The fastest, most outrageous coastal cruiser-racer ever will launch in early 2015. Gunboat’s new 40ft G4 could hit speeds only much larger, extreme racing multihulls are capable of. Hold tight…

Meet the G4. This is Gunboat’s catchy name for a frighteningly fast new 40-foot weapon due to launch in early 2015. It is proof that the America’s Cup foiling effect is now filtering into mainstream sailing – and the potential speeds of this cat, which can foil if desired, could be outright scary. ‘G4’ will be boldly emblazoned over the transoms as Gunboat believe that is the only part any other competitor will see of her on the race-course.

A Gunboat G4 on foils certainly has the potential to both blow any other cruiser-racer away and be the ultimate daysailing plaything for the rich, adrenaline-seeking sailor. She may look like a Formula cat on steroids, but like the rest of this innovative company’s range she offers accommodation too. The berths, two doubles and two singles, could come in handy for the recuperation of those brave enough to sail her.

“It’s the baddest-ass coastal cruiser ever,” said Gunboat’s mercurial founder Peter Johnstone when I bumped into him at METS in Amsterdam. He also let me into a couple of juicy predictions. In just 12-knots wind for example, the G4 should already be up and flying at a predicted 18 knots. One of the designers, DNA’s Mischa Heemskerk, who has reportedly had the foiling GC32 up to 37 knots, thinks the G4 is capable of another 10–15%.

Can you imagine that? 40-knot plus speeds! If this was a car, you get the feeling it would only be legal on a race-track. Short of AC foiling cats, there will be nothing to touch the G4 at any regatta. Gunboat’s motto for the G4 is “Get the gun, be the party, cruise home.” If the speed predictions are correct, even maxis and supermaxis, complete with 20-strong crews, would be left trailing this 40-footer.

Yet when the G4 returns to harbour, unlike the carbon shell of a maxi, she will be able to entertain guests, thanks to an innovative exterior island galley, plenty of beam and two queen-size berths within! Together with the boards that lift to draw less than 2ft, this offers potential cruising daysails. “Darling, let’s take the kids out to the islands for the day…” Perhaps not.

That said, Gunboat is taking safety seriously. Although she will be capable of foiling easily, there will be a way to adjust the rake of the boards on the G4 to prevent the boat from flying. The daggerboards are C-shaped, and the asymmetric foils are can be raked up to 7 degrees for maximum lift. But after all, “flying is smoother, quicker, and safer than pressing a powered-up cat planted in the water,” says Johnstone.

The Gunboat G4 was designed by the Dutch DNA design team responsible for the world champion DNA A-Class cats. It is being built at the Holland Composites yard in pre-preg carbon with a Nomex honeycomb core. A displacement of just 2.4 tonnes ensures loads will be light, with no powered systems or pedestal gorillas necessary. The ability to tame the mainsail easily will be crucial, hence the helmsman will trim the mainsheet via a hydraulic foot pedal.

The first G4 is due to launch in time for the Miami show in February. It is hoped that Antigua Sailing Week in May will be her first event. Yachting World Round Antigua Race record look out… It’s nearly time to go flying, cruising style!


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