Swedish 'flying' boat aims to help save Venice from the waves

by Reuters
Monday, 7 June 2021 12:30 GMT

A new Swedish-designed electric boat is tested during the Salone Nautico - Venice Boat Show, in the lagoon city of Venice, Italy June 6, 2021. Picture taken June 6, 2021. REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri

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Could a boat the skims above the water be a solution to erosion caused by waves washing over walls?

VENICE, June 7 (Reuters) - Venice has long been in peril from the waves that motor boats create along its canals, eroding the foundations of historic buildings and threatening them with collapse.

A new electric boat that flies above the water, presented during the Salone di Nautica boat show, might be a solution.

Erosion - a problem known as "moto ondoso" - is caused by the wakes of motor boats, water buses and ferries washing against the walls of buildings along the canals.

Swedish company Candela's electric boat, the Candela C-7, runs on computer-controlled hydrofoils, or underwater "wings", that lift the hull into the air and make it appear to fly over the water. Candela says its technology significantly reduces "moto ondoso" damage.

"The boat has five sensors that read the water and speak to the computer system in the boat and the computer system tells the foils to move and they move 100 times a second, back and forth and diagonal to keep the boat stable. So when you are up flying it takes off at about 15 knots," said Candela's Maria Rohman as she piloted the C-7 over the Venice lagoon during a test drive at the weekend.

"It's extremely stable with no slamming against the waves and you just cruise along," she said.

Candela says the boat travels silently on battery power using little energy and creating a wake less than 5 cm high, similar to traditional rowing boats.

The company is also working on a water taxi and a ferry, using the same technology.

Candela hopes its hydrofoils will become a regular means of travelling through Venice, reducing pollution and erosion.

"This is an ancient city. We all love Venice and if we can help to save it, we should," Rohman said.

(Reporting by Alex Fraser, Cristiano Corvino, Emily Roe; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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