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A Low-Cost Bamboo Foiler

Celia Sampol
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The Bamboo Boat is the new foiler conceived by a team of seven young French people and whose structure is entirely of bamboo.

The goal? Prove that it’s possible to construct a “flying boat” at reduced cost and using environmentally sensitive materials. We talked to naval architect Guillaume Dupont, initiator of the project.

NauticExpo e-mag: How did the project begin?

Guillaume Dupont: It started as a student project when I was studying naval architecture in Nantes (France), along with fellow student Basile Mayet and a carpenter friend, David Burban. Other friends quickly joined us; today there are seven of us working on it. For our final project, we wanted to build our own foiling boat. We quickly ran into an obstacle—constructing such a boat of carbon fiber and other commonly used materials is very expensive.

The large bamboo growing around Nantes gave us the idea to use this material. We began designing at the end of March 2016, followed by construction in mid-April. Initial launch of the boat was in August.

Which parts are of bamboo and which aren’t?

Guillaume Dupont: The framework is entirely of bamboo. This tubular structure supports all the loads, from the rigging to the foils and other appendages. The bamboo elements are joined with linen fiber impregnated with biosourced epoxy resin, which means it’s partially plant-based.

We made the float of standard materials because of cost and time constraints, using polystyrene foam and fiberglass. Without a float, the boat would sink when not foiling.

We decided to make the foils of carbon because our primary goal was to test the bamboo structure. But the foils also could be bamboo, which is what we now want to do. But our main goal was to test the framework and not go off in too many directions at once. The foils are the most complicated elements because they’re precision parts.

The Bamboo Boat (Courtesy of Guillaume Dupont)
The Bamboo Boat (Courtesy of Guillaume Dupont)

With the bamboo, the material is right where we need it—around the outside (Courtesy of World Bamboo)

The Bamboo boat project (Courtesy of Guillaume Dupont)

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