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As consultants Owen Clarke has undertaken numerous research and development (r and d) consultancy projects where performance optimisation using towing tank model testing, wind tunnel testing and computational fluid dynamics (CFD), computer simulation has been used. On new design’s it’s often to input results into velocity performance prediction (vpp) software to improve race modelling for a new racing yacht design. In refit and optimisation projects the same can be true and/or it’s used as a means of comparing lift/drag in its own right, investigating novel appendages or to confirm centers of pressure and balance. Most of these studies occur within an OC project when we recommend additional effort, offering alternative solutions with fixed costs and deliverables. OC then undertake the analysis within a fixed term of reference. On occasion we are asked to act as an owner’s technical representative, consulting as naval architects on their behalf for a project they have engaged with another designer. That consultation may be short, as not all questions require an r and d program to answer them. OC will always provide impartial advice in the client’s interest and reccomend cost-effective solutions.

In some instances, there is no technical alternative but to invest in some level of research, whereas in other cases while not essential the funding required is low compared to the project budget and/or risks entailed. The Code 0 CFD study by North Sails France (headline image) provided accurate line loadings for a bowsprit design, deck modifications and also informed sail decisions, so was overall cost effective for a small racing yacht project. In the majority of large yacht and superyacht programs the cost of towing tank model testing such as for the 40m Wally racing program illustrated above is a small part of a larger refit budget. In this case it was an economical method to confirm changes during the process of optimising the yacht’s rating. During a recent consultancy for the owner of a modern classic, the best alternative to arrive at the accuracy required to deliver change with confidence was to model the old and new appendages using CFD. We were then able to analyse the differences in elapsed and corrected time on a variety of courses. The results gave the client and sailors increased confidence to make good cost/performance benefit choices on a range of possible refit and rating options we were able to provide them.

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