Hydraulically tilting keel the focus of new race yacht concept
By Loz Blain
September 10, 2007
September 11, 2007 High speed and sleek style are the two main goals of this concept yacht from designer Andrew Hawley. The Hawley F140 looks like a stingray with sails, its downward-sloping bow a clear sign this yacht’s for flat-water speed not wave-punching – but the key innovation is its 30-degree canting keel with a gimbaled bulb, providing turning stability at high lean angles.
Andrew Hawley describes his F140 concept as “a super fast style machine, designed for optimum sailing in 10 - 20 knots of air, preferably in flat water or steady state sea. Exhilarating to sail, a ride on the F140 is very wet and very quick, especially off the wind.”
Eventually the aim is to install bespoke electronics, deck lighting and running gear - all with high performance function, but also with the super slick European flair that you might see in a high performance sports car.
Key distinctive features include;
1. Exo-scooped self-draining cockpit. This is a completely smooth surface gradually sloping down from bow to stern to encourage easy drainage of the very wet working area. Free of any hard edges such as save blocks etc., the crew can stand or lie as they please to tame this beast.
2. Reverse bow. With a lower bow profile and enabling control of all forward gear via controls at the mast there's a fair reduction on bow weight and windage, but still enough of a plumb section to enable effective wave piercing. Full bow sections and hull shape promote buoyancy, and the ability to stack weight aft on the F140’s 'batwings' counters any nose-dive inclinations as the weather gets heavier.
3. Canting keel system. The keel is able to tilt sideways up to a hydraulically-restricted 30 degrees from vertical, keeping the F140 stabilised even at large lean angles. There’s also an optional daggerboard forward of the mast. In close buoy racing the daggerboard can be entirely removed, the keel locked in its central state and the boat can be kept upright using more crew.
4. Gimbaled Bulb. The hydraulically controlled bulb pivots to counter the bulb's profile distortion caused by canting keel to windward.
5. 'Bat' Wings. This hull shape promotes more effective weight distribution and provides a better working area for the crew. Hawley is also working on a carbon frame version with mesh inserts, ideal for heavier conditions as it will reduce potential weather side windage as well as leeward drag and possible hindrance to righting moment once submerged.
6. Stingray Sides. The side profile has little functional value other than providing more freeboard in the working areas of the yacht, especially amidships. Other than that they're a design feature drawn from the classic cars of the 50/60's, illustrating the machines purpose in a physical sense - speed and style. This thing looks fast just tied up at the jetty, let alone on the water.
The F140 is at concept / design stage at the moment. Versions under development include water ballast assistance as well as fixed keel for a leaner budget and a more conventional sister ship design for fast cruising that features much higher freeboard fore and aft, but carries the same basic hull profile.