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Old 05-20-2013
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Beauty in a sailboat

Interesting take by Pascal Conq (from Finot/Conq) about beauty and sailboats on the last Superyacht Design Symposium, in Miami, FLA:

Advances in the design of performance cruising sailing yachts : Evolution of the architectural proportions

Let's start with "beauty". What is "beauty" for a yacht, anyway ?

Martin Francis told us : "Never forget the length, is it so important", and he's so right !

Bill Tripp showed us the black and white picture of a one hundred year old Herreshof racing design, long, thin, elegant.

German Frers told us something I've always believed, too : "Beauty doesn't only come from the harmony of shapes and lines, but also from the pleasure the boat provides to her owner and crew".

We could also add this common expression : "Fast is beautiful !"

Of course, nothing is this simple, it is all a question of proportions. Proportions is architecture.

Like beauty, performance comes from a set of proportions. Like beauty, they evolve with time, and with time comes acceptance. As Francis Martin said, after all, the famous motoryacht Eco has now become a classic.

The main recent advances and the evolution of performance stem from a major shift in proportions. Our FC cube 100' is an example of this on a 100 feet superyacht.

This evolution is based on 4 pillars :

- Materials : Carbon, honeycomb, foam and epoxy, laid up and cured together, allow a huge saving on the structural platform weight. Carbon is quite simply the gold of our times. For the same weight, a part made of carbon can be up to 20 times stronger than one in stainless steel. This tremendous gain can then be shared : one part for the comfort, one part for the performance, and one part for the strength and higher safety factors throughout.

- Open : The open spirit comes from the open racing rules, it is an incentive to research in all directions. It allows to test new concepts, at a reduced scale in the Mini-Transat (that we have won 5 times in the last 25 years), and at full scale in the Vendée Globe that we have won 4 times. Futhermore, an essential point is that the open spirit is very close to cruising, because the boats are sailed short- or singlehanded.

- Studies : The new tools, like the CFD and FEA numerical codes, are now really affordable, precise and usable.

- Power : The open spirit provides almost free righting moment. Using solutions like increased width, water ballasts and canting keels, we completely transform the proportions, the ratios and the shapes. We dramatically reduce heeling as well. Power then comes more from the Gz term (horizontal distance from center of gravity to center of buoyancy) than from the D term (displacement) in the righting moment formula Rm=D*Gz.

Reducing displacement allows one to reduce it even further, that's the whole point ! The keel can be made lighter, the vertical position of the center of gravity is of less importance.

This changes proportions, hull shapes, width, and all the ratios like sail area/displacement, power/displacement,...
Sailing yachts once were narrow, they will be wide, mark my words ! It works!

And by an amazing stroke of luck, when increasing the width, one gains inside volume, just what we want in a cruising boat...

The circle is now complete...


Fast is beautiful or putting in another way very familiar to Architects: Form follows function. Nothing new about it and a familiar concept. it works for me

...
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