Gunboat 80 design innovation / VPLP simulator

November 23, 2022

Attendees at the Yacht Racing Forum this week got to see something we haven’t shown to the public before – a demo of Gunboat 80 performance in the VPLP simulator!

For Gunboat owners, sailing plans range from full cruising to full racing and anywhere in between, but they all have some key interests in common – such as the desire for real performance, more stability, and staying dry if they choose to – and most of all they want a boat they can get excited about.

“Since 2020 we have seen a greater demand for bigger catamarans. The pull factors are clear – a very fast yet still comfortable and good-looking platform. The other reason owners are calling us up is that we are told, even though cats have been around for a long time, finally there is a brand that is combining the performance potential of a well-engineered catamaran with a well-designed one. They’re seeing the quality and lifestyle they want on a genuinely fast boat.” – Benoit Lebizay, Gunboat Managing Partner

Performance vs Cruising – where’s the sweet spot?

Applying the best of race boat technology on a fully equipped cruising platform is complex, nuanced, and a matter of perspective – sophisticated modeling tools are necessary to help designer, builder and client establish the same vision. This is where the VPLP simulator – the result of several years of development – comes into play.

“Unlike a flat-water VPP program, the simulator mimics a complex system of real world conditions. This is no video game – it’s real life physics at work!”

Gunboat COO William Jelbert details a specific application of the simulator tool. “For the team on 8002, we recently presented our study on the option to go with T-rudders. Results showed that performance increases can be positive or slightly negative depending on the windspeed, but there were massive gains in platform stability in any type of sea state. You wouldn’t see this in a traditional static VPP, so the simulator has been really powerful for us in this regard. Since 8002 is a cruising boat, and a very fast one, comfort and safety on board is paramount for this family. We’re happy to see the T-rudder included in their project as a result of this evaluation.

Contrastingly, 8001 is optimized for inshore racing in mostly light air – so the additional drag of horizontal lift-inducing appendages doesn’t make sense for them.”

The ability to demonstrate and tweak a build for our Gunboat 80 clients with this level of visualization has been super constructive. Together with VPLP, we’ve tested design shapes and positioning of appendages and envisioned the performance characteristics under different conditions. Our 80 clients appreciate this extra degree of customization and reassurance – and we’re better positioned to communicate clearly about the red lines, what’s possible and within safety margins – arriving at a boat that truly meets the buyer’s objectives. The side effect we’ve found, is that it builds even more anticipation to see this boat sail!

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