Designed by Hugh Welbourn, the Infiniti 52 is the first foil assisted high performance/racing yacht developed for semi-custom production. A brand new entry to the race yacht market’s busy 52ft sector, it is unique in several ways. It is one of the few designed from the outset specifically to be campaigned offshore, rather than inshore windward-leeward racing. But most significantly it is the only 52 fitted with a Dynamic Stability Systems (DSS) retracting lateral foil.
The first Infiniti 52 Tulikettu underwent sea trials in the Solent, and was delivered to her Finnish owner Arto Linnervuo, in anticipation of a busy offshore racing program. During her first sea trials she has hit 28+ knots, with more than 30 anticipated and she has impressed her crew with her easy speed and bow-out attitude.
The patented DSS system employs retractable foils to reduce heel angles, while providing progressive dynamic lift, complimenting the traditional fixed or canting keel. This revolutionary system provides stability to the yacht and reduces overall weight. DSS heightens comfort for sailors, reduces displacement, and increases Velocity Made Good (VMG) in offshore sailing.
The Infiniti 52’s DSS foil isn’t designed to make the yacht fly, but it does significantly reduce displacement and drag, again increasing speed.
Most importantly, 15 years old, the DSS system and the subtleties of the foil’s shape, section, aspect, curvature and location are now highly refined (in CFD, tank testing and, most importantly, verified through 10,000s of race miles). Understated and over-delivering, it remains the simplest, most reliable foil system, requiring no complex rake or other mechanical controls: It is deployed (via a rope on a winch) and left to do its job, no hydrodynamics PhDs or Olympic medals needed. It was these features, together with not wishing to take the overly large step into a fully flying yacht, that attracted Tulikettu’s owner.
Designed to be sailed offshore with a crew of as few as seven, the program for Tulikettu is to compete in some RORC races in the Channel and the North Sea Race before heading up to the Baltic for Gotland Runt and the RORC’s new Baltic 600 race. This is the build-up to the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race, before the Infiniti 52 heads transatlantic for next year’s RORC Caribbean 600.
Arto Linnervuo, owner Tulikettu, Infiniti 52 #1: “The first project with our Xp 44 was to see where we were as a team and what is required to do well in bigger RORC races. We got to the stage where we could be competitive as a team but had reached our peak – if we wanted to seriously do well and win something big, we needed a new yacht. I saw that yacht design was moving fast and everything was ‘foiling, foiling, foiling…’ and that was becoming mainstream. Plus, I wanted to have a future-proof yacht.
“We want to do long distance races so it is really important to have a yacht that will finish every race. DSS has been used for 15 years on various yachts is now into its 16th or 17th generation. They are very reliable, bringing proven efficiency and gains, so I felt it was a proven concept which still hasn’t reached its full potential and of course the Infiniti 46 Maverick had caught my eye. I also saw what happened in the last Vendée Globe to yachts that were fully flying, so I thought this is a good balance – we want to finish, but still be foiling. I am from Finland, and I like conservative things – this is revolutionary, but not too drastic.”
Gordon Kay, Infiniti Yachts founder: ““The yacht is set up in a way that is incredibly uncomplicated. There are no mysteries when you look at the deck layout. You could step off a J/111 and on to this and if you knew how to work the halyard locks, you’d be off yachting. There is nothing particularly complex.”
An Infiniti 105 is in the works.