Following on from the news last week of the successful sea trials of Kymeta’s KyWay flat panel satcomms solution aboard motor yacht White Rose of Drachs, Kymeta and e3 Systems have released details of further testing that was conducted over four months aboard Maltese Falcon. It marks another significant step for the mTenna metamaterials flat panels, with the iconic 88m yacht effectively being the first sailing yacht to employ the technology.
With sailing yachts in particular, conventional satellite antennas and domes can present significant challenges. Shadowing from the masts and sails, the tendency to heel when underway, multi-axial movement and the relative lack of decent mounting points all mean that conventional systems can occasionally fall short. Using flat panels would potentially enable Maltese Falcon to remove its domes completely, which currently sit atop a forward mast located on the foredeck.
Kymeta’s KyWay flat panels use metamaterials technology and electronically steerable beams to acquire and track satellites across the sky, removing the need for large, gyroscopically stabilised apertures that are ubiquitous across today’s global superyacht fleet. In addition, Kymeta is planning to launch the panels with its KALO internet access services, which will be powered by the IntelsatOne Flex for Maritime service.
Kymeta and e3 Systems worked with the executive management, the captain and the IT manager of Maltese Falcon to perform the trials, which started in the Caribbean and which are still ongoing. “We were thrilled to partner with Kymeta on this sea trial because connectivity is critical on the water,” says Nikolaos Leontitsis, captain of Maltese Falcon. “Kymeta's consistent connection allows us to maximize the use of the Falcon's sophisticated onboard network, and to offer our guests and crew cutting edge communications and internet service together with the latest in on-demand entertainment options.”
The trials involved using both single-panel and multiple-panel configurations, utilising capacity on three of Intelsat’s assets covering the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Atlantic, and Europe. “We recently installed additional Kymeta KyWay terminals on the Maltese Falcon to enable truly global connectivity,” says Roger Horner, managing director at e3 Systems. “The yacht adapted very successfully from using a single Kymeta KyWay terminal during the initial sea trials by moving it to avoid mast shadow. It now has four terminals for the full-scale temporary installation which addresses the mast shadow challenges while awaiting embedded installation.”
The trials on Maltese Falcon gave the engineering teams at Kymeta and e3 invaluable information on the issues that specifically affect sailing yachts compared to motor yachts, along with operations in varying weather conditions, and it is this information that will help fine tune the terminals before they are officially commercially released. “We observed that the panel remained connected regardless of sea motion, pitch and roll, and exceeded our initial expectations of the performance of the electronically-steered beam,” says Håkan Olsson, vice president of maritime at Kymeta. “The yacht industry can now look forward to not only the possibility, but the reality, of domeless vessels and communication capabilities we never would have thought possible even a decade ago.”
“The sea trials with Kymeta aboard the Maltese Falcon offered an altogether different communications experience,” concludes Leontitsis. “It is very exciting to work with our innovative executive management team, which selects and is able to apply the most appropriate and advanced technology on the Maltese Falcon.”
With the panels having undergone significant sea trials on both motor and sail vessels, e3 Systems in conjunction with Kymeta will be showing the mTenna technology on its stand at QS87 in the Darse Sud tent during the Monaco Yacht Show from 27 to 30 September.
In addition, select VIPs are being offered the chance for a guided tour and test of the sea trial installations aboard both White Rose of Drachs and Maltese Falcon during the show where crew members who have hands-on experience of the technology, along with e3’s technical experts, will be on hand to answer questions. White Rose will be moored in Cap d’Ail, while Maltese Falcon will be anchored off Monaco, and the VIP tours are scheduled to last 90 minutes each. This is an unrivalled opportunity to see the technology in action and to probe those who have been using it in a practical sense for the last few months. Places on the tours are limited, so click here to register your interest, or head to http://e3s.com/TourReg/
We will be taking a more detailed look at the Kymeta technology and reporting on the sea trials in issue 183 of The Superyacht Report. Have you subscribed to The ‘new’ Superyacht Report? If you are a captain, owner, yacht manager, chief engineer, first officer, broker, designer, senior shipyard management, an owner’s representative, investor, or a family office, you are eligible for a complimentary annual subscription to the only superyacht industry publication worth reading. To apply for your VIP subscription, click here.
Technology will also be a key focus in this year’s The Superyacht Forum, taking place 13-16 November at Amsterdam RAI. Following a theme of A 10-year Blueprint for the Superyacht Market, the forum is set to be the networking highlight of the superyacht calendar, with 800 delegates and key decision makers from the technology, operations, owner and family office, project management, yard and construction sectors brought together to discuss the key factors affecting and influencing our industry. To book your place and for further information, click here.