Development of a Nature Inspired Hull Structure for a 46m Sailing Yacht

david.leidenfrost [ at ]


The encounter with the sailing yacht concept Exo raised the question whether it is possible to develop a hull structure inspired by nature that is strong enough to cope with the global loads of a 46m sailing yacht. The concept was developed by Claydon Reeves and Dykstra Naval Architects with the main objective that views below deck match those above by integrating huge glass windows into the hull structure. This is most challenging, as these windows are supposed to be located in an area of the sailing yacht which experiences the highest global loads. In order to answer this question, the present master thesis project was initiated in a cooperation with Dykstra Naval Architects in Amsterdam and the Bremerhaven based Alfred Wegner Institute. In the framework of this master thesis the hull structure of the Exo concept was further developed and evaluated. To enable the integration of huge glass windows and removing major loadings from the glazed areas an unconventional truss structure design was requested with the ability to carry these major global loads acting on the yacht hull. Source of inspiration to achieve this was the beauty and functionality of nature’s lightweight designs. Therefore, topology optimizations were implemented to reveal the most advantageous load paths in the yacht hull, ensuring the development of an interwoven truss structure network which is directly related to the forces acting on the yacht. The evaluation of the concept shows that the developed hull structure with load carrying truss members resembling organic forms is able to cope with the global loads acting on the 46 m sailing yacht Exo. Furthermore, this master thesis presents a feasible new approach to integrate huge glass windows into a yacht structure.

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Leidenfrost, D. (2015): Development of a Nature Inspired Hull Structure for a 46m Sailing Yacht , Master thesis, Hochschule Bremen, Dykstra Naval Architects, Alfred-Wegener-Institut.

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