The Gunboat G4 is not simply a speed freak; she offers cruising accommodation too, says Toby Hodges

When the Gunboat G4 launches this spring, she will be the most outrageous coastal cruiser-racer ever seen – and certainly the fastest.

If you ever needed proof that the America’s Cup foiling effect is filtering into mainstream sailing, meet the frighteningly fast-looking new 40ft G4, from carbon cruising cat specialist Gunboat.

It is thought that the G4 could hit speeds of 40 knots or more. One of the designers, DNA’s Mischa Heemskerk, has reportedly sailed a foiling GC32 up to 37 knots and thinks the G4 is capable of another 10-15 per cent. Short of America’s Cup foiling catamarans and ocean racing maxi-multihulls, there will be nothing to touch the G4 at any regatta. Maxi-monohull crews will be left red-faced.

But the G4 is not simply a speed freak. ‘Get the gun, be the party, cruise home,’ is the catchy slogan for this adrenalin pin-up. Like the rest of Gunboat’s range, she offers accommodation and a social platform at rest, with two queen-size berths and an innovative island galley in the cockpit.

In just 12 knots of wind it is predicted that the 2.4 tonne G4 should already be up and flying at a speed of 18 knots. The rake of the G4’s boards, which lift to 2ft, will be adjustable to suit various modes – non-foiling, foil-assisted or fully foiling.

But we imagine most owners will quickly be talked into going flying. “Flying is smoother, quicker and safer than pressing a powered-up cat planted in the water,” says Gunboat founder Peter Johnstone.

We aim to find out for ourselves later this year and bring you an in-depth test of the G4.


Toby Hodges comments

Most sailors will never sail at speeds over 20 knots. To create a production boat that could offer joyrides of double that is pushing to the scary end of the exhilarating scale. But it’s impossible not to applaud Gunboat’s spirit and innovation with the G4.

In the Dutch DNA design team, Gunboat has commissioned some of the world’s foremost foiling brains. The design of the G4 has gone from originally having C-shaped boards for lift-only to V boards measuring 15ft with return tips for full foiling. But the ability to switch ride height modes and prevent the boat from flying is a potential safety measure.

It is hoped that Antigua Sailing Week in May will be her first competitive event. If I were to be offered a ride I would certainly take it, but I would need reassurance of the ability of the ‘pilot’.

This is a machine for foiling experts only. And I‘m sure most people would need a lot of convincing before trying to cruise it anywhere.



This is an extract from a feature in Yachting World January 2015