Fly Record Speeds in the v-44 Albatross
A revolutionary multi-hull equipped with two rigid wing-sails, manufactured from composite materials to break the world sailing speed record by early 2013.
Knowing he could do better, Tim Clarke, engineering team leader at Prospect Flow Solutions of Aberdeen, Scotland, founded Verney Yachts in January of 2009 and began an ambitious feat—break the world sailing speed record by early 2013 at the upcoming Summer Olympic’s sailing venue in Portland Harbour in the UK. Trusting his simulation-only design will shatter records, Clarke is chipping away at a concept that breaks a host of sailboat design conventions.
After reading about the record-setting preparations by the hydrofoil-design trimaran, l’Hydroptere, Clarke knew a technological breakthrough was the key to winning the challenge. Impressed and encouraged by l’Hydroptere team’s achievements, he decided to develop his own, innovative approach to speed-sailing. Clarke began working evenings and weekends to create a single-hull and equip it with two rigid wing-sails, manufactured from composite materials. The wing-sail has the ability to switch both position and function as the boat tacks, becoming either a wing if horizontal to the water or a sail if vertical. Named the v-44 Albatross, this new concept boat promises 65 knots or greater—20 percent faster than the current record. To help translate the conceptual design into a physical reality, Verney’s team turned to Abaqus FEA from SIMULIA, the Dassault Systèmes (DS) brand for realistic simulation. And to help the team achieve its goal, DS has chosen the v-44 Albatross project for its Passion for Innovation program.
Fly Above Water
With Abaqus FEA, the team is able to test the boat’s performance virtually. The geometry is created in 3D to analyze the structural strength of components, their response to wind loads, and the craft’s aerodynamic characteristics. Each of the 13-meter-long wing-sails are comprised of two planks (inner and outer) which are able to freely align to the airflow, like a weathervane. The plank's structure is intended to mimic the behavior of a tubular spar centered at the axis of rotation, which will have no tendency to rotate under the influence of bending loads. This requirement is essential to preserve the close coupled aerodynamic balance of the wing-sails.
For this reason, a different structural approach needed to be taken. Because the wing-sail design is unproven in the field, the role of FEA for virtual design and analysis is critical to the success of the project.
Getting it Right
With the use of Abaqus, Clarke and his team were able to consider many wing-sail design variables when moving from the conceptual to preliminary design. Early in the design cycle, the team created some of the key models within Abaqus first and used the extensive functionality within the software’s interaction module to simplify those models. The team also used SolidWorks Premium for additional 3D modeling and product data management. With the complex wing-sail structure and function, the engineering team chose to split up the analysis into three stages: the spar, the ribs and the secondary structures, and the skin. The three analyses validated the wing-sail concept, at the same time as pointing out several design issues. When the design is complete, the v-44 Albatross will be constructed without the benefit of extensive wind tunnel/tow-tank testing so they must ensure they get it right on the first try.
The Verney team hopes their boat will cover the official 500-meter distance in a scant 16 seconds or less. When it does, the v-44 Albatross will literally fly above the water, with only the keel and rudder breaking the surface.
For more information on this exciting challenge, please see the official site.
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