Feadship Breathe concept yacht takes inspiration from zebras


December 16, 2010

Feadship's concept Breate yacht

Feadship's concept Breate yacht

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For the fifth year in a row, Netherlands-based Feadship – a co-op between two shipyards and the De Voogt Naval Architects maritime engineering company – has revealed a concept yacht to mark the opening of the Monaco Yacht Show. This year’s effort, called Breathe, has drawn inspiration from biomimicry, which imitates forms found in nature to solve manmade problems. However, Feadship has chosen an unexpected natural design to imitate for a boat – zebra stripes.

Breathe draws its name from the natural ventilation system employed on the yacht, which was inspired by the black and white stripes of a zebra. In nature, it is commonly believed that these stripes provide zebras with camouflage. Because lions are colorblind, when zebras cluster together the stripes are said to confuse them. However, it has also been suggested that the stripes act as a cooling system through a convection process. The variations in air temperature just above the surface of the skin caused by the black and white stripes are believed to create an air current that naturally cools the animals.

It is this process that Feadship has sought to emulate with Breathe. Aboard the yacht, light hulls and dark funnels and glass shells are designed to produce a consistent flow of air on the outside decks to reduce the need for air conditioning units and create a comfortable al fresco climate. The concept yacht also mimics nature’s concept of fur for insulation with the air between the shells acting as an insulation layer between the external heat and cool conditions inside. Additionally, the shells double as solar cells, capturing natural energy from the sun, whilst also offering protection from the elements, like wind and rain.

To keep things simple, the design cuts the number of main engines and propeller shafts found on conventional yachts down from two to one and the number of generators down from three to two. However, Feadship claims the concept boasts a higher level of reliability and a better engine load than conventional designs. The design also includes an ultra-efficient wedge-shaped hull with slender bow and wave damping aft body. The body is coated in an exterior paint to reduce resistance, while stabilizer blades generate lift.

But don’t go holding your breath waiting for the Breathe to hit the water. None of the four former future concepts unveiled by Feadship at the start of previous Monaco Yacht Show have yet materialized.

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

I understand the benefit this extra airflow over a zebra body produces while it stands in a flock of other zebras and there might be a windstill. I fail to see the purpose of this design on a ship that probably will be quite lonesame on water where the wind almost never is still. But its pretty and the sales person can buzz alot about it.

Conny Söre

\"Shhh. It\'s just a model...\"

Matt Rings

\"The variations in air temperature just above the surface of the skin caused by the black and white stripes are believed to create an air current that naturally cools the animals.\"

Is\'nt that stretching things a bit? Tigers have stripes and leopards have spots but their main purpose is to help them blend into the environment so they can be successful predators. Since zebras are on the move much of the time, it is doubtful if the stripes could cause mini air currents since there would be airflow over the animal with any movement or under any wind conditions, no matter how slight. I admit that I could be wrong but I doubt if the stripes would benefit the yacht in the cooling department since yachts are normally in motion.

Adrian Akau
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