How much experience/know-how do you really need to build an electric hydrofoil?


Apologies - if I am breaking the forum rules - seem to not see them anywhere.

I want to build a boat using hydrofoils(fully submerged - maybe somewhere around 10ft boat) - going to start with a board though.

Why? Because I have never built a boat in my life - never mind a hydrofoil, haha.

I have no electronics experience, even less experience in woodwork - BUT I AM WILLING. I am a tinkerer - no foil design know how either- nada.

I have a good grip on maths. I am a software developer by trade.

Is this possible without any AutoCad experience(My dad though has 35 years of architecture and probably 20+ years in AutoCad - I might use his skills.)?

This all looks amazing - but not sure if I am in way over my head here. Or anyone in my shoes for that matter!?



Hello and welcome!

Its definitely possible, I think most of us have just jumped in and learnt along the way. Its an enjoyable and frustrating experience at the same time lol. Some of us are aslo lucky enough to have skillsets that help us along the way but I dont think it’s a requirement, almost everything you need to get you started is here on the forum


Hi David,

just a remark: I’m also a boat builder and considering adding hydrofoils to my (not yet finished) 20’ boat later. That may be not feasible, because I will be motoring electric (partly solar) and slow.

Gruß, Günter

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A fair bit, especially on the safety side. Have you checked out SeaBubbles?

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Just get started. Don’t worry about the skills you don’t have. You will have some difficult problems to solve and you will need to find people who can help you solve certain problems (like having a friend who’s a machinist and another friend who’s an EE would definitely help)

You can very likely trade your software dev skills - Everyone here is strong in some skills but less strong in others. For instance before I started this I knew absolutely nothing about carbon fiber layup, waterproofing, boat building… now I know virtually nothing about them :slight_smile:

This is why this community exists.

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This is pretty close to what I would like to get to - without the people though. Non human - cargo.

Cheers for this.

Great to hear - thanks. Going to start giving this a shot. starting this weekend.

Where did you start if I may ask?

I’m thinking about copying someone elses boat build first - or prototype on a small scale - maybe 3D printed parts. Test on the water… and then scale up to something bigger when I am 100% sure, it could carry a human or heavier cargo.

Does this sounds reasonable?

I’m not sure how much a scale model is going to help you. unlike an RC boat or plane this requires a person shifting weight to make it work. So it seems as though you won’t learn much from building a scale model and it will cost money and time and not get you where you want to go. This is just my opinion.

I started by going to a board swap in Hood River and picking up a board. That made it real. After that I have this bad habit of buying things, so I bought batteries, I ordered the motor (which has a long leadtime) and I started looking at foils.

Then I started researching how people here made each part and each system, and started on each one.

I have a build log, you can actually derive the process by reading through it. And you will learn a ton by reading other’s build logs.

Ah this is really useful - thanks. I’m looking at build logs today. Trying to figure where I want to go. Cheers.