Designer from the Netherlands revisits trimaran
Nobody calls Jelle Bilkert a quitter and gets away with it. The civil engineer has spent the better part of the last 30 years in pursuit of a better, safer, faster and more comfortable boat. That ambitious goal has led him to designing a unique tri-hull vessel which makes for safer, faster, more stable boating. A big ‘thumbs-up’ from Van Oossanen Naval Architects has sent Bilkert to seek patent protection for his ground-breaking “Triade” design.
“I was working on this in the 1980s already,” says Bilkert. “I quit because of the high costs back then of tank-testing a 5-meter tri-hull model.” But the idea lived on and the age of computer simulation reunited Bilkert and his partners. The Triade concept is a trimaran with a crucial difference: the outer hulls do not make a right angle with the deck, but are pointing outward. This, it has been discovered, renders great advantages: it boosts speed and stability, creates a larger deck surface, a roomier interior and reduces “box slamming” _ the lashing of the deck between hulls by waves from below.
Van Oossanen compared both resistance and speed of Bilkert’s model with existing motor yachts and a well-known 50-ft sail yachts. It found that the slim hulls have little water resistance and easily reach speeds of 20 knots depending on the engine or sail power. In motor-powered vessels, Bilkert’s tri-hull cuts fuel consumption by a third. Bilkert says fuel efficiency, a large living area and increased safety make his design commercial attractive, and not just in recreational boating. “Because motor boats represent 80% of the market, I see possibilities for ferries and other professional offshore craft.’’
Bilkert posted a photo of the Triade model online in 2010. “The reaction to that motivated us to move on,” he says today but adds there is still research to do, notably in the design application area. In recreational boating, Bilkert focuses on tour yachts, both sail and power. His design is best suited for sail boats up to 15 meters and motor vessels of double that length. Van Oossanen Naval Architects’ evaluation of the Triade concept is upbeat about the design’s possibilities saying it:
_ produced low resistance in the water for the boat’s displacement and length
_ can easily reach speeds of 20 knots and more
_ will sail faster at higher wind speeds than conventional sailing yachts and
_ is very useful for motor yachts, particularly at higher speeds