Built in the United States, the first Infiniti 52 delivered was lost in the North Atlantic after colliding with an unidentified floating object (UFO). Designed by Hugh Welbourn, the monoul is the first foil-assisted high-performance racing yacht developed for semi-custom production.
In addition to a keel, the boat is fitted with a Dynamic Stability Systems (DSS) retractable side foil that protrudes from the sides of the hull, just under the leeward water. DSS provides “demand righting moment” and provides more lift as the boat (and foil) passes through the water faster, as does adding crew weight to the rail or ballast to the keel.
The net result is a significant increase in speed, but high speed results in high damage on collision. The Tulikettu Racing Team, who christened this first boat in October 2021, recounts what happened:
It is with great sadness that we have to report an incident that occurred in the North Atlantic while Tulikettu was sailing from Cascais, Portugal to the team’s base in Gosport, UK. All four members of the delivery team survived the situation unscathed and returned to the UK with their loved ones.
The yacht collided with a UFO on April 18. The EPIRB was launched on April 20 at 00:54 UTC. Will Jackson, Tulikettu shore team manager, supported the person in charge via a continuous satellite connection. On April 20 at 10:45 UTC, the entire crew was evacuated to an oil tanker that had been diverted to assist, and Tulikettu had to be abandoned at sea.
A rescue operation began on April 21 with a high-powered tug sent to search the area with direct assistance from a spotter aircraft. Search efforts continued 24/7, with support from MRCC Turku and MRCC Delgado. The multinational team worked together to produce daily drift calculations to aid recovery specialists at sea and in the air. However, hope for a cure faded after intensive searches and the Tulikettu team stopped the search late on April 29.
“We managed to cover almost 5000 nautical miles on board our magnificent yacht, which was long enough to conclude that the new Infiniti 52 exceeded all our expectations for the performance of the boat,” noted Arto Linnervuo, owner of Tulikettu Racing. Team.
“I will never forget the feeling when Tulikettu leaned on her foil and soared above the waves for the first time, effortlessly reaching boat speeds of 28 knots without the help of surf waves. , and the wind speed did not even come close to the speed of our boat at the time.
“I’ve been through many sleepless nights wondering what else we could have done to find our beautiful new beast. Very slowly my thoughts begin to look ahead, which gives me strength in this devastating situation.
“Losing such a revolutionary vessel that had attracted so much attention and interest in the global sailing community is, after many years of hard work, one of the most difficult times of my life, but to abandon our goals and my dream of winning something big with my all-finnish offshore racing team on the international grand prix offshore racing stage would be much worse the more wet rags on my face the more I want to achieve our Goals.
“A Formula 1 team wouldn’t stop racing after crashing their new car during winter testing. Therefore, I have made the decision to continue our team efforts as soon as possible in conjunction with Infiniti Yachts.
“In the meantime, the team will continue to train and compete with the other offshore racing yachts of our sailing club, Xtra Stærk Ocean Racing Society, including our proven Xp44 and JPK 10.30 yachts. We will study the possibility of chartering other competition boats. Damn, we’ll be back!”
Gordon Kay, founder of Infiniti Yachts:
“The Infiniti 52 showed all the signs of being the finest DSS-equipped yacht ever. Her handling and balance were impeccable and her speed easy to find. After spending so much time developing and building the Tulikettu, his loss is a great disappointment, although Hull 2 is well advanced and Hull 3 should start in a few weeks.
Brian McInnes, Composite Builders boat builder:
“I speak on behalf of the entire team at Composite Builders and everyone involved in the launch of Tulikettu, how heartbroken we are to learn of the unfortunate accident with this magnificent yacht. short life, the performance of the boat had exceeded expectations!
Unfortunately, we are seeing more and more cases of foreign object collisions at sea, and the effects this is having on the health of our oceans and the boating community. We are happy that the crew is safe and hope to see Arto and his team back on the water very soon.
Stu Bannatyne, Tulikettu Racing team coach and Doyle Sails representative:
“I was shocked and saddened to learn of the loss of Tulikettu. The few times I sailed the boat during the first sea trials were truly exciting and she gave more than a few glimpses of her very impressive in a range of conditions.
“An absolute pleasure to sail and tune, Tulikettu was I think a real step forward in technology and performance for a 52ft offshore racing boat. 52 as soon as possible. This is great news and totally understandable! I look forward to the opportunity to join him again.