MARIN pursues bigger role in yacht design
WAGENINGEN _ The Maritime Research Institute Netherlands is rethinking its role in helping yards design and develop yachts. The world’s largest independent maritime testing institute says it will aim to join yacht projects earlier. It sees a role for itself already in the concept phase. MARIN assisted Feadship in transforming the yard’s ‘Breathe’ sustainable super yacht concept into reality. The ‘Breathe’ yacht debuted at the 2010 Monte Carlo Yacht Show and is due for launch in 2015.
MARIN defends an early role for itself in a yacht project by saying that will avoid cases when it’s “too late for major modifications.” MARIN President Bas Buchner says his organization has pushed through major changes to let it to play a role starting at a yacht’s concept development. MARIN’s High Speed Basin has become a “Concept Basin” equipped with a new wave generator, carriage control and model shop to generate low-cost model tests at an early yacht development phase.
Buchner says the idea is to iron out “design loops later in the detailed engineering phase. Preliminary performances such as speed, motions, comfort and maneuverability, are quickly assessed. Comparisons between design options are easily made.”
Early on in the “Breathe” project, MARIN focused on improving propulsion and fuel efficiency. Feadship opted for a single electric ‘azimuthing propeller’ that rotates 360 degrees, makes a rudder unnecessary and gives better maneuverability than a fixed prop. Following a concept desk study done with MARIN on the merit of such a propulsion system _ and possible alternatives _ a model testing program was undertaken that confirmed the expectations about fuel efficiency and better maneuvering and steering. In other Feadship projects MARIN carried out aluminum stiffness calculations and studies on super-yacht seakeeping and comfort-at-sea.
In the past year, MARIN has taken a more assertive stance, notably by launching a program that offers almost 500 hours a year of free tank time to small and mid-sized companies with innovative ideas, in the Netherlands and abroad. The offer includes the services of a qualified testing engineer and represents a value of €40,000 ($54,200) per client. MARIN is open to both the maritime sector and yacht builders. The latter now account for 10 to 15% of MARIN’s business. MARIN employs about 350 people and has an annual turnover of about €42 million ($57 million).