A France-based startup is making waves in the sailing world with its innovative IZIBoat, a collapsible catamaran that can be conveniently towed by an electric bike. Located in La Rochelle, this pioneering enterprise has spent the past few years refining and prototyping this transformative watercraft. Now, the IZIBoat is prepared to set sail into series production, marking a new milestone in recreational sailing.
The brainchild of self-educated windsurfer and architect, François Tissier, the IZIBoat aims to make sailing accessible to all. The last few years saw the development and testing of over 10 prototypes by more than 1,600 novice sailors. This comprehensive test run has culminated in the finalization of the pre-production model, a sign of imminent series production.
The IZIBoat’s twin hulls are crafted from polyester resin on fiberglass, with additional interior reinforcements for increased durability. A protective gel coating guards the hulls against sand abrasion, a common issue when beached between sailing excursions.
At 5.08 m (16.6 ft) in length and 2.4 m (7.8 ft) wide when ready to sail, the IZIBoat is a substantial vessel. An aluminum frame connects the hulls and supports the aluminum/fiber-composite mast. Each hull is equipped with removable wheels for easy transportation into the water.
The boat’s 8.8-m2 (95-ft2) main sail and 6.6-m2 (71-ft2) genoa are constructed from 240-gram polyester. The company reports that sailing speeds of up to 15 knots (17 mph) are possible. Additionally, an electric motor is currently being tested and is expected to be available as an option from 2024 onwards. This feature ensures that the boat can sail against the wind or return to shore even in windless conditions.
Designed to accommodate up to four crew members, the IZIBoat can carry a maximum weight of 280 kg (617 lb). Navigation is made simple with a central joystick connected to the rudder.
When not in use, the IZIBoat can be collapsed to a mere 62 cm (24.4 in) wide within approximately 15 minutes. This compact size allows it to be attached to a bike trailer. The empty weight of the IZIBoat is 156 kg (344 lb), which, according to the company, should be manageable for an e-bike rider to tow along the road.
The IZIBoat is available for order at a starting price of €14,250 (US$15,820), excluding taxes. Delivery is anticipated to begin in April 2024. This ground-breaking sailing solution is not just an innovative approach to making sailing more accessible, but it’s also a testament to the evolution of marine technology.