International Hydrofoil Society

Award Citation

Dott. Ing. Leopoldo Rodriquez

(Last Update 3 Nov 02)

Leopoldo Rodriquez, Hydrofoil Pioneer, died on Monday, 16 Nov 98

The International Hydrofoil Society honors Dott. Ing. Leopoldo Rodriquez for his many contributions to the development of hydrofoils and for his outstanding support of the Society.

Leopoldo received his Doctoral degree from the University of Genoa's School of Naval Architecture. Upon graduation he joined the family shipyard, Rodriquez Cantieri Navali, in Messina, Italy as the shipyard's naval architect. This made him a third generation Rodriquez associated with the shipyard. At this time Leopoldo's uncle, Carlo Rodriquez was the managing director having taken in 1953 the bold, entrepreneurial step of building hydrofoils of the Supramar design. His efforts had brought success to Rodriquez Cantieri Navali and to Supramar. As the production of these PT type hydrofoils grew, so did Leopoldo Rodriquez's position in the shipyard. He advanced to technical director based on originating improvements to the hydrofoil design and to production methods.

In the early 1970s, Leopoldo sought and received Carlo's approval to develop a new, improved hydrofoil design using an electronic seakeeping system and a modified foil system. The objective was to build a series of hydrofoils with improved passenger comfort for longer sea routes with larger seating capacity. Leopoldo Rodriquez, working with the American Company, Hamilton Standard, perfected an electronic control system that met these requirements. Leopoldo's expertise also contributed to the surface piercing V-foils modification to W-foils with hydraulically actuated trailing edge flaps on both the bow and rear foils. With the launching of the first RHS-160 in 1976, with a passenger capacity of over 200, Rodriquez Cantieri Navali met its development objectives. This new design provided passenger comfort on sea routes once considered too severe for surface-piercing hydrofoils. This successful design, with its improvements over the years, has kept Rodriquez Cantieri Navali in the forefront of hydrofoil producers.

From the beginning of the concept of an International Hydrofoil Society, Leopoldo Rodriquez has been a loyal supporter. Starting in the late 1960s he met with CDR Mark Thornton RN (Ret) and Countess Juanita Kalerghi to offer his services to the Society. This early backing led to his selection as the third president, a position he held from 1977 to 1981. Leopoldo was an involved president, participating and leading IHS's activities. Based on the size of the North American membership, Leopoldo envisioned a North American Chapter of IHS. This idea he pursued vigorously and in April 1980, the Chapter was formed as a not-for-profit corporation under the statute of the State of New York. This formation of the Chapter ultimately led to the IHS's change from a Charity in the United Kingdom to a not-for-profit incorporation in the United States.

For his many contribution to the development of the hydrofoil and for his many years of effort in keeping IHS a viable organization, the International Hydrofoil Society is most pleased to present Dott. Ing. Leopoldo Rodriquez with this well deserved Award Citation.

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