When Verney Yacht founder Tim Clarke read about the record-setting preparations by the hydrofoil-design trimaran, I’Hydroptere, he knew a technological breakthrough was the key to winning the challenge. He decided to design his own racer. He started to create a single-hull and equip it with two rigid wing-sails. 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% faster than the current record. To help translate the conceptual design into a physical reality, Verney’s team used Abaqus FEA software from Simulia, Dassault’s brand for realistic simulation.
Using the software, 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 in the success of the project. 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 team split the analysis into three stages. Each analysis validated the wing sail concept and indicated several design issues. When the design is complete, the v-44 Albatross will be constructed without extensive wind tunnel/tow-tank testing. So the team must ensure they get it right the 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 fly above the water with only the keel and rudder breaking the surface.