International Hydrofoil Society Presents...

Hydrofoil Pioneers


(Reprinted From IHS Newsletter of Oct 1985)

It is with considerable sadness and a feeling of great loss that the Society reports the death of Baron Hanns von Schertel. The Baron was a true pioneer of the hydrofoil industry and remained a leader in hydrofoil technology all his life. Among his many distinguished accomplishments was his selection as the first President of the International Hydrofoil Society. Hanns Schertel von Burtenbach was born on January 8, 1902 in Seeshaupt/OBB, Germany, and died in Stansstad, Switzerland on April 18, 1985.

In 1927 while a student at the Technical University in Berlin-Charlottenburg, he began experimental work with the objective of finding a hydrofoil solution to the seakeeping problems of the flying boat. During the next eight years, the Baron built and tested seven experimental boats. He evaluated a number of foil configurations including both surface piercing and submerged foil concepts. By 1935 he had a working submerged foil test craft but was disappointed with his mechanical depth control device. Recognizing that the development of a satisfactory working depth sensor would require more time, he turned his efforts to the surface piercing system.

His seventh test craft had a V-shaped front foil and an aft foil with trapezoid outer portions. This craft performed fully satisfactory on the Rhine River and was demonstrated on a round trip from Mainz to Cologne -- a distance of 370 km. As a result the Koln-Dusseldorfer Shipline placed an order for a passenger hydrofoil. This was the first order for a commercial hydrofoil. The order was placed with the Sachsenburg Shipyard and represented the beginning of the Schertel-Sachsenburg relationship.

Before starting the commercial order, Schertel and Sachsenburg decided to build a larger test craft. This test craft was the 17-ton, 47-knot VS-6. After a demonstration to the Navy, it was commissioned as an ambulance transporter. By this time World War II has broken out and the Schertel-Sachsenburg effort was directed to-supporting the German war effort. The Koln-Dusseldorfer order never materialized. During World War II, a number of hydrofoils were built using the Schertel-Sachsenburg system.

After the war, it was forbidden in Germany to build boats with speeds in excess of 12 knots. This and other considerations led Baron von Schertel and Gottard Sachsenburg. to found in Switzerland in 1952- Supramar A.G. That same year Supramar built a small passenger hydrofoil the FRECCIA d'ORO and initiated the world's first hydrofoil passenger service on Lake Maggiore.

For over 30 years Baron von Schertel directed the technical activities of Supramar. He saw world-wide acceptance of his concept of waterborne transportation. In addition licensees were established in several countries to build Supramar products including Leopold Rodriquez Shipyard of Italy, Hitachi Zosen of Japan, and Vosper Thornycraft of England.

The International Hydrofoil Society will particularly miss Baron von Schertel. During his term of President, the Society was established and attracted membership from many countries. Baron von Schertel's presence and lectures at meetings in which the Society was involved were an inspiration to all and partic- ularly to those who would modify the ways of the marine world.


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