Hydrofoil Pioneers...

Foil Kit Development

David A. Keiper and WILLIWAW

(Last Update 26 Feb 04)


David Keiper

David Allen Keiper, 67, died of heart failure June 27, 1998 at a Cape Girardeau MO hospital. His brother Frank Keiper an electrical engineer, was executor of the estate, until he died of Leuikema in December of 2002. Frank is survived by his gracious wife Ila Keiper and their DAK web site is still available.

Dave Keiper is best known and honored for having pioneered and developed the world's first hydrofoil sailing yacht, a 32-footer named WILLIWAW in which he cruised around the Pacific in the late1960s, early 1970s, sailing as far south as New Zealand. He loved the sea and designing smoother, faster sailing vessels. Dave's book Hydrofoil Voyager tells WILLIWAW's story; the book is part adventure, part how-to manual... exciting to read and full of hard earned technical advice. Both the book and the acompanying videotape are now out of print; Frank Keiper has sold out all remaining copies.

Shortly before his death Dave had started a new business, DAK Hydrofoils to provide add-on hydrofoil kits for sailing catamarans. At the time of his death he had delivered only his first two kits (it is suggested to visit Dave Carlson's website; he assisted Dave Keiper in sea trials and refinement of the kit design). Note: an unorganized set of Dave Keiper's files on his designs for add-on hydrofoil kits is available from IHS. For details, Click Here.

Left: David Keiper. Photo by Claus-C. Plaass  (plaass@foni.net) phone: +49-431-36 800

Dave Keiper often said, "Happy Sailing to all of you." His ashes were sprinkled on the Pacific Ocean where he sailed for many miles. IHS and the sailing world have lost a good friend, a true hydrofoil pioneer.


Correspondence to IHS about Dave Keiper and WILLIWAW

WILLIWAW Successor...

[26 Nov 01] See the following link about Tom Speer's planned successor to the ocean-going hydrofoil yacht WILLIWAW: http://www.basiliscus.com/CSYSpaper.pdf. -- Barney C. Black (Please use the BBS to reply)

Wants Copy of Hydrofoil Voyager...

[3 Sep 01] I am interested in obtaining an electronic copy of Dave Keiper's book "Hydrofoil Voyager" about his ocean-going hydrofoil yacht WILLIWAW. -- Jan Mantkowski (jan.mantkowski@gmx.de)

Response...

[3 Sep 01] IHS is willing to make an electronic copy of this book available on CD-ROM at cost, however Dave Keiper left heirs including a 5-year-old child. It has not been possible to get agreement among the heirs to "give the copies away" because of hope that there may be someone interested in the future to reprint the book and generate a profit. That remains to be seen. In the meantime, IHS will save emails from people interested in acquiring a copy of this book. If a new edition becomes available, whether hard copy or electronic, IHS will post a notice in the website announcements and will try to notify by email those who expressed interest in the past. As for obtaining a used copy, we normally recommend that people search weekly for used books on www.eBay.com and on www.amazon.com Z-Shops until they find a copy. However, in several years of following these sites, I have never seen a copy of this book available. Click Here for more info on David Keiper and his book. -- Barney C. Black (Please use the BBS to reply)

Remembering Dave Keiper and WILLIWAW...

[29 Mar 00] I was lucky enough in life to have sailed with Dave Keiper in the summer of 1971 on the most incredible boat I have ever sailed on. We were anchored in the middle of Hanalei Bay on the island of Kauai when Dave came in and dropped anchor. We had seen WILLIWAW flying around Waikiki a month or so before and were surprised to see her here. I had sailed over with a man named Gordy Gladson on his tri, and as all trimaran sailors in those days knew each other, we swam over to have a visit . Of course Dave (most gracious) had to show off the boat. We put out to sea in about a 15 knot trade wind on a beam reach. The boat started heeling like a monohull, and then the foils got a bite and the boat came up out of the water and accelerated like a car...what a rush!!! The boat was so fast and stable Dave could walk away from the tiller and she would run like she was on rails. This was truly one of the most memorable days of my sailing life of 35 years. I'm sorry to learn that Dave has joined my friend Gory where ever sailors go when they leave us. Someday I hope to sail with them again. I may have some super eight film of WILLIWAW that was shot that day. The footage is probably not very good; I haven't seen it in years. -- Jim Wrenn (wrennj@webcombo.net)

Amateur Yacht Research Society, October 1970

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