Skeeta Foiling Craft, founded by father and son team Jim and David French, have been refining their unique concept for a simple, accessible hydro foiling dinghy in Australia since 2015. In collaboration with Dr Ian Ward’s Glide Free hydrofoil technology, Skeeta Foiling Craft developed the 3.66m Skeeta and 2.9m Nikki dinghies that are available in both foiling and displacement sailing configurations, maximising the thrill of foiling in a versatile package that the whole family can use.
Jim French was determined to build the Skeeta hull using an expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam core and the single shot closed mould epoxy lamination process pioneered by the windsurf board market, making Cobra International the perfect build partner for series production. Skeeta Foiling Craft first contacted Cobra back in early 2016, when the company started developing initial hull production materials and processes that could match their targets for lightweight, durable and cost-effective construction.
The 3.66m Skeeta’s modern scow shaped hull is simple, robust and unsinkable. Cobra uses a moulded EPS foam core blank, assembled with a mixture of woven and biaxial glass fibre fabrics, localised carbon fibre reinforcements and G-10 inserts, this is all wet laminated into closed vacuum female moulds. This rapid construction process produces incredibly consistent hulls with minimal finishing required and an impressively low hull weight of just 32 kgs for Skeeta and 23 kgs for the Nikki dinghies.
Cobra currently supply painted hulls with a moulded Eva foam deck pad that provides a non-slip and comfortable deck for the sailor. This deck pad, as well as textile covers for the boat’s wings and custom-made protective bags for the Skeeta’s aluminium and composite hydrofoils, is produced by Cobra’s in-house accessories division and then shipped to Australia for final assembly and set-up of the finished boats.
Skeeta Foiling Craft have recently launched the smaller 2.9m Nikki dinghy with hulls also built at Cobra. So far around 100 boats have been manufactured with production lines being configured for up to 50 hulls per month.
As production rates build, Cobra and Skeeta Foiling Craft are also discussing ways to develop a one-stop-shop supply option with sails, metal components and plastic parts being manufactured or sourced by Cobra so finished boats could be shipped directly.
“Jim and I first worked together in the mid 80’s developing windsurf race board designs in Australia. It is great to be collaborating again, combining the French’s decades of expertise with the unique craftsmanship and volume manufacturing capabilities at Cobra,” said Bruce Wylie, water sports CCO, Cobra International.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (PC)