The Kiteboat Project has existed in some form since 1997, when Don Montague first began attaching kites to boats. Between 1997 and 2006, Don worked with a team in Hawaii to develop kites for use with surfing canoes, small catamarans, and large motored cats; their accomplishments included wave-riding and several island crossings. Between 2006 and 2008, Don worked on modifying and testing the Trifoiler and Quadfoiler test platforms through Makani Power, a Bay Area wind power company that he co-founded in the fall of 2006. The current team began to take shape in late 2008, when the Kiteboat Project acquired funding from the Marine Science Technology Foundation and moved to its own workshop in Alameda. Since 2012, we have been operating […more]
K2 is our newest completed boat, based on the Kitefoiler prototype. K2 is a 9-meter three-hulled boat. We are currently on our 7th iteration of foils for this boat. Early versions utilized J-foils in the amas and a T-foil at the rudder; the current version uses T-foils for all three hulls. This boat originally utilized the launching mast developed for the Kitefoiler and the winch prototype developed for K1, but it now features an updated winch design, attached to a custom-built kite control chair, and a telescoping launch mast. We originally maneuvered this boat using a tiller, but it now uses hydraulic steering at the mast and on the kite chair. The kite chair is an innovation developed over the lifetime of […more]
The Kitefoiler is a quick-build prototype made from three A-class catamaran hulls in order to verify the virtual pivot point system concept. This was the first boat with which we used a rigid launching mast, and we used this platform to develop a successful launch protocol using only the A-frame mast and a winch. The Kitefoiler has external foil enclosures, while K2’s updated foil mechanism is contained within the hulls.
K1 was the first boat that we built entirely from scratch as a dedicated kite platform, and its unique shape is our own design. For K1, we developed a sophisticated kitearm mechanism, which we also used on Cheyenne and on Nalani, and which we used as a basis for the K2 design. The kitearm allows us to control extremely large kites−up to 110 sqm−with a hydraulic steering wheel. For this boat, we also developed a fully adjustable rudder, which we replicated on the Kitefoiler and on K2, and a winch prototype that we have used on Cheyenne, Nalani, the Kitefoiler, and K2. We also used this platform to explore a variety of foil shapes, experimenting not only with the T-foil but also […more]
Our Rotating Chair Trifoiler was originally a Hobie TriFoiler, a two-man vessel with a sail over each ama. Our significant modifications included removing the sails and attaching kites ranging from 16-30 sqm, adding a small trampoline, and adding a rotating chair for the kite steerer. That last addition was the most important development made on this boat, because a rotating attachment point reduces time lost during jibing—the rotating chair means that the kite steerer does not have to crawl across the boat, and the resulting savings in momentum allow the boat to complete a turn on its foils.
At our test site in Maui we have a second Hobie TriFoiler, which also we modified for use with a kite. Comparing […more]
The Quadfoiler was originally a Nacra Inter 20 catamaran to which we added foils, sensors, and a kite. This boat represents our first attempt to translate what we had learned from the Trifoilers to a new boat, constructing our own sensor and foil system from scratch. On the Quadfoiler we also tried trailing sensors for the first time. The Trifoilers utilize a leading sensor system, wherein the points at which the wands hit the water are beyond the bow of the boat. The trailing sensor system means that the wands drag behind the bow. The advantage to the trailing sensor system is that it is possible to adjust the ride height of the boat on the fly by adjusting the […more]
Cheyenne is a 125 ft catamaran built by Steve Fosset to circumnavigate the world—originally named Playstation, it set the record in 2004. It subsequently had its mast and sail removed and was used as a camera chase boat for a sailing documentary. In 2010, its new owner, Chris Welsh, allowed us to use Cheyenne as a platform for testing our largest kites (50-110 sqm). Its trampoline provided ample space for kite handling and its size enabled us to collect large load data. For these tests, we transplanted the kitearm, winch, and hydraulic kite-steering system from K1.