Naval Architecture by Vripack


At Vripack we believe that naval architecture is the cornerstone of every project. It is the foundation that makes a design truly great. Addressing not only performance but also onboard comfort requires the input and skill of a dedicated naval architect as part of the project team from day one. When addressing a project holistically, as is our way at Vripack, naval architecture ensures that a good design becomes an amazing design by truly maximizing the value and enjoyment that a yacht brings to the Owner, his family, guests and crew.

The design brief is critical to defining both the performance and functionality of a boat. It’s therefore vital that, from the outset, a yacht’s exterior and interior design development runs in parallel with the hull development to truly deliver on the Owner’s wishes and avoid assumptions.

Weight target estimations and detailed calculations sit at the heart of classic naval architecture. To reach an optimum weight calculation, the naval architect and designer need to work in unison, aligning their skill sets and knowledge; the designer makes creative amends to meet necessary weight allowances, while the naval architect understands how much weight needs to be allocated, and where.

These plans, calculations and weight distributions are crucial to guiding the shipbuilder on careful weight monitoring during the build. It all contributes towards proactive weight monitoring management.

Central to this topic is understanding how to operate within required margins. In every weight calculation there is an allowance made for future weight growth, as typically a yacht’s displacement increases over time. This ensures performance and safety remain optimum throughout a yacht’s entire lifespan.

A yacht’s concept, layout and related weight distribution is what drives volume distribution and dictates the hull lines. Any set of hull lines requires a fine balance between hull efficiency, space efficiency and comfort. By working in close collaboration with the designers, the naval architect can optimise the amount of space found on board by fine-tuning the hull volume.

By using resistance simulating software, we can calculate the amount of thrust required across the full speed range. When run in conjunction with efficiencies required for the drive train components, topped with small margins, we can establish a speed power graph to calculate a yacht’s performance. The correct drive train setup (shafts, pods, etc.), paired with the choice of engine (diesel, hybrid, electric, etc.) as well as brand and model, have a big impact on the setup, location and size of a yacht’s engine room. Working together, the designer and naval architect can identify the maximum amount of interior space that is required for a yacht to enjoy maintenance-friendly technical areas.

Establishing range by itself is a logical combination of fuel volume vs consumption. And yet, it’s of great importance to ensure a proper range calculation is established; one which includes weather allowance and generator consumption, as well as the additional resistance that will occur due to hull fouling (the accumulation of marine growth). It’s advisable to avoid carrying too much fuel on board, as fuel tank volume is included within the overall GT value. Without a doubt, owners will always opt for a larger walk-in dressing room than fuel tank.

Gross tonnage is the most referenced parameter in any yacht project, largely because this volume measurement is a crucial one. Any design development should centre on optimising gross tonnage, as it ensures the Owner is guaranteed maximum usable volume in relation to the build cost. In this regard, the sub 500 GT target is the most crucial. Either way, maximum interior volume is best achieved when a design is approached holistically; that is, when naval architecture and design work together to find clever solutions to optimise both ends of the equation.


By combining extensive experience and high-end software computation, we can optimise guest comfort by running calculations that highlight which motion at sea has the most impact on guests’ onboard comfort. The human perception of these motions depends on the sea state and yacht’s reaction, but it also heavily depends on the yacht’s design, i.e., the combination of naval architecture and design (layout configuration). Naval architects can even attune guests’ onboard comfort to certain waters by altering a yacht’s hull shape, as each sea has its own wave pattern.

The impact of various movements on human comfort when at sea is defined by the so-called Effective Gravity Angle (EGA); the total forces experienced by the body between vertical and side moving forces. Typically, the maximum EGA for Owners and guests is 3 degrees and 9 degrees for crew.

A polar diagram illustrates how a yacht’s movement correlates with the maximum EGA values. Ultimately, this allows us to determine comfort differentiators in various areas on board. The polar diagram shows the EGA values in differing locations on board in various defined headings.

By applying what we know regarding EGAs in various sea states and various speeds, we can also determine the areas onboard that have a greater or lesser impact on vertical accelerations. Typically, vertical accelerations play a pivotal role in onboard comfort.

The graph illustrates the vertical acceleration at various speeds where the effects of a potential elongation has been quantified.

As vertical accelerations tend to play a dominant role in the level of comfort experienced on board, we can apply what we know regarding EGAs and calculated vertical accelerations to determine which areas on board have a greater or lesser impact on vertical accelerations.

The image shows the difference in guest comfort when occupying what are arguably the two worst areas on board a boat; headsea and bow quartering.

Choosing the stabilising system that is most effective and suitable for a particular yacht.
As roll is typically considered to be the most uncomfortable ship movement that humans experience, we can zoom in on this movement to try to mitigate it. To control and minimise roll, we first need to select the most suitable and efficient stabilising system, or combination of systems. Through extensive calculations, we can determine the most efficient stabiliser system suitable for a combination of speeds and headings to deliver the most effective setup for all relevant conditions.

The table illustrates the difference in roll responses at a defined speed at various headings when a stabiliser system is switched on and off. It helps us to understand the effectiveness of active stabilisers at each heading when running at a particular speed.

Particularly with high(-er) speed yachts, the angle of heel in a turn is also relevant. Stabilisers can not only reduce such a heel, but their overall contribution, as well as that of the interceptor, can be optimised using calculations.

The table shows the difference in heel angles between interceptors when on and off at various speeds.

In any yacht, there is great value in having the exterior seating areas in the right location regarding draft and lee. Whether at anchor or while sailing, guests always appreciate it when the dining table is positioned in a wind protected area, the sun bathing areas receive the right amount of breeze and the views from the observation deck forward are fully protected from the elements. With often remarkable results our in-house tooling we can simulate the airflow and optimise wind protection by modifying shapes and adding the right well-chosen deflectors where needed.



The most workable solution to support sustainable yachting is to establish in-depth hull optimisation. Investment in this solution has no expiry date, is maintenance free and will remain relevant in any weather. The use of high-end, in-house CFD optimisation software allows hull efficiency and comfort optimisation to be jointly addressed. This in turn lays the foundations to develop the best possible design, underpinning the designed layout and profile with the best performance and highest comfort.

The benefits of an enhanced hull can vanish if not all the appendages are CFD optimised. Often, a lot of efficiency can be gained by establishing an undisturbed waterflow around the many hull appendages that sit in and around the underwater body. Aside from efficiency gains, proper alignment also reduces noise and vibration.

One of the most valuable parameters used to quantify hull efficiency is calculating the so-called transport efficiency index. Offsetting transport efficiency to speed will allow for a direct apple to apple comparison between various designs/yachts.

In addition to comfort calculations and related indexes in heavy sea and/or high sea states, our use of in-house tooling means we can calculate the added resistance of water/waves and windage related to sailing in heavy weather. This means we can calculate any additional power required to maintain a certain speed e.g., to pre-empt and prevent a drop in speed due to adverse weather conditions.

The graph shows the difference between sea state 2 (2bft and 0.3m waves) Vs sea state 5 (7bft and 3.3m waves), illustrating the impact that certain weather has on speed.

Alongside the standard scope of work required from a naval architect, we believe there is substantial added value for Owners, guests and crew when a yacht design works to optimise their comfort at sea. It’s about taking a wider angle towards hull design to maximise everyone’s enjoyment on board, regardless of the weather.