Racebird E1: an electric racing boat with foils

Officially presented at the Venice Boat Show, the RaceBird is the first 100% electric foil racing boat. It was chosen to serve as support for the future E1 world championship that should start in the spring of 2023. Photos: DR.

The first electric racing boat competition is expected to take place in just one year. Why not on a circuit in front of Monaco or in the center of Venice facing Saint Mark’s Square? In any case, this is the belief of Sophie Horne, founder of the company SeaBird Technologies that designed the boat that will be used for the future E1 world championship.

Shock trio for the future project: Sophi Horne, the founder of SeaBird Technologies, surrounded by Rodi Basso, co-founder and chief engineer (on the left), and Alejandro Agag, at the origin of the Formula E championship.

The young Norwegian had the idea more than three years ago. He imagined the electric boat lines that were officially unveiled at the Venice boat show in early June. A graduate of a design school in Oslo, the beautiful Sophi Horne is a true wonder. He studied at the SSH Maritime shipyard, a specialist in yacht refit until 2015, before joining the Norwegian studio Edge dedicated to 3D creation.

The designer took the opportunity to make the first sketches of the boat and mature his 100% electric water racing project. What followed was a fairy tale. In 2018, he asked Alejandro Agag, the inventor of the Formula E championship, to lend him the engine of an electric single-seater. This is the right contact. The wealthy Spanish businessman is keen on a project that could be the powerboat equivalent of electric car competitions.

From the very first sketch to the final 3D. The young Norwegian designer Sophi Horne is the origin of this ambitious project that she has been working on for more than three years.

Since its creation in 2014, the Formula E championship has experienced unprecedented popular enthusiasm. The recipe for success? Set up spectacular ephemeral circuits in the heart of capital cities, such as in Paris on the Esplanade des Invalides, and drive clean cars there at extraordinary speeds.

200 hp outboard motor

At the same time, Sophie Horne met Rodi Basso, an Italian engine engineer. Basso has a bottle. He worked for several seasons on the Formula 1 circuits with the McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari teams. He is also well versed in all aspects of the motorsports business. In addition to his role as co-founder of SeaBird Technologies, he will take care of all technical questions of the project.

To design the naval engineering of the future racing car, the shock trio approached Brunello Acampora, the boss of the company Victory Marine, a subsidiary of Victory Design, known in the world of motor yachting for designing, among other things , the Mochi Dolphin , the new generation of Apreamare or the Solaris range. Acampora will also oversee the construction of boats. “A project like this has a multicultural dimension,” Basso said.

The 7.5 m long car was presented for the first time at the Venice Boat Show, held from May 28 to June 5. Neptune attended its official launch.

It combines high technology, motorsport, shipbuilding, sailing, and surfing too! Based on Sophie Horne’s drawings, a 1/1 model and a prototype were created by Victory architects. The RaceBird equipped with hydrofoils is a single-seater with a closed cockpit 7.50 m long, equipped with a 150 kW (about 200 hp) outboard motor developed by Mercury Racing. The 35 kW lithium-ion battery bank incorporates a revolutionary water cooling circuit.

sophie horne overseeing the boat trials
Sophie Horne herself supervised the tests on the boat, which was loaded with sensors.

It was developed by Kreisel, a young Austrian start-up created in 2014 that has made a name for itself in motor racing. The boat will be partially made of carbon to lighten the structure as much as possible. The first tests took place at the Po, near Milan, on April 11th. They made it possible to verify the technical options and the SeaBird’s ability to shorten. It looks like the foiler needs to reach 28 knots to stand on its lugs and accelerates up to 50 knots (94 km/h) at peak, which promises a good show.

racebird prototype
April 11, 2022: the RaceBird prototype is launched at Po for its first technical tests.

The team has also worked out important details, such as positioning the camera that will make it possible to follow the race from the cockpit, like in Formula 1. For his part, Alejandro Agag activated his arm-long network to find sponsors that able to finance stables and contact the mayors of towns likely to host a championship event.

Discussions are very advanced in Venice, Monaco, Miami and Amsterdam. Circuits have to be drawn as close as possible to the public, like Formula E.

Twelve teams will be formed

SeaBird technologies have developed a championship in twelve rounds organized under the aegis of the UIM (Union internationale motonautique) and bringing together twelve teams that will benefit from two boats, all identical at the start. RaceBirds will have a 14m format and will be up against four pilots each time until the final.

Many unknowns remain in suspense, such as the choice of the builder of the 24 boats or the name of the stables. Only the Venezia E1 team seems to have reserved their place. Despite everything, Sophi Horne and Rodi Basso showed great confidence that the competition will be held next year, given the many prospects who have already expressed their interest. So see you in March 2023 for the first regatta!

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