Composite Catamaran Designed for Tourists

18 June 2004

A new Catamaran, named Tsunami by its designer has been designed to be the fastest bridge-deck catamaran of its type in the world.

Tsunami was designed by Greg Young for the tourist market and built by Vaudrey Miller Yachts. It was commissioned by New Zealand-based Marine Tourism Holdings (MTH) for day-sail operations for their Cruise Whitsundays business in Queensland. The company says it will prove to be the fastest bridge-deck catamaran of its type in the world.

The design brief called for captivating styling, thrilling sailing experiences, large passenger loads and safe operation with a minimum sailing crew. The design draws people in towards the curvaceous central house, arcing fore-beam, lightly loaded bows and glistening black prod. It is not just Tsunami's strong colour and 25.9m (85ft) by 11.5m (37.7ft) size that takes the eye.

Tsunami seldom sails at less than ten knots and, in optimum trade winds with a moderate number of passengers aboard, guests can expect an exciting ride to 25 knots and well beyond.

Young's design philosophy is to keep the structure stiff and strong to retain rig tension and superior sail shape, whilst minimising weight and drag so boat speed builds quickly and is maintained even when the bows are buried in a seaway.

MTH selected Miller Yachts to realise Young's concepts because of their track record in composite construction, custom engineering and project management skills.

High Modulus engineer, Nina Heatley, says Tsunami posed challenges in terms of weight, the length of spans and performance levels sought. ""We drew on established cruising catamaran data, computer modelling and elements of PlayStation to develop the composite structure. There was some cross-over from PlayStation to Tsunami.""

Mould costs and construction times were minimised by building the wing-deck and each side of both hulls in temporary female frames, a tactic that also allowed Vaudrey Miller to optimise labour distribution across many jobs.

The exterior composite skin includes a layer of Kevlar to increase impact resistance when sailing at speed and abrasion resistance when Tsunami is beached daily at Whitehaven beach for guests. With the stern anchor deployed , guests can disembark via a carbon fibre ramp that is raised and lowered using a line to the forward anchor windlass.

The multiple mainsheet rams are carried in the carbon fibre boom and the genoa/staysail sheet ram is fitted under the deck within the starboard hull.

In addition to hospitality services, the fit-out included specifying and engineering the failsafe hydraulic systems that allow Tsunami to be sailed with up to 100 passengers and only two sailing crew. The mainsheet and staysail are hydraulically operated from each helm station using toggle switches that interface with a microprocessor and a hydraulic power-pack.

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