For 18 years I was fortunate to be a regular user of the excellent towing tank test facility at Southampton Institute. This fascinating work involved the evaluation and development of the hulls for numerous yacht and motor boat designs by students of Yacht & Boat Design, as well as yacht research and the collection of data for various standard series, particularly on the Polydata range of conventional and novel yacht keels.
This towing tank at the Southampton Institute (1) is 60m long, 4m wide and 2m deep. It is an impressive and well maintained facility, which is used almost every day. Many significant new designs for yachts & powercraft of all types have been tested in this tank over the last 37 years.
In photograph (2) “Polydata”, a 1/5 scale model of a 9.5m (31ft) cruiser-racer is being tested to investigate its performance to windward when fitted with an innovative keel design, as part of a larger comparative study into the performance of many different yacht keels.
Photograph (3) shows my design for a fast hydrofoil ferry being tank tested. This model is running at the equivalent of 25 knots in foil-borne mode, hence the absence of wash as only the struts are piercing the surface of the water. At the test stage both the sheer line and bow profile are kept straight to make the model building easier. Eventually the boat will have a sweeping sheer and a raked bow.
When loaded incorrectly so that the centre of gravity moves aft, this little powerboat (4) is able to demonstrate the phenomenon of “porpoising”. This can be observed after the model has passed over a small wave system generated by the wave-maker.
Over the years I have completed a number of tank testing projects for designers from the UK and abroad, evaluating the performance of various craft including motor cruisers, catamaran ferries and innovative sailing yachts. For clients wishing to get the best out of their new boat I am in a good position to hire this towing tank facility and carry out all the required testing, analysis and development work.