There’s a definite vibe floating around the technology section of The Superyacht Report issue 183, and it’s not the onset of the festive period and general New Year celebrations. So what delicious morsels are we serving up to tide you over the Yule season?

For a start, we look at the science behind predicting noise and vibration on superyachts, and talk to those in the know about what tools are currently used, and what new materials are being developed to help mitigate the problems. After all, a quiet ship is growing ever more important on the list of owner requirements. “The process begins when writing the specification of a project,” says Joe Smullin, president of noise and vibration consultants J&A Enterprises. “It’s about understanding from the owner what he’s looking for in terms of quiet. But it has to be realistic in terms of what can be built.”

“You can even state requirements for underwater noise,” adds Søren Dahl, team leader for noise and vibration at Lloyd’s Register’s Copenhagen office, “which we see more and more and which is especially important if the vessel is going to sail in Arctic waters now.”

After the spec comes analysis, based either on experience and historic empirical data, or on modern finite element programs that can analyse and predict structure-borne vibration according the spec of the boat. Often, consultants will use a combination of the two – and then comes the choice of materials and methods for isolating vibrations and mitigating sound levels. But for that, you’ll have to reach into TSR183 to find out more…

 Good vibrations are certainly being felt by the captains of both motor yacht White Rose of Drachs and iconic sailing yacht Maltese Falcon, both of which have spent much of the year trialling Kymeta’s metamaterials flat panel antennas. This innovative technology – which is based around the TFT technology found in modern television sets – allows for small, easily installed, fixed flat panel antennas that are capable of quite astonishing things. Fast satellite acquisition out of the box, the ability to track upcoming LEO satellites, and a 12-month included basic airtime package are just a handful of the elements that have got the industry talking.

So how have the panels fared in real-world applications aboard the two trial superyachts? “Compared to putting a dome up on the mast and connecting it, it was night and day,” says White Rose’s captain, Andrew Schofield.

The challenge aboard Maltese Falcon was to see how the panels could handle not only the heeling of the vessel, but also the potential for mast shadow from the mighty Falcon rig – something that has always presented a problem for any sailing yacht with conventional VSAT domes. “For sure from time to time the panels were blocked a certain percentage but it didn’t really affect the overall performance,” Nikolaos Leontitsis, Maltese Falcon’s captain, enthuses. “It was slowing down at some points as a result, but it was still a lot faster than our traditional VSAT. We have moving masts and we can heel a lot – perhaps at 15 degrees for a week at a time on passage – and it still works.”

From flat panels to forum panels... Alf Rehn is a speaker who has sent relative shockwaves through various audiences who have heard him speak about innovation – or rather, how ‘innovation’ is so often either stifled by companies or gets sidelined as something of a cliché. He is due to address delegates at our very own Superyacht Forum in Amsterdam from 13-16 November, but if you can’t make it to the talk there then his column in TSR183 is well worth reading. It is likely to send vibrations throughout the industry, and Rehn is well versed in such matters – he has addressed and consulted for some serious corporate names to get them to change their attitude and approach to innovating…

And with that tantalising taste of what’s to come, I shall leave you while I head out to the noise and good vibrations of The Superyacht Forum and the METSTADE exhibition in Amsterdam. Keep an eye on our live blog for updates on what’s happening at both events. No mitigation measures necessary!

 

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Photo: Tim Thomas/The Superyacht Group