A COMPANY headed by a Southampton-born Olympic sailing champion has launched the world's first commercially viable workboat that appears to fly above the water. 

Belfast based Artermis Technologies has launched its new zero-emissions vessel using electric-powered hydrofoils to lift the boat out of the water as it accelerates. 

Adopting the same technology used by America's Cup racing yachts, the hydrofoil wings attach to the hull with vertical struts, driving the boat up and out of the water like a plane taking off from a runway. 

This enables the craft to travel almost silently with its hull raised above the waves – reducing drag, and operating costs, dramatically.

The company behind the vessel is headed by Southampton-born Olympic sailing champion, Iain Percy. 

Daily Echo: Head of Artemis Technologies, Iain Percy. (PA)Head of Artemis Technologies, Iain Percy. (PA)

He said the new boat is an "absolute game changer for the industry in terms of range, costs savings and minimal wake created”.

“The ride comfort of a hydrofoiling vessel through a large seaway has to be experienced to be believed, offering a completely smooth journey whatever the sea state.

“This will allow engineers in crew transfer vessels or port operations to get to their destination and deliver their services without discomfort.

“This is a hugely significant milestone not only for us but in global decarbonisation efforts, with the International Maritime Organisation requiring emissions to be halved by 2050.”

Daily Echo: Artemis Technologies' new 'flying' boat. (PA)Artemis Technologies' new 'flying' boat. (PA)

The 10-tonne vessels, which can carry 12 passengers, have a top speed of 34 knots and a range of 60 nautical miles.

Designed for use as workboats or to ferry crew members on to large ships, they can be recharged in one hour.

It is the result of a £12 million research and development project.

Mr Percy went on to say: "This is only the beginning. As our vessels transform the commercial workboat and city-to-city passenger ferry sectors over the coming years, Belfast and the UK will be at the forefront, creating thousands of jobs across the supply chain and heralding a green shipbuilding revolution."

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