Industry works towards better high-speed craft design

So far, the project has involved model and full-scale testing, numerical simulations and interaction with RNLI user groups So far, the project has involved model and full-scale testing, numerical simulations and interaction with RNLI user groups

The RNLI has been working with Newcastle University and Lloyd’s Register to develop a series of methodologies and tools for the enhanced design and operation of future high-speed search and rescue craft.

So far, the project has involved model and full-scale testing, numerical simulations and interaction with RNLI user groups.

These results have been discussed at a dissemination event which was hosted by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) in London to share the main findings from the project and trigger discussion about best practice now and in the future.

The design and development of a new lifeboat class is a long and intense process, which involves model testing, sea trials and periods of evaluation before the new lifeboat enters service.

Structural response to the wave loads sustained and of the crew endurance is required to prevent operation close or even beyond the structural limit helping prevent structural failures.

During the workshop Federico Prini, research associate, Newcastle University, UK, gave an overview of the work that has been conducted so far.

Towing tank tests have been undertaken using two scale models of the Severn lifeboat, one solid and one segmented.

During 300 test runs, the models were tested in a range of regular waves at forward speeds in ahead waves and at zero speed with different headings. Time domain analysis was completed to compute motion and load RAOs.

Over 30 hours of sea trials have also been conducted included testing of slamming load effects to determine the vessel's seakeeping behaviour in real operational conditions.

The Severn vessel was tested in the North Sea using speeds from 5 to 25 knots and in sea states with a significant wave height from 0.3 to 4.6 metres.

Results have enabled structural response curves to be created along with a ‘structural limit’ for the vessel.

Work is ongoing to test the limits to speed in waves imposed by the installed propulsive power and crew endurance known as ride quality and power limit.

Ultimately, the study will inform design teams on areas of possible improvements and operators on the limits to speed in waves.

This should result in improved performance, an optimised response to emergency call-outs and increased safety for the on-board crews.

The improved approach will also enhance the assessment and understanding of risk by designers, trainers, crews and maintainers.

By Anne-Marie Causer

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