Corsair Foiler 2200
JUNE 2005
 
   
Length overall  22'
Beam  8'6"
Draft  13'
Displacement  2,920 lb
Standard power  Twin Suzuki 190-hp four-stroke outboard


Look closely to see the small center sponson, which acts as a wave splitter. The hydrofoil is located about two-thirds back from the bow.

Talk about revolutionary! This is a trailerable trimaran center-console with a hydrofoil spanning the sponsons, providing extraordinary performance at remarkable fuel economy. When you see it out of the water, it's hard to conceive that something so small has such a huge impact on the performance of a boat. The foil is just about six inches wide and about three feet from end to end with a strut in the middle. The foil provides nearly instantaneous planing, and combines with the two outer sponsons to provide a stable platform, spry response and just plain fun running. The third sponson is a narrow wave splitter running down the center.

It's built by Corsair Marine, based in Chula Vista, California, founded in 1985 with the F-27 trimaran. Now they build four sailing trimarans from 24 to 36 feet long. The turn from sail to power was sparked not so much by market research as by personal experience.

'It started when I began shopping for a small powerboat to take my wife and kids to Catalina,' explained Kurt Jerman, Corsair's general manager. 'Our kids are of an age where they're not into sailing,they want to get there now,but I was shocked at the oper-ating costs of the boats I found. I'm in the boat business, so I can't afford to shell out a hundred bucks on gas every weekend. But since I am in the boatbuilding business, I thought, why not build my own?'

He was taken by a similar boat built several years ago as an experimental prototype by Geno Morelli and Pete Melvin, the noted marine architect firm based in Newport Beach. Then, tapping into existing research on hydrofoil technology, they came up with this planing hull design. Morelli and Melvin are best known for their design of the 125-foot catamaran Cheyenne, nee Playstation, holder of the round-the-world speed record for sailboats.

The hull was completely computer designed and built with a resin infusion system, Jerman explained. The initial sea trials were fairly abbreviated, he recalled, 'but it worked great straight out of the box. When we added the T-top, that altered the center of gravity, so we had to adjust the position of the foil, but other than that, we haven't had to do much to it. It's been incredible. We've turned a lot of heads.'

We turned a lot of heads, too, as we slipped away from the docks at the sail portion of the Miami Boat Show and out onto Biscayne Bay. The layout is uncomplicated yet functional. The raised bow platform has a self-draining anchor locker and a low-profile bow rail. There's a bench seat in front of the console, and fishboxes in the sole, which are also self-draining. They'll offer deeper boxes with macerater pumps on future models as an option. There are deep circulating livewells on either side of the transom. The hull is rated for 280-hp, but it ran great on the twin 90-hp Suzuki four-strokes, and can be rigged with a single outboard as well.

Out in the Atlantic, the hull performed well in the two-foot chop, cutting across wave tops with ease. We headed inside under the low bridge connecting Virginia Key with Key Biscayne. There, in the calm water along the channel we clocked an astonishing 36 knots wide open at about 5500 rpm, and 23 knots at 4000 rpm. I say astonishing because if I hadn't had my little handheld GPS with me, I wouldn't have believed we were running so fast, that's how smooth it was.