The glossy yachting magazines are full of images and stories about newbuilds of unprecedented shapes and sizes: there have never been so many yachts above 60 m built in history.
Boating in general is booming, with the refit and second-hand market also buoyant. One explanation is that having a boat is seen as a safe way for travelling with family and friends, giving the opportunity to sail with a professional crew in a ‘controlled environment’. Furthermore, due to full satellite coverage, it is possible to maintain business relationships from any corner of the seven oceans.
Enrico Della Valentina, Yacht Team Leader coordinating the yachting market activities, comments: “I understand this situation very well: last year, I decided to purchase a small, classic motor yacht that would allow me, my family and friends to spend some memorable times together. Apparently, I was not the only one with this idea and the prices on the market were crazy. I asked an experienced colleague to assist me and we had some unforgettable conversations and sea trials. We could not stop ourselves making suggestions and recommendations to the sales people!”
This process helped me to better understand the needs, worries and questions of our clients, Enrico stresses. “MARIN is an independent voice and does not have any interest in promoting one solution or the other. Our clients come to us because they value our knowledge, facilities, attitude and commitment. They want to reduce the risks that every new project brings and they want to take educated decisions based on independent, reliable numbers.”
MARIN works hard to provide the most accurate measurements and calculations but also to give the possibility to verify them in real life and experience them before a vessel is built. On top of the traditional services MARIN is renowned for, we are investing in new ones that expand, complement and strengthen the existing offer to our clients, he stresses. We have hired a number of experts such as a psychologist and specialists who can provide a better understanding of the ‘human factor’, meteorologists, plus we have specialists in energy carriers, energy systems and the integration of them with the ship design.
As you can see in this special issue of Report magazine, MARIN focuses on the needs and requirements of specific maritime sectors. Enrico explains: “However, when we understand that there is a recurrent and diffuse challenge in the industry but there are not the right resources to tackle it in one go, we then come up with a new Joint Industry Project proposal. We translate the issue into a precompetitive question and join forces with partners in understanding the physics and mechanism of the problem.”
Currently, MARIN is cooperating with the yachting industry within several JIPs such as Yacht Environmental Transparency Index (YETI), ZERO (zero emission), F-series (fixed-pitch propellers) and Tunnel Thruster propellers (TT). Additionally, some new proposals include a JIP on foils, one on the prediction- testing-verification of stabilisation systems, the sloshing of swimming pools and wind-assisted ships. Two great examples of yacht builders that understand the benefits of cooperation are Oceanco and Sanlorenzo.
We have a long history with Oceanco. Often Lateral Naval Architects is also involved in our Oceanco projects, which further enhances the benefits of effective collaboration. During the development of Oceanco’s innovative LIFE Design, which stands for Lengthened, Innovative, Fuel Efficient, Eco-Conscious, many of the services and facilities at MARIN were used.
“Challenging each other and pushed by the Owner Representatives, we managed to extend the boundaries of what was technologically possible: from time domain simulations coupled to experimental model testing, to implementation of the Captain steering in the model basin in ‘real time’, to the use of the simulator for the selection of propulsion and steering arrangements,” Enrico says.
Italian group Sanlorenzo builds a wide range of yachts, not only in size but also in type. “Sanlorenzo makes use of a diverse range of our services: a few years ago we were mainly working for the large yachts’ division and now we work for many of its production lines. Each yacht division has specific requirements and this keeps our yacht team on its toes: we cannot take anything for granted and there is no such thing as a standard approach to any of the challenging Sanlorenzo projects!”
MARIN has a dedicated Performance@Sea department that is constantly on board all types of vessels and offshore structures conducting measuring and monitoring campaigns. Enrico highlights a unique and memorable campaign of sea trials MARIN performed in cooperation with Sanlorenzo. MARIN’s meteorologist had warned about an exceptionally low-pressure area with a high possibility of storms in the Tyrrhenian Sea. “The MARIN crew was already in Tuscany and was welcomed by the Sanlorenzo partners. They could only confirm the extremely bad weather conditions and the sea trials were postponed. The next day, all the local newspapers were reporting the severe damage that many areas in Italy had suffered. With a mixture of relief and sorrow, MARIN and Sanlorenzo’s crew and technicians installed all the necessary instrumentation aboard a SD112 and SX88 yacht and performed a unique manoeuvring and seakeeping campaign at full scale. Not only was the data unique but also the experience!”