched a custom sailboat featuring a high-tech wooden hull and conducted a Life Cycle Assessment to measure the impact of its design on reducing the boat’s carbon footprint.
“I’m glad to have the opportunity to work with nlcomp as they are a passionate team, and they are leading the way with their vision for sailing in a sustainable way. I am also looking forward to creating a product that contributes to the foiling movement: ease of use, respect for the environment, and the thrill of foiling on a refined design,” says Tison.
“Eco-composite and foiling projects are now reaching a wider audience. We will analyse and optimise every phase of the construction and production process to ensure that the ecoFoiler is accessible to a broad spectrum of sailors seeking the thrill of foiling with a minimal carbon footprint. Our goal is to transform this concept into a boat that can provide this unique experience to as many people as possible.”
The hull of the 3D-printed prototype and the mould are ready, and were unveiled at the JEC in Paris, the world’s leading trade show for the composites industry. Tison says he and his team will optimise the hull shape, develop the deck, the sailplan, and the foiling system to ensure optimal performance.
“We are really looking forward to collaborating with Thomas on this exciting project. I had been following his work for the past few years. After meeting him at The Yacht Racing Forum, I immediately knew that he was the perfect partner to help us develop the ecoFoiler,” says Fabio Bignolini, co-founder and CEO of nlcomp.
In 2022, nlcomp’s ecoOptimist went into production. The boatbuilder says the ecoOptimist is not only built from sustainable materials but is also recyclable – more than 90 per cent of the hull is already recyclable, and it’s expected to rise to 100 per cent.
nlcomp’s previous project, the ecoracer25, is billed as the world’s first recyclable sportboat. In 2022, the vessel won the Italian Sportboat championship held in Lake Garda against a fleet of forty fibreglass competitors.
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