ENTERPRISE - In 1961, Marine Systems Corp, Miami FL contracted with North American Hydrofoils, Inc., Chicago, IL headed by Harry G. Nye, Jr., to design and build a commuter hydrofoil for the run between Atlantic Highlands NJ and Wall Street in Manhattan. The route was considered prime in the 1961 Stanford Research Institute study on the "Feasibility of Passenger Hydrofoil Craft in US Domestic and Foreign Commerce," which was prepared for the US Maritime Administration (MARAD). the vessel was sized to meet a 1961 US$75,000 purchase price.

Two 40-foot vessels were ordered, to be named ENTERPRISE and ENDEAVOUR, after America's Cup boats (Harry Nye was an ardent yachtsman and Olympic gold Medalist in the Star class). The hulls were designed of 5086 aluminum alloy plating with 6061-T6 structural extrusions. Foils and struts were of 17-4PH stainless steel. Power consisted of two Chevrolet Corvette 225 hp engines with modified Mercuiser stern drives. The vessels, with their three-foil canard arrangement, were the world's first commercial hydrofoil vessels with fully submerged foil systems. sustainable cruising speed was 42 mph. Full load displacement was 17,600 lbs. Passenger capacity was 27 plus 2 crew. Sperry-Piedmont engineers Henry Harris and Robert Smith designed and built the automatic control system for the foils, dubbed the "Gyrofoil Automatic Stability Console. Although an eventual need for 30 of these vessels was projected, that scenario never materialized for various technical, business, and political reasons.

Back to [1950s -- A Decade of Experimental Progress]

Go To Main Page

This part of the site is maintained by Malin Dixon