Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2017.


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Tim Hight

Second Advisor

Drazen Fabris


This document explores the design, development, and implementation of a Human Powered Hydrofoil Watercraft. This project served as an opportunity to design, manufacture, test, and scale a product using knowledge obtained through various coursework. In applying a propulsion system familiar for a high number of users to a watercraft more stable than many other watercraft options, this project also sought to give people previously restricted to land an opportunity to experience watersports in a manner that is comfortable for them. The addition of the hydrofoil to the watercraft planned to provide an additional, innovative dimension to the watercraft designed to increase the overall performance of the system. Our design team was responsible for engineering the flotation, propulsion, steering, and lift systems of the watercraft. Given our initial design, our team expected the hydrofoils to generate 313 lb. of lift at a speed of 3.5 mph, thereby having the capability to lift a 50 lb. watercraft with 250 lb. rider out of the water. Our final prototype, however, weighed 100 lb, only achieved a maximum speed of 2 mph, and was unable to generate the lift required to lift the watercraft out of the water at the top speed. As a result, the incorporation of the hydrofoils produced minimal lift and resulted in additional drag on our system, thereby reducing our expected top speed of 3.5 mph without the hydrofoils and 7 mph with the hydrofoils, to a maximum system speed of 2 mph. The manufactured pontoons were 8 ft long with a 1ft x 1ft cross section and they each support 321 lbs thus achieving our safety and stability goals.

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