This Yacht Looks Sci-Fi, But Its Soft Ride Is Based on Years of Testing

The raised profile of the Glider Super Sports (SS18) suggests a cartoonish, sci-fi approach to yacht design, but its speed and seakeeping abilities are grounded in hydrodynamics. Rob McCall, formerly a yacht captain, first came to the idea of building the Glider, or “Wave Dominator” hull as he called it in 2007, after piloting a high-speed, jet-propelled passenger catamaran in the Caribbean. With its twin wave-piercing hulls, the catamaran left every monohull vessel in its wake during rough passages and provided surprising stability in choppy conditions.

A decade later, McCall’s Glider concept has moved from theory to a proven 59-foot speedboat that blasts softly through seas that would leave other yachts at the dock, all while reaching a top speed of 56 knots. “Our hull forms are more advanced than any vessel on the water today,” says McCall. “Their form and function were engineered with processes similar to those used in the aerospace industry.”

McCall would not give additional details about the yacht’s shape, but says the geometry of the boat—specifically how the hulls interact with the stability control system—are the secret to its soft, fast ride. “The hull form, propulsion, and stability control system actually tune to the sea conditions, which allows the boat to glide over the waves,” says McCall.

For the captain and guests aboard the SS18, this construction translates to a soft, fast ride in rough water. The SS18 (starting at about $1.3 million) is powered by quadruple engines driving water jets with a total of 1,080 horsepower. Built by Burgess Marine in the UK, the Glider can be completely customized. McCall says the company takes the same bespoke approaches used in private jets and F/1 cars. The SS18’s 17-foot-wide cockpit incorporates custom Corbeau leather and Alcantara seats similar to those used in luxury sports cars, and has a color-coordinated interior and chrome edging. JL Audio’s premium system has been acoustically engineered for the SS18 for an exceptional sound experience. According to McCall, the SS18 is also the first craft in Europe to be fitted with JL Audio’s MM100s MediaMaster head unit.

The boat has a futuristic helm area with fully integrated navigational and control touchscreen displays from Garmin, one of the leading electronics manufacturers in the private-jet field. The embedded touchscreens also are in sync with the cockpit’s uncluttered appearance.

The company is now building the Hyper Sports 18 (HS18) using the same hull but with two engines and two turbines totaling 3,400 hp. It accelerates from zero to 60 in less than 3.5 seconds, with a top end of 96 knots. McCall says the Glider concept can be scaled across the Sports Superyacht spectrum, all the way up to a 262-foot superyacht. The company also plans to launch the Glider limousine series next year, followed by its GT and SX-E, 114- to 262-foot Sports Superyachts. (glideryachts.com)

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