A passion for innovation
Modern yachts demand a plethora of complex high-tech systems. Our Research and Development team is constantly working on new projects to improve each system using the latest thinking and hardware. Baltic Yachts is renowned for its success in this area, with a long list of innovations to its credit.
On the cutting edge of laminaton technology
Baltic Yachts is renowned for its progressive attitude to building light displacement performance cruiser/racers. Lamination techniques have been key to its success.
Baltic uses carbon fibre because it is the lightest, stiffest option, while advanced core materials like Corecell foam and Nomex, a strong, light, honeycomb structure used in the aircraft industry, provide the ideal sandwich materials between carbon skins.
Baltic Yachts uses three lamination methods, infusion, SPRINT™ and most commonly prepreg. The main benefits of prepreg, which is manufactured with resin already applied to the carbon fibre material, are inherent weight control and the ability to use specifically aligned fibres for efficient, weight saving lamination.
Sales Director Kenneth Nyfelt, said “Of course, we have to compete with other philosophies. Carbon has a number of benefits over aluminum and steel, weight being the obvious one. But what about the absence of corrosion in carbon and its considerable thermal and noise insulation benefits? Also, by using unidirectional fibres we can design in strength where it’s needed for specific loads and save weight where it isn’t, making the yacht structurally efficient and lighter. Metal and aluminium can not offer these benefits.”
Baltic’s 100ft plus superyachts are laminated in split moulds for ease of access, build efficiency and a precision fit out. The hulls of bigger yachts like the current Baltic 175 Pink Gin V1 are built in three parts. “With our in-house facilities and expertise, we can meet virtually any challenge and importantly take full responsibility for the end product. Baltic Yachts is a true one-stop shop,” said Kenneth Nyfelt.
Keeping the noise down
Research shows that an empty hull constructed of carbon is quieter than one built of aluminium. Because aluminium has to be completely insulated, by definition it becomes quieter before fit out begins. It also becomes heavier, which is where a carbon sandwich laminate benefits.
To reduce noise levels to sub-50 decibel readings (the ambient sound in a library), soundproofing must be applied and at Baltic Yachts we’ve been employing some interesting techniques. Noise can be divided into airborne sound emitted by items like machinery, air conditioning and people and structurally transmitted sound and vibration emanating from equipment attached to the structure of a yacht.
Mounting machinery on extra-soft shock absorbers and ‘floating’ entire cabins on insulators is common practise. We have experimented with pouring plastic micro-balls into the Nomex cell structure used in bulkhead cores and we’ve recently identified air conditioning grill design as an opportunity to reduce noise.
We are also employing the excellent sound-deadening properties of cork, combined with high-density foam, in cores of cabin soles, doors and other panels. In yachts with keel boxes and items connected to machinery installations we apply damping tiles to reduce structural noise transmission, then a layer of Melamine foam to absorb airborne noise.
We are now categorising types of noise and questioning whether the ambience created in sound-deadened environments is detrimental rather than advantageous to the occupant. Alongside the recognition that people hear sound in different ways, there may even be opportunities to personalise the control of noise for individuals.
Force Feedback Steering System
Baltic Yachts’ innovative and completely new electronic steering system does away with long mechanical linkages between the rudder and the wheel, takes the weight out of steering for the helmsman, but provides the nuances of feel and load which keep him in touch with the behaviour of the yacht.
Trials of the steering system are nearing completion in Switzerland where a company called Esoro, which specialises in prototype development using innovative engineering, have been bench testing the Force Feedback System. The first example will be installed aboard Pink Gin VI, the Baltic 175 Custom which will be the biggest carbon fibre sloop in the world when she is launched in 2017.
Although designed initially for superyachts, we are confident that the Force Feedback System can be scaled down for smaller yachts of around 70ft which will be able to benefit from the elimination of heavy and space hungry steering cables or rods. Another big benefit is that the system will be designed to interface with automatic steering controls.
Roland Kasslin, head of Baltic Yacht’s’ research and development department, said that one of the main goals was: “To ensure that the helmsman never felt out of control.”
This ability to personalise settings means that a helmsman can simply tap in their identity and the system will automatically switch to their characteristics. Condition settings will make adjustments for rough and smooth seas and also offer harbour use and manoeuvring options.
Apart from being able to manufacturer units for smaller yachts we believe also that the system can be retro-fitted relatively easily to existing yachts. Units will be made available through Baltic Yachts and retro-fitting completed by our Service and Refit team.
Retractable Propulsion System
In our on-going programme of innovation aimed at improving performance and efficiency aboard yachts, Baltic Yachts have developed a new version of their Retractable Propulsion System (RPS) in conjunction with propeller experts Hundested. The revolutionary new system combines the ability to retract the propeller for increased performance with rotation through 90 degrees enabling it to double as a stern thruster.
The first example of the new RPS will be used aboard the recently launched Baltic 130 Custom. Together with a controllable pitch propeller (CPP), the RPS provides the helmsman with a highly versatile tool for manoeuvring and eliminates the need for a separate space and power hungry stern thruster.
Increased boat speed and greatly improved manoeuvrability on the start line and at mark roundings, are huge performance benefits when the propulsion gear is fully retracted.
Other key advantages include reduced vibration and lower noise levels plus the ability to keep all moving parts dry and free of fouling. The RPS consists of a leg fitted with a forward facing puller propeller which retracts into the hull which is then rendered completely flush as hydraulically-powered doors close the aperture. Water in the aperture is then expelled pneumatically, keeping weight to a minimum. See video here.
For more information contact:
Roland Kasslin – Head of R&D