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Suspension-packing 2Play catamaran smooths out rough seas

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April 30, 2014

The 2Play's twin hulls are able to move up and down relative to the deck

The 2Play's twin hulls are able to move up and down relative to the deck

Image Gallery (3 images)

Water may seem soft enough when you're in a bathtub full of the stuff, but as anyone who has smacked across the waves in a speeding motorboat knows, it can also be relatively hard and unyielding. With that in mind, one has to wonder ... why don't we hear more about suspension systems for watercraft? Well, if the folks at Australia's Nauti-Craft have anything to say about it, we soon will. Their prototype 2Play catamaran incorporates an interlinked hydraulic suspension, that isolates the deck from the two hulls.

The system was invented by members of a team that also developed the Kinetic suspension system, which is currently found on off-road (but on-land) vehicles such as the Toyota Landcruiser Prado and Nissan Patrol, along with the McLaren MP4 12C and P1 supercars.

As can be seen in the photos, the Nauti-Craft marine suspension allows the hulls to buck up and down with the waves, without transmitting all of that movement to the superstructure. It also keeps the bow from lifting too high when accelerating, and lets the boat bank more effectively into turns.

An additional optional feature, known as the Deck Attitude Control System, uses an onboard computer to automatically adjust the suspension in order to compensate for rolling seas. This keeps the deck level when the catamaran is stopped, not only making passengers less queasy, but also allowing for safer and easier transfer of passengers getting on or off the vessel.

The system also keeps the bow from lifting too high when accelerating, and lets the boat b...

Not surprisingly, this isn't the first time that anyone has created a marine suspension system, nor is it the only one in existence. "There have been many attempts to do this, some dating back about a century," Nauti-Craft's Chris Heyring told us. "The N-C system is however the only patented marine suspension system that has 'passive/reactive' functionalities [it requires no power to function] using sophisticated interrelated hydraulic systems which allows an unprecedented amount of body/chassis control in big seas, in both the roll and pitch axis while controlling heave but allowing free warp (articulation) of the pods/hulls."

The company is also promoting the fact that not only should its system boost passenger comfort and safety, but that boats using the technology should be able to go faster while using less fuel. Additionally, because those watercraft are supposedly able to handle larger waves than would otherwise be possible, then smaller boats should be able to perform tasks currently relegated to larger, less efficient vessels.

The 8-meter (26.25-ft) 2Play recently completed sea trials in Western Australia, and is now on its way to its public debut at Seawork 2014 in Southampton, UK. It can be seen in action in the video below, along with its rather bizarre 4Play predecessor.

There's currently no word on commercial availability.

Source: Nauti-Craft

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
11 Comments

With any luck, if they have licked any corrosion and seal problems (hypothetical) they should be on a winner!

Even the predecessor, the 4Play, looks as if it would sell, it showed hull stability in waves as well.

The Skud
30th April, 2014 @ 07:17 pm PDT

They could probably find buyers for a few of these as camera boats probably.

Daishi
30th April, 2014 @ 10:48 pm PDT

If it were possible to retract the suspension units (i.e. bring them inboard sideways, thus facilitating easy boarding and alighting) I think I prefer the 4Play prototype version.

Mel Tisdale
1st May, 2014 @ 02:03 am PDT

The US Navy Seals exit the navy 1" shorter than when they sign up because of the pounding of the small boats they use. they are currently designing boats to eliminate this. The 4Play seems to be a better design than the ones they are working on.

Kimo
1st May, 2014 @ 03:47 am PDT

I think that is really cool. I think it would be great for those who have a tendancy to get a little sea sick on boats.

I think it would be great - as indicated in a previous reply - for the US Navy and the US Marines.

I think it has some commercial and personal applications too.

BigWarpGuy
1st May, 2014 @ 07:08 am PDT

A big mono hull RIB would do the job much better, plus a lot safer. The center of gravity is way up there on this springer, not a good way to go on the water. Interesting design, good work!

Rehab
1st May, 2014 @ 07:40 am PDT

I could kick myself in the head for not developing this idea first. It is so obvious and simple that it is elegant. The potential for such a shock absorbing system on boats is enormous. How in the world did everyone else not come up with this?

Jim Sadler
1st May, 2014 @ 08:47 am PDT

so bad ass!

Milton
1st May, 2014 @ 09:04 am PDT

Seems to me the Aussie navy has first shot on this proprietary design... its too small for US Navy anyway..nowhere to but the drones.

hdm
1st May, 2014 @ 09:12 am PDT

Yes, I'll take one please.

I wonder if a little more interior space can be designed into these?

Mirmillion
1st May, 2014 @ 09:40 am PDT

Looks good but very expensive. What happens when the waves are large enough to break over the bow or coming from the side or stern? I learned a long time ago that there are many, many different types of waves and wave shapes. Gentle six foot swells on the ocean are totally different than pounding six foot white caps on the Great Lakes. I wonder what this design's weakness will be? When two wave types come together, that extra speed and overconfidence in this boat's suspension could quickly become lethal. Even experienced captains get fooled too often.

Bob
1st May, 2014 @ 05:38 pm PDT
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