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More Than Meets the Eye: The Shape-Shifting Kormaran Hydrofoil Speedboat

At the press of a button, the boat can transform into six different configurations…

Designing a boat that operates equally well in multiple configurations without sacrificing performance is a goal naval architects have aggressively pursued for years. But no one has succeeded—until now.

The Kormaran is a 23-foot speedboat that morphs into six configurations with the push of a button. Dr. Oliver Kormann, who spent more than a decade working in the German automotive industry, has used the experience he gained there to aid in the design and construction of the Kormaran. He approached the project as he would any new performance-car design, using state-of-the-art materials. “The goal was to combine the experience of driving a cabriolet-style super sports car with the precise construction techniques used in the aviation industry,” says Kormann, who likens his one-of-a-kind boat to a waterborne Bugatti or Aston Martin.

At top speed, the $1.5 million Kormaran will run 44 knots in hydrofoil form. Dependent on sea conditions, it can also morph into a monohull, a catamaran, or a trimaran, thanks to electronically controlled actuators that reposition the hull pontoons. The Bathing Mode lifts an approximately 11-foot, 5-inch-wide teak platform from the sides to the center of the boat, affording the owners the space to lie down and take in the sun. Night Mode, which activates red LED lights and aquamarine strip lighting, provides the perfect ambience for sitting at anchor and watching the stars. 

Kormann designed the transformer boat with the latest composites and alloys. “The carbon-fiber parts were developed with Formula 1 technology and produced with the same quality standards of super sports cars,” he says. “We are also using aircraft technology for the hydrofoil Flight Mode.” He used sustainably grown teak for the decks and interior parts.


The Kormaran—currently under construction at a boatbuilding facility in Salzburg, Austria—is due to launch this summer at the Porto Montenegro Superyacht Marina in Montenegro. (kormaran.com

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