Vessev’s Electric Foiling Ferry Conquers Waves in Early Testing, Demonstrating Superior Seakeeping Prowess


  • Revolutionary electric hydrofoiling vessel cruises through one meter swell with ease
  • State-of-the-art America’s Cup foiling technology maximizes efficiency and seakeeping
  • Super smooth experience akin to travelling on a quiet waterborne airplane
  • The VS—9 will be commercialized by Fullers360, New Zealand’s largest ferry operator
  • Technology, which is under advanced development, scales up to much larger passenger vessels and recreational applications

Vessev, a pioneering company developing electric foiling vessels, has successfully completed the initial testing phase of its VS—9 platform, showcasing exceptional seakeeping capabilities in challenging conditions.

The VS—9 is designed to revolutionise the way we move on the water. The first vessels will be used in commercial service delivering premium private water transportation augmenting existing ferry fleets. Fullers360 – the largest ferry operator in New Zealand – is the first customer. 

The VS—9 utilises advanced foiling technology to ‘fly’ above the waves, dramatically reducing wave impact. This translates to a smoother, drier, and ultimately more comfortable ride for passengers, even in rough seas.

A very successful first few weeks:

The first VS—9 platform was launched on May 10th and 24 test sessions have already been completed in the initial validation campaign.

“We have been pushing the VS—9 less than two weeks after its first flight and she has been ticking all the boxes and more,” said Eric Laakmann Vessev CEO. “On some of our test sessions, we had 25 knots gusting 35 with wind waves to match and she was cruising over the waves. The sea-state in these photos and videos had waves averaging 0.75m but a few wave faces were over 1.0m.

“While the VS—9 didn’t have any issues operating in these sea-states, it was next to impossible for the 9m chase boat to follow along without slamming through wave after wave. This was a testament to the difference that these vessels can make in our experiences on the water and the new opportunities that they unlock.”

Vessev attributes this remarkable performance to its innovative foiling system, which uses some of the same techniques employed by winning America’s Cup teams to make its systems ultra-efficient and resilient.

Max Olson Vessev founder and CTO said: “The performance is possible due to the foil system we’ve chosen. We use many of the same techniques used by winning America’s Cup teams such as high precision flaps which change shape below the water to optimise the angle of attack. The flaps can move very quickly – end-to-end in less than half a second. They really give the VS—9 so much authority in waves to react to them and maintain an incredibly stable platform. We are all very impressed with it.”

These initial tests focused on evaluating the VS—9’s core functionality before final outfitting with the cabin and interior, which will be added in July before the VS—9 is relaunched in August.

Unlocking New Possibilities: 

The VS—9’s ability to rise above waves creates a significant advantage over conventional vessels. Traditionally, vessels have to be a minimum size to deliver a comfortable experience based on wind and wave action. This new breed of hydrofoiling vessels breaks the mould.

“One of the great features of these hydrofoiling vessels is their ability to handle waves in a totally different way to a conventional vessel,” Max Olson remarked. “By riding above them, we create a vessel that can operate throughout a wider range of sea states than ever. The more challenging use cases that the VS—9 will operate in would not be possible with a similar non-foiling vessel.”

“Through enhanced capability, we expect that entirely new marine services are going to crop up on bodies of water around the world. Smaller, more nimble vessels delivering point-to-point services alongside traditional ferry fleets. These vessels will change the way we use our waters,” Laakmann said.

Scaling Up:

This advantage extends to larger vessels being developed by Vessev as well as the recreational market.

“This enhanced capability scales up to larger vessels like the 100-passenger platform, the
VS—18, which we have planned,” Eric Laakmann noted. “In our local area in New Zealand, there are some ferry routes which are often cancelled due to weather. These are routes which have more exposure to wind and waves. The VS-18, and vessels like it, will be able to ride above the waves and deliver a more consistent and pleasant service than what exists today.”

“We’ve designed the VS—9 from the start as a commercial first product, designed for the most demanding applications in marine and built to last. That being said, in addition to our commercial customers, we’ve seen incredible interest from the recreational market. Everything from private boaters to super yacht owners who would like to add the VS—9 to their fleet. I’m anticipating that we will be announcing several different variations of the VS—9 sooner rather than later,” says Laakmann.

About the VS—9 

Vessev’s VS—9 platform represents a significant leap forward in electric vessel technology. Its exceptional seakeeping prowess paves the way for a smoother, more comfortable, and ultimately more reliable future for passenger ferry transportation.

Designed and built by Vessev (formerly Seachange) the VS—9 delivers smooth and quiet travel on the water like never before. The state-of-the-art vessel is currently undergoing sea trials out of Auckland, New Zealand, and the first VS—9 will be certified this year, entering commercial operation with New Zealand’s largest ferry operator, Fullers360, thereafter.

The nine-meter VS—9 will transport up to 10 passengers at a service speed of 25 knots providing an experience that is more like flying than sailing. The VS—9 has a range of 50 nautical miles (57 miles/92.6km) thanks to state-of-the-art efficient hydrofoiling technology.

Vessev’s expert team of marine engineers and boat builders, combined with Fullers360’s NetZero Maritime decarbonization team, has ensured the VS—9 is designed and built to align seamlessly with commercial and tourism transport requirements.

The VS—9 features ultra-high authority hydrofoil systems, where the foils change shape using high precision flaps under the water to optimise efficiency. This enables the VS—9 to handle adverse weather and provide far better seakeeping than other technologies. Vessev’s engineers used some of the same techniques employed by winning America’s Cup teams to make its systems ultra-efficient and resilient.

The VS—9’s foils enable it to ride completely above the waves, providing an infinitely smoother passenger experience than conventional vessels and enhancing its operational capability. The VS—9 takes off at 18-19 knots, transitioning from foil assist to full foiling mode, and cruises with optimum efficiency between 22-25 knots. The foil stabilisation systems enter operation at 12 knots – actively reducing pitch and roll motion, even when not fully on foils and ‘flying’.

Constructed using carbon fibre laminates, the VS—9 is incredibly resilient and built to last. For maximum durability, the VS—9’s foils are fully retractable which enables the vessel to operate in shallow water and protect the foils so the vessel can be transported on a trailer.

The VS—9 entered the water for the first time in May 2024 at Auckland’s Westhaven Marina where it is undergoing robust sea trials and risk mitigation testing before gaining certification by Maritime New Zealand.

Intended for premium tourism services the VS—9 signifies a defining moment in Auckland’s decarbonisation journey as the city welcomes its first fully electric passenger vessel.