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By Andrew Bedggood

Looking more like spacecraft from a Star Wars movie, or maybe new ‘stealth’ aircraft, A2V’s designs are making waves in boating technology innovation.

The twin-hull catamarans are designed and built by the French company, Advanced Aerodynamic Vessels of La Rochelle, France, a coastal town located on the Bay of Biscay around 400 km south-west of Paris.

A2V are building a new generation of transportation vessels. Their naval architects and computational fluid dynamics specialists have designed a revolutionary shape for catamarans using aerodynamic principles. Above the twin hulls, in profile, the body of the catamaran resembles an aircraft wing, which causes air to flow more rapidly over its upper surface than its lower surface, resulting in higher air pressure below than above the wing. This pressure difference creates a lift force upward.

On the A2V vessels, this means that the faster they travel, the greater the lift produced, and the greater the reduction in the hull displacement. A smaller hull displacement translates to less resistance from water, which means that less energy is required to move the catamaran forward, and that means large fuel savings – and fewer CO2 emissions.

Almost impossible to comprehend, due to the advanced aerodynamic shape, above a critical speed (which depends on application), the faster the A2V vessels go, the less fuel they use per kilometre.

The opposite is true for conventional boats, especially ferries, in that faster speeds meet with greater air and water resistance and require a disproportionately greater amount of energy to be consumed.

One might think that, with the active reduction in draft as speed increases – and these ferries do travel quickly – the vessels could become unstable, however A2V’s innovative research program resulted in a design that ensures their boats are safe, stable, and suitable for commercial use.

A2V’s first completed order was in 2017, built to specification (including water jet propulsion and business-class seating) for Peschaud Maritime, Cameroun, which operates crew transport boats at the request of oil operators. Reportedly covering 300 nm per day, six days a week, the 50-foot (15.3 m) long and 40-foot (12.1 m) beam boat comfortably cruises at 40 knots with 25 passengers.

More recently, the Principality of Monaco ordered a luxury A2V-Shuttle to ferry passengers between its marina and that of Ventimiglia (Cala del Forte) some 8 nm away. The decision was based on a desire to provide passengers with comfortable and speedy transfers in a reliable, fuel efficient and environmentally respectful vessel.

The A2V-Shuttle (overall length 11.95 m and 7.35 m beam) is smaller than the ocean-going Peschaud transport vessel. Powered by two 350 hp Yanmar 8LV turbo-diesel engines, with surface-piercing propellers which produce less drag (drawing less power from the engines), the shuttle takes 12 passengers, cruising at 48 knots. It has a higher passenger flow rate and uses less than half the fuel compared to conventional shuttle services.

Its sister ship has been operating a route on Lake Geneva, Switzerland, linking the towns of Evian, Lausanne and Geneva since 2018.



Published in print January-March 2022

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