The world’s first ‘Breathe’ yacht

By Robert Wielaard

The Maritime Research Institute Netherlands, the world’s largest independent maritime testing institute, is expanding its work in yacht and ship design. It wants to jump into projects early in the concept phase. Previously MARIN contributed to making Feadship’s ‘Breathe’ durable superyacht concept into a reality. The first ‘Breathe’ yacht will be launched in 2015. It premiered as a concept yacht at the 2010 Monaco Yacht Show.

MARIN says “new innovative concepts” mean it needs to join projects earlier to avoid cases when it’s “too late for major modifications.” MARIN president Bas Buchner comments: “We are steadily trying to move into a broader role, from concept development through to the design and engineering process to operation.” MARIN changed its High Speed Basin into a Concept Basin equipped with a new wave generator, carriage control and model shop. This allows for more low-cost model tests at an early yacht development phase.

Buchner says an early project role for MARIN leads to fewer “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.”

In Feadship’s ‘Breathe’ project, MARIN focused early on improving propulsion and fuel efficiency. Feadship opted for a single electric ‘azimuthing propeller.’ It can rotate 360 degrees,  makes a rudder unnecessary and gives better maneuverability than a fixed prop. It also gives “better inflow and higher (fuel) efficiency,” Feadship design manager Ronno Schouten writes in Report, the MARIN magazine. Other Feadship projects MARIN has worked on include calculating the stiffness of an aluminum superyacht with an all-glass superstructure as well as seakeeping and comfort-at-sea studies.

MARIN is actively drumming up business. Recently it began offering a total of 480 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 per cent of MARIN’s business. MARIN employs about 350 people and has an annual turnover of about €42 million ($57 million).