From Seahorse International Sailing magazine, February 2022:
So what exactly is Featherlight? Project 405 is being built behind firmly closed doors and Royal Huisman is keeping its cards close to its chest. ‘Featherlight is a design and engineering methodology aimed at providing a lightweight aluminium construction from the outset,’ a spokesman for the shipyard says. ‘Its result isn’t a conventional superyacht relying on compromises to achieve a degree of weight reduction, but a purpose-driven effort to make the yacht truly as light as possible, and recapture any advantage that composite hulls might have, whilst benefiting from using aluminium. Featherlight comprises the leadingedge weight reduction knowledge that Royal Huisman has accumulated over recent projects, and adds the very latest intelligence and resourcefulness.’
State-of-the-art milling machinery plays a significant part in Featherlight construction. ‘The machine-milled bow deck section of Project 405 features the exact curves of camber and sheerline (so no adjustments required), precise penetrations, and also meets the exact required strength based on FEM calculations including a predefined safety margin,’ Royal Huisman’s spokesman says. ‘All surplus material is removed: highest quality, reduced weight and optimal efficiency.’
But the key difference between Featherlight and regular aluminium construction is what goes on inside the metal skin: ‘The hull of project 405 is a high-grade mix of aluminium and carbon composite, using a semi-automated parametric structural optimisation process. During 16 iterations that are part of our new Featherlight method, the structural weight is reduced by a remarkable 11 per cent compared with conventional methods, whilst maintaining the stiffness of the hull and ensuring structural integrity.’
That’s all Royal Huisman wants to make public about Featherlight, but readers who would like to know more about it can contact the shipyard for a tailor-made presentation.
“What is featherlight construction?” was published as sidebar within the article “Optimized aluminium” of SEAHORSE International Sailing, February 2022: click here to open the pdf-file featuring “What is featherlight construction?” (opens in a new tab)
Project 405 is based on Royal Huisman’s FEATHERLIGHT TM
The construction of Royal Huisman Project 405 aka “Reichel / Pugh – Nauta 154” is based on the FEATHERLIGHT TM method developed by the shipyard, to make her extremely lightweight due to the optimal use of the materials that the Royal Huisman team knows so well, complemented with extensive Finite Element Analyses to ensure the very best blend of “proven” and “cutting-edge”, and with target performance, excellent racing properties, and sound ocean worthiness all thrown into the mix as well, she is on course for greatness.
Mario Pedol, of Nauta Design says: “To combine comfort and safety to explore the world with an extremely lightweight yacht to be competitive to carbon composite superyachts in regattas wasn’t an easy task. Our early intuition was that an aluminium construction sailing yacht could be much lighter than the existing aluminium fleet. Royal Huisman supported this vision with enthusiasm and accepted the challenge. Extensive research work and calculations, confirmed our initial thought.”
If you would like to know more about Featherlight TM, please contact the team of Royal Huisman for a tailor-made presentation.
A PERFECT FIT: installing the deckhouse and guest cockpit onboard Royal Huisman’s Featherlight project 405. The 17.5m / 57ft carbon composite structure as well as the carbon trunk for the retractable keel have been manufactured “next door” at Rondal, the shipyard’s sister company. Note the carbon keel trunk on photo 3: ultra-light and very slim and therefore appealing for both the naval and interior architects.