Gunboat's G4 has been launched in St Maarten, risen to her foils in 14 knots wind and has already hit 30 knots. Watch the video here

Hats off to Gunboat. The company that put the cool into cruising cats has done it again by producing the world’s first foiling ‘cruising’ yacht.

And it seems the G4 lives up to her promise – she actually flies. The G4 launched this week in St Maarten, rose onto her foils in 14 knots wind, and has already hit 30 knots.

“It’s insane!” Gunboat’s ecstatic founder Peter Johnstone told me after the G4’s first trials. “You look at the photos and your instinct and intuition tell you it must be crazy scary. But up there onboard the boat it’s mind-bending – it couldn’t be smoother or calmer!”

This first official video of the G4 inflight is a must watch. Here it is:


While the America’s Cup teams continue to dispute what size cats to race, Gunboat’s new 40-foot weapon is proof that the foiling effect is applicable to the broader sailing public. In one of the most radical steps in boatbuilding history, Johnstone, the Dutch DNA design team and builders Holland Composites have created the first production cruising foiler.

The potential speeds of the G4 are unheard of for anything other than grand prix racing multihulls, so there will be little that will be able to touch her on the water.

“Max speed recorded so far is 31.9 knots,” Johnstone reports. “We should get into the mid to late 30s as the tuning progresses.” Stop and consider that for a minute!

Initial trials have been held in various winds this week from 9-25 knots. “At the top end, you drop a reef in and it gets easier and faster as you lower the centre of effort.”

“And there is definitely an upwind foiling mode,” Johnstone reckons. “It’s pretty dramatic when you dial in the rake of the leeward board. The pitching stops and the speed goes up two or three knots from 13 to 16 knots.

“There is the potential to do 18–19 knots upwind.”

The Gunboat G4 foils

Heeled and flying: the Gunboat G4 foiling during her first week of trials off St Maarten


The 15ft long daggerboards of the G4 lift to draw just 2ft. The rake and height of these are adjustable by hand while sailing – so you can set the ride height to conventional mode should you not want to foil.

But an aspect Johnstone was particularly happy with was the comfort of the ride. “You sheet in, she rises up and the speed doubles. The ride gets noticeably smoother and more comfortable – we’ve had people walking around the deck, the boat has really nice manners.”


The cockpit 'galley' island on the Gunboat G4

The cockpit ‘galley’ island on the Gunboat G4

The G4 has an added twist of wow-factor: like the rest of Gunboat’s range, she offers accommodation too. The cockpit has a galley style island for cooking and socialising around (granted it’s a bit exposed to brew up at those speeds) – plus there are two double and two single berths within.

The G4 is surely sailing’s ultimate adrenaline rush for a wealthy owner. “Get the gun, be the party, cruise home” is Gunboat’s motto for the boat. Can you imagine seeing a fleet of them zinging around at a regatta?

Gunboat took a big risk with this innovative project, which is set up to be production-built. After the results of these early trials they will doubtless be rewarded by a string of orders for this, the hottest new ride available.

Our lucky technical editor Matt Sheahan will be getting aboard the G4 in the next fortnight in the Caribbean. His full report on the future of foiling cats will be in the July issue of Yachting World.

The Gunboat G4 foils

“The G4 is already foiling in 14 knots of wind and we think she will do so in 12 knots with the J1,” says Gunboat’s founder Peter Johnstone.

All pictures by Rachel Jaspersen / Ocean Images