GERMANY, Bremen. In 2014 Yachtwerft Meyer was presented with the opportunity to engineer, build and deliver two 9.5m D-RIB tenders designed by Patrick Banfield. We speak with head engineer Johannes Schlieben about the project and its associated difficulties, which included the reduction of noise when underway.

“You have to look at any element that induces vibration into the structure, starting from the engines, over to pumps, blowers, intakes and even wave impact,” explains Johannes.

Building any vessel brings with it a distinct set of multifaceted challenges; strength, weight and more recently environmental concerns, must all be considered, measured and engineered accordingly.

D-RIB

“When designing a ‘quiet boat’, yet another facet is added to the increasingly complex portfolio of requirements,” continues Johannes. “When noise is taken into consideration you quickly find yourself changing components of the engine, specifying particular rubber types that match the engine and the boat. You have to talk to suppliers to find out frequency ranges that must be accounted for within the design…otherwise you simply find yourself making expensive measurements of all kinds.”

Reducing the impact of unwanted sound requires special care and attention to be employed to ensure that all manufacturing processes showcase a high degree of accuracy. “In this case it was important to centre attention on how precisely things needed to be aligned if you wanted to avoid disturbing frequencies from misalignment.”

By focussing on alignment and precision, Yachtwerft Meyer sought to limit the uncomfortable rambling noise that accompanies products of inferior build quality by dramatically reducing structural and air born sound transferal. “This required providing templates, measuring equipment and specific processes to achieve specific results.”

The result is two 9.5m tenders that produce 66dBa at the helm when the vessel is travelling over 40 knots, at which point the largest noise contributor is the head wind. “From now on, all our tenders will be built with this technology and our customers will benefit from this project. There is a bit more room for improvement and we already have ideas on what else we can do.”

One of the most abused concepts in design is ‘form and function’, usually expressed as self-absorbency within claims such as, ‘a victory of form and function’. It is refreshing to have a product brought to our attention that unashamedly screams functionality. While the D-RIB’s are by no means unattractive products, their beauty is a by-product of their practicality. The RIB-like inflatable collar provides additional internal volume with minimal additional weight, the low noise output makes travel comfortable and conversational and the 43 knots top speed adds an element of sport.

“The D-RIBs turned out very well — in both engineering and cosmetic aspects — and I’m sure the owner and crew will appreciate how good they are in use. I think we, and Yachtwerft Meyer, understand that there is an increasing percentage of owners who are looking for ‘style over substance’ so it’s sometimes hard to convince them that a well-engineered boat is important,” says Patrick Banfield.


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Yachtwerft Meyer GmbH