The advance of some obvious technologies is naturally glacial. The trimaran hull is certainly one such design. It has been pushed slowly for fifty years at least. It is a clear reminder of what the present status of computer technology would be without the jump start provided by NASA.

First off, for those who do not know, the longer a hull is, the faster the speed of the ship. Therefore while a single V hull used by the Navy can attain thirty knots while gulping fuel, putting the same tonnage onto a trimaran hull that increases hull length hugely nicely quickens the boat and also lets it turn on a dime by the obvious expedient of reversing the prop on one side.

Could this have all been done fifty years ago? The answer is yes. Except that no one wants to be the guinea pig for each incremental step. So we do it one painful step at a time.

Getting a catamaran hull under a giant container ship is also a plausible evolution. It potentially puts everything above any imaginable seas, and you have the extra speed to allow you to sail aside of any serious weather also.
There is a huge difference in choices between fifteen knots and thirty knots when storm systems operate at broadly the same speeds (The winds themselves are another matter, but the weather system is often surprisingly slow).

And if you really want to be adventurous, a huge nuclear powered catamaran hull having mobile front and rear aprons makes a great hovercraft able to travel over nasty pack ice while also crushing the ice. I think it could be made to work and both Canada and Russia need them for the Arctic. Simple apron retraction would let the vessel become a regular catamaran perfect for troop transport and even landing operations Imagine something the size of an aircraft carrier sliding up the beach and into a local airport to discharge a brigade of men and equipment.

Obviously we will see a lot more of this technology over the remainder of the century. I hope you are not in a rush.

Anyway this item described is a pretty nifty piece of engineering and certainly blows away all past naysayers. Go to the link.

August 07, 2009

Fuel Efficient and Fast Trimaran's for Navy, Cars and People

Shipbuilder Austal launched the world’s largest aluminum vessel, the 127 meter Benchijigua Express in 2005 and makes trimarans and navy littoral ships.

The US Navy wants 55 of these littoral vessels and Austal has an order for two catamaran troop carriers. If the US Navy does buy/build all of littoral and troop carriers by 2014, Austral will have built 20% of the US Navy’s fleet.

Trimaran power consumption is 20% less when operating in a seaway compared to a catamaran in that area. And reduced by as much as 50% when compared with a monohull operating in waves. All those power reductions equate directly to fuel consumption reductions.

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