It is named the Proteus, and is the first of what might be a long line of wave adaptive modular vessels -- WAM-V for short -- developed by Ugo Conti, an engineer and inventor. Conti calls it "the prototype of a new class of vessel."
Using technology developed by Conti's El Cerrito Marine Advanced Research Inc., the WAM-V is "a new class of watercraft ... that delivers a radically new seagoing experience." It has twin hulls, like a catamaran, connected to each other and a control cabin by four metal legs. The legs ride on titanium springs -- like shock absorbers -- that allow the WAM-V to adjust to the surface of the water -- to flex like knees.
The cabin, which sleeps four, can be lowered into the water -- "like a helicopter landing," Conti said -- and sail off on its own.
Jim Jessie, a yachtsman who has been sailing San Francisco Bay for more than 65 years, has never seen anything like it. "It's different," he said as he watched the Proteus slink over the wake of a passing boat, its hulls flexing. "It wiggles like a porpoise or a whale," he said.
El Cerrito firm unveils the Proteus, 'a new class of vessel'
Current Music: Juno Reactor -- Swamp Thing ♬