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Accelerating Racing Technology

Accelerating Racing Technology

Leading Australian luxury motor yacht manufacturer Maritimo is unique within the boating industry being the only major luxury motor yacht builder in the world with a dedicated racing division within the company.

In a highly competitive world where automotive brands are constantly fighting for glory on the race track and the ripple effect of sales success for brands that are seen to lead the industry results, Maritimo stands alone in the marine sector. “Maritimo Racing sets us apart and as one of the only manufacturers to gain the technological benefits derived from racing experience, advancing our vessels to new levels in engineering and performance,” says Maritimo designer and race team representative, Tom Barry-Cotter. “Like the leading automotive brands involved in sports like Formula One, racing culture flows through Maritimo in everything we do. We have a competitive culture fixated on finding the next edge over our competition, staunchly opposed to complacency, with the knowledge that when your product is not evolving, it leaves you exposed to being caught from behind.”

Maritimo Racing division is integral within design and engineering processes within the company’s production. The experience gained through racing is valuable to staff, and infuses a competitive mindset throughout all facets of the company. “Maritimo Racing has just commissioned a new apprentice program, where Maritimo’s factory apprentices are provided with the opportunity to experience the workings and operation of the Maritimo Racing team at championship races throughout the year,” says Barry-Cotter. “Attention to detail, where even the smallest gain remains a goal and adds to our overall competitiveness sets us apart. There are expectations that our product performance is elite, so every member of our brand feels that responsibility. The best performing machine means nothing without reliability and durability, and to be successful, reliability and toughness must be methodical.”

Maritimo Racing forms one of the important testing and development platforms for every Maritimo cruiser that is produced. Experience attained through the trialling of latest lamination techniques, bonding methods, and engineering components means greater reliability and toughness in every Maritimo, as every aspect of each vessel’s construction and setup are race proven before ever reaching a production model. Barry-Cotter says, that forces involved with powerboat racing are difficult to fathom, where a light weight composite hull must endure constant impacting into waves at speeds in excess of 240kph over season after season. “The art of weight reduction whilst maintaining laminate strength is critical in the construction of Maritimo Racing’s hulls, like the latest R30 XCAT, which has heralded both aesthetic and structural benefits to the next generation of Maritimo’s. Weight is so critical in the advanced design and construction of an XCAT catamaran that even the excess weight of fairing compound and paint is taken into consideration. Various laminate schedules are tested for deflection and strength, followed by a review of the amount of fairing compound that is required to fill the laminate shrinkage to achieve a perfected smooth paint finish.”

Maritimo Racing ultimately developed a laminate schedule that withstood the stresses and forces for powerboat racing, but also did not absorb unnecessary weight with excess paint, generating a superior laminate finish. Methods that increased the laminate finish quality are now being applied to the Maritmo range.

In any motorsport the importance of weight distribution and balance are amplified, according to Barry-Cotter. “Weight distribution and balance is critical to any vessel in extracting performance and handling advantages. Balance and center of gravity are so critical for Maritimo Racing that ballast movements of 0.25% of the total boat weight are enough to affect the boat’s performance and handling characteristics. Similarly, the importance Maritimo place on balance and weight distribution of all models in the design phase is critical to ensure the brand remains the performance benchmark of the industry.”

Maritimo is renowned for its straight shaft technology with optimized shaft angles and neutral weight distribution. In order that varying liquid loads do not upset critical balance characteristics, all Maritimo models have water tanks and fuel tanks arranged in a ‘wing tank’ configuration, locating the varying liquid loads as close to the centre of buoyancy as possible.

Optimized balance extracts more performance, range and fuel economy, whilst improving drivability in terms of transitioning onto plane, and turning. Drivability and handling can also be felt through responsiveness.

All Maritimo models are equipped with a Maritimo Racing technology hydraulic power steering system. The system increases the responsiveness at the wheel for an enhanced driving experience. The championship classes that Maritimo Racing compete in, all have engine specification limitations, and constant modifications to hulls can be costly when looking to find an edge.

An area where Maritimo exerts its racing knowledge and procedures to performance enhancement in both racing and throughout the model range is in the art and science of propellers. “Propeller efficiency is critical to maximizing the transfer of power from a boat’s engines to propelling a vessel along the water, whether it be at 240kph (130 knots) or 60kph (33 knots).”

Maritimo Racing Ross Willaton’s wealth of knowledge with nearly 50 years of racing experience has earned him the role of developing propeller specifications and testing procedures for every new Maritimo model. Developing the right propeller for a hull is part science and part art, but experience conquers all, he said. “A perfected propeller setup will generate greater efficiency with reduced cavitation and slip, whilst also generating less vibration with a more comfortable driving experience. Maritimo Racing has a library of almost 60 propeller sets, all with slight variations in their specification, so there is almost a propeller for any setup combination. Maritimo uses a similar strategy in the testing and development of new propellers for new models, where many combinations can be tested in order to extract maximum efficiency.”

Barry-Cotter said the experience and knowledge gained on the international race circuit was invaluable and helped set the Maritimo product range apart from competitors around the world.

 

Published in the Jan-Mar 2020 edition.

 

 

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