During a gala dinner hosted by the International Superyacht Society on the first evening of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show – or FLIBS as it is known in the industry – the design and leadership awards were given to a number of distinguished superyachts, personalities and companies. One of the awards is called the Technology Award, and it is destined for an innovation which has shown significant impact on the industry.
The Judges, consisting of long-time industry professionals, decided unanimously to give the 2018 Technology Award to the Hull Vane® because they were struck by the simplicity of the solution and the fact that it has been overwhelmingly proven effective on a number of both yachts and commercial vessels. In fact, it is yacht technology – developed initially for the America’s Cup – which is now crossing over to commercial and naval ships, much like Formula 1 technology makes it to normal cars after a number of years.
The Hull Vane® is a patented application of a hydrofoil to improve the performance of displacement ships (i.e. non-planing ships). In essence, the solution makes use of a submerged wing to convert energy in the stern wave into forward thrust. The proven results range from 10 to 29% in fuel consumption reduction, resulting in a higher top speed and a much longer range.
The side benefits of the Hull Vane® are perhaps equally important for the typical superyacht owner: the wing dampens the ship motions when sailing in waves, and the noise onboard is reduced due to a lower power demand, reduced propeller loading and diminished stern wave.
Other than sail propulsion, there is no magic bullet yet to make superyachts sail without emitting CO2. It is uncertain which fuel will be used on motoryachts in a few decades, but reducing the hydrodynamic drag today will make a future energy transition much easier as no alternative will be as cheap, light and compact as diesel fuel and diesel engines.