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Exclusive: 6 facts about the build of Sailing Yacht A

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Sailing Yacht A Propeller Aft
6

Sailing Yacht A's propulsion

One of the most important design factors was keeping the weight down as much as possible, so the choice of propulsion was key. The goal was to achieve a cruising speed of 16 knots and a 21-knot top speed and be able to sail silently. The solution was unlike any ever installed on a yacht: a customised diesel-electric system. Building on a basic concept from river cruisers, EMS in Hamburg developed this system and then MTU, together with Vacon and DEIF, took it further.

“We use variable-speed generators,” explains Kloosterman. “This means that we can get more power out of a generator because we can run up to 2,050rpm (giving 2,800kW) and the advantage is that instead of requiring five generators we only need four. This means a large saving in weight but also in costs of purchase, installation, operation and maintenance.

The generators can also spin down to 1,050rpm when load is less; the Superimposed System Controller (SSC) constantly calculates the optimal speed and determines the best combination of generators on line. For example, the SSC may ascertain that at a particular electrical load it is more fuel efficient to run two generators at 1,200rpm than run one generator at 2,050rpm. Running two at a lower speed can have many advantages such as reduced noise/vibration, reduced overall fuel consumption and reduced engine wear.” Maintenance intervals will almost certainly increase, says Kloosterman, from 15,000 hours to as much as 30,000 hours.

The pair of propellers can be driven by the twin MTU 20V 4000 ML73 main diesel engines or by electric motors or by a combination of both through clutches and gearboxes. The same electric motors can also be used as economical shaft generators when the main engines are driving the yacht.

“There are a variety of separate propulsion modes to suit the requirements of cruising and sailing; the propulsion system is very flexible, and I believe this is the future of yacht propulsion,” Kloosterman says.

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