Designing the new Hydrolift X-27 SUV

Designing the new Hydrolift X-27 SUV

When the Hydrolift X-26/27 product platform was developed, the intention was to make it a modular platform to cover several versions of boat models.  We spent more than one year in the test mule, made as a one-off GRP-hull to verify what our engineers with their computers had anticipated.  We tested out all possible weight positions to make sure that the boat will be safe in any possible conditions.

Our goal was to create a sporty and comfortable ride giving the driver that special feeling that all boat drivers know of when they have experienced, with a low fuel consumption through its efficient hull design.


For the boat to be appealing to a wide customer base, the following points were concluded based on an internal study from Hydrolift and the results of our research for the ideal pilothouse boat:

  • Keep as much as possible of the appreciated social zones from X-26
  • Keep the sporty open boat feeling in a pilothouse boat for all-year usage
  • Equally interesting for summer and family usage in southern Norway, as well as for professionals and families for all-year usage in the northern part of Scandinavia.
  • 360-degree view for professionals to obtain a maximum view as well as keeping the open boat feeling
  • Full weather protected environment for minimum 4 persons
  • Heating in the pilothouse
  • Keep the convenient cabin with toilet and comfort solutions like a pantry, shower, etc.
  • Minimum speed 60 knots to be used as a fast transport boat in industrial settings like fish farming, fire patrol. i.e. possible with 2×300 HK
  • Flexible exterior allowing the boat to be transformed into versions for police, fire, and other versions with their unique requirement.


After the initial research, we started the concept and design phase of Hydrolift X-27 SUV.  The design phase added a pilothouse maximizing the window area for a light feeling and “good view”.  The windows in the rear can be opened to keep the social interaction to the aft deck.

For convenient mooring, it is possible to mount a fender from the inside of the pilothouse, as the side window can be opened. The door is large to be kept open to maintain the day cruiser feeling. Finally, adding a sunroof was important, as that gives the driver a perfect feeling of an open boat while being protected from the wind.

Concept and design for hYDROLIFT x-27 suv

The aft seating area is flexible in its design and allows the possibility of adding the necessary equipment/ tools for fireboats or similar vessels.

Because of the speed potential, all Hydrolift boats are ergonomically designed with the steering wheel in the middle with easy access to critical equipment. To increase stability especially when the boat is occupied with 8 persons, trim tabs are available as an option.

In addition to the pilothouse, a new deck was designed and engineered. It was important to keep easy access end exit solutions in the front, side, and rear, as well as the comfort solution in the cabin, toilet, and pantry.

For optimal use of the boat in the evening, nights, and the dark season, red night lights in the pilothouse were included in the concept.


The composition of the composite material is a compromise between weight and strength. All boat components were carefully evaluated and designed to handle sea and wind loads while being as light as possible for maximum performance and agility. The submerged hull conceals numerous tests and hydrodynamic analyzes, which are marked by the boat’s excellent maneuverability and high speed.


Strength calculations

  • High strength and stiffness
  • Composite Calculations
  • FEA (Finite Element Analysis). Advanced calculations using digital tools.
  • Dimensions


  • CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics). Hydrodynamics calculation tool.
  • Minimize resistance
  • Hydrodynamic lift
  • Design of step in the hull


  • Test simulations to seek the lowest possible drag to obtain the highest possible speed/kW with the highest possible fuel efficiency.
  • Test simulations to create a low turbulence area in the aft to avoid the salt water spray, and low turbulence in the front of the boat to avoid the nose being pushed down at low speed.
  • Test simulation to obtain a noise-free ride at all speeds inside the steering wheelhouse.


Plugs for all glass-fiber reinforced plastic (GRP) parts were CNC machined by our new large 5 axis CNC machine taking maximum sizes of 10m length, 3.6m wide, and 2.5m tall. When the roof and deck were completed, they were shipped to Hydrolift AS for finishing touches, mold making, and part production.

CNC Machining the new Hydrolift x-27 pilothouse boat

In the process, we worked closely with Hydrolift Engineering and the production dept. to obtain the best possible mixture between stunning engineering and high efficient production.

Photo and video: Fredrik Helliesen/Eker Design/Hydrolift

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