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Yacht Design and Naval Architecture

The team of naval architects and engineers at Ocean Limo Group covers all aspects of a yacht's design from the first inspirational brainstorming session with you, the client, to the sea trials that validate the vessel's performance.

Our staff collaborates on all facets of the design and engineering to meet meticulously developed specifications. This integrated effort makes sure your yacht is of the highest quality and will be delivered in an efficient, timely and cost-effective manner.

But there is more to yacht design than efficiency and engineering formulas. To create the yacht that satisfies your dreams demands a balance of art and science, of creativity and technology, of appearance and performance.

It's this blend of artistry and naval architectural know-how that sets OLG apart. Our decades-long experience has taught us the skills to work in close cooperation with clients, shipyards and suppliers in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. We offer all disciplines needed to create a world-class yacht vision, originality, styling, naval architecture, engineering, mechanical and electrical systems, joinery, propulsion, and business acumen. Our careful preparations meet and exceed classification society and international standards.

The best boats result from a collaborative effort between the owner and the design team. We work with you. We listen to you. Jointly developing the ideas for your yacht is exciting, rewarding and fun.

OLG's services offer exceptional advantages

Although our design team has decades of experience in naval architecture, OLG is not the largest design firm on the globe. So how can we offer tailor-made, complete yacht design solutions?

We have invested in technology in hardware and software and, as important, in the training to use these systems effectively and creatively. Here are some examples of what we do differently.

Consistent 3-D modeling

We provide you with drawings of every aspect of the yacht in 3-D model images. This type of modeling yields clear-cut advantages. You can view your yacht from every angle. In addition, 3-D imaging is more exact and often reveals unused spaces that can be made available for such things as fender storage or built-in seating. With our precision design, portions of the yacht can be constructed anywhere the skills are available. For example, while the hull is under construction in one location, the woodwork can be built somewhere else, thus speeding up your yacht's completion. Moreover, the modeling allows designers, owners and boat yards to grasp the overall contours and details of the yacht early on, thereby minimizing change orders.

The showcase cabin

With the click of a key, we can show you in 3-D imagery how each room in the yacht looks in mahogany, cherry, teak or any other wood you might choose. We can instantly switch the fabrics and wall coverings, choosing among thousands of colors. We can show you the effects of different art objects, novel lighting, or different carpet. This capability gives you true choices in what your interior will look like.

OLG's real-time communications

Using computers and telephones, we have developed the in-house ability to communicate with clients and shipbuilders in real time. No matter where you and the yacht builder are located, we consult with you directly and solve problems or make changes during our discussions.

To illustrate, let us assume that you, the design team and yacht builder are on-line reviewing the layout of the master stateroom. You'd like to try an alternate arrangement. Our naval architects pull up the stateroom's drawing and, sketching directly on an electronic drawing pad, change the configuration. Simultaneously, we discuss the implications of the alterations: How do the changes influence closet size? Are the heads affected? Must mechanical equipment be realigned? Our technology allows us to revise the layout until you are satisfied and the builder concurs the modifications are feasible.

OLG prepares the complete package

Often, yacht design and the construction phase of yacht building are separate entities. The naval architect prepares the profile, arrangements, interior and structural engineering. The builder creates or contracts out shop drawings and schematics for electrical and mechanical systems and joinery. The yard staff uses their experience to install the pieces, sometimes puzzled about how it should all fit together.

More planning, less puzzling. OLG can unite these different phases in a "virtual build process" and reduce on-site conflicts and changes. We design your yacht and know how it comes together, from the engineering specs to the decorations. Moreover, our complete approach makes excellent business sense. Here are just some of the advantages:

  • All aspects of the yacht are integrated and all drawings are coordinated.

  • All aspects of the yacht can be viewed in 3-D, including the schematics.

  • Quality is controlled in one location.

  • The business aspects are managed in one location.

  • We troubleshoot and solve problems.

  • Change orders are significantly reduced.

  • It saves time.

  • It saves money.

Styling the Interior and Exterior

In the last three decades, the yacht design process has changed more than it did for the previous 10,000 years, when boats were built by hand with the materials at hand - be they papyrus, seal skin or wood. For millennia, boats were propelled by wind or muscle power, practices that remained unchanged until the 19th century's Industrial Revolution developed steam engines and dug coal to power them. A century later, improved chemistry created composite structures made of fiberglass and resins which, for the first time, allowed for mass production of yachts. Simultaneously, the information age was leaping ahead, which led to yacht design software capable of making weight and stability calculations, creating accurate, realistic 3-D images, and making cascading changes as designs were altered.

OLG makes intensive, innovative use of several software programs to prepare a total design package, including the profile and arrangements, engineering, weight distribution, stability, hydrodynamics, interior/exterior layout, mechanical and electrical systems, and commissioning.

Establishing the goals for your yacht

Before starting any design project, the OLG team consults with you to learn about the type of yacht you have in mind. Naturally, we explore such aspects as the yacht's purpose, size, speed, interior space requirements and classification.

But we also become acquainted with your lifestyle. Your yacht is an individual statement, a reflection of your identity and taste. Our drawings are not "off the shelf" - we design around your needs. So we ask a lot of questions. And we listen carefully to the answers.

How do you plan to use the yacht? Is speed or distance cruising your goal? Will you do much entertaining? Do you want to fish? How many crew will be aboard? Will your children or grandchildren accompany you? If so, how will that influence the stateroom configuration? While aboard, will you catch up on your reading? On the latest movies? What are your safety concerns? Do you want a full displacement or a semi-displacement yacht?

During our exchanges, ideas flow freely and "spark" off each other. It's one of the most creative, fun and gratifying aspects of the design process.

Designing the profile and arrangements

Although it might appear a design starts with the technical aspects of your yacht, in reality we begin by developing the "look." It's where the right-brain, intuitive-thought patterns play a major role. After our discussions, we sketch the preliminary profile and arrangements by hand. This conceptual phase becomes the "design statement" which defines the yacht's intent, tests the realism of the ideas and includes details that will establish the yacht's unique style.

We emphasize that the early design phases are a step-by-step process requiring layers of reiteration. Sometimes desired specifications may compete, even clash with each other. The yacht's beam, say, may be too narrow to accommodate the number of staterooms requested and so we must make adjustments. We call this the "design spiral."

Preparing the hull concept is key to defining the space available on each deck for living quarters and for the rooms occupied by mechanical systems.

The next step focuses on designing the superstructure, which establishes cabin height along with requisite space for raceways, ducts and mechanical channels.

A draft of the interior layout is next.

These preliminary drawings reveal any design conflicts that must be resolved, uncover cost or manufacturing implications, and give you an opportunity, in 3-D images, to judge if the yacht meets your expectations. The design spiral "proves" the concept.

Refining the concept

After receiving your input on the preliminary depictions, the OLG crew refines the general interior and exterior layouts, and the styling. The major divisions of the interior will be designated, including the configuration of the living quarters, galley, helm station, engine room, probable tank placements, utility areas, conduits for mechanical and electrical systems, air handling ducts, stairs and storage. The design will pay special attention to headroom clearance around steps and companionways. As the design changes, our software allows for continual updating of the entire project.

Preparing renderings and a scale model

Once the next phase of the design is ready, OLG will prepare and send you 3-D renderings of the yacht. These pictures are worth several thousand words. At your request, we can also build a detailed scale model. Being able to assess a miniature version of your future yacht will give you tremendous confidence in the final product.

Fine-tuning the interior

After you have reviewed the preliminary 3-D images, this is the phase when brainstorming about the specific features of the yacht's interior is again a crucial component of the design process. We explore the themes you'd like to develop, the specific styling to satisfy those themes, and the type of furniture, materials, wood finishes, fabrics, hardware and artwork you'd like to see in the yacht's finished state. Your creativity and originality is part of the fun.

The sample board and 3-D renderings

The next stage of the interior design incorporates the results of our latest brainstorming sessions and leads us to produce a complete set of 3-D renderings.

As these 3-D images are computer generated, you can view each area from multiple angles and "fly" visually through the yacht. You will also be able to see the elevation for each space. This is an additional opportunity to make changes and adaptations, adjust styling details and rearrange furniture.

If requested, we can also prepare full-color sample boards. These measure about 75 x 90 centimeters and provide a realistic portrayal of how the quarters will ultimately look. Each board presents an individual room and includes a concept drawing; a top view of the space; renderings of the walls and how furniture will fit against them; renderings of wall coverings and lighting; samples of woods used, their finishes and joinery; hardware samples; carpeting; fabrics and upholstery; and, exemplars of such claddings as travertine, marble, granite or Corian.

The renderings and sample boards provide you with a strong indication of the "atmosphere" that will prevail in your yacht.

Decorating the interior

Some of the yacht's furnishings will be built in - other pieces will be constructed or purchased separately. During the decoration phase, you will make the final selection of a myriad of things: deckhead finishes, moldings and wainscoting, light fixtures for all areas, draperies and other window coverings, floor coverings, bathroom fixtures, switches and outlets, countertop finishes, wall treatments, upholstery fabrics for furniture, bed linens and furniture hardware. The names of manufacturers are included as appropriate.

In the decoration phase, we again combine our creativity with powerful technology. Let's assume we've designed the master stateroom with cherry joinery and a certain color theme. This will be our "showcase cabin." With the click of a key, we can show you in 3-D how your stateroom looks in teak, or mahogany, or pear, or any other wood you might choose. We can instantly change the fabrics and wall coverings, choosing among thousands of colors. We can show you the effects of different art objects, novel lighting, or different carpet. This capability gives you true choices in what your interior will look like.

Designing practical aspects of the yacht

Now that the main configuration and interior features of the yacht have been established, the next design phase focuses on specific details of the yacht's functionality. Questions asked include:

  • Are the traffic patterns adequate?

  • What are the optimum locations for hatches, portholes and doorways?

  • How does the yacht store tenders, aquatic equipment and transportation devices?

  • Where will utilitarian equipment like a washer/dryer, freezers, wine coolers and tool chests fit?

  • What are the escape routes if the yacht were to founder?

The answers result in detailed drawings covering these practical details

Creating a Register of Your Yacht's Specifications

Having designed the exterior and interior of the yacht, OLG moves to the next stage: itemizing all technical aspects in an orderly fashion. The final register of specifications is a blueprint for quality control for us, the builder, the yard and the suppliers. The specifications include not only the technical and material parts of the yacht, but also stipulate its aesthetic appeal, performance, comfort level and operational details.

Again, we use project management tools which not only outline the core tasks that must be completed to build your yacht, but provide us with a catalog of every item, part, piece of equipment and appliance that make up a contemporary super yacht.

We begin our specifications with an overall narrative describing the yacht and then document each of the technical aspects individually.

Although we follow a similar process for yacht refits and conversions, the following list outlines the specifications included in a new yacht:

  • Class societies and their rules (for example, ABS, Bureau Veritas or Lloyd's Register)

  • The country of the yacht's registration and how its regulations impact the yacht's construction (for example, the standards set by MCA, ISO, U.S. Coast Guard and Marpol)

  • Unambiguous production requirements and instructions

  • Project management critical paths

  • An itemization of all materials required to build the yacht

  • Directives on how the hull and superstructure must be constructed

  • Engines and other machinery

  • All aspects of propulsion and power trains

  • All auxiliary systems, including water makers, generators, stabilizers, bow/stern thrusters, HVAC systems and fire suppression equipment

  • Electrical systems and installations

  • Mast, crows nest, rigging

  • Insulation and noise abatement

  • Electronics, including radar, navigation, communications, entertainment, security and ship's management

  • Coatings, finishes and paints

  • Tests and test procedures

  • Carpentry, joinery and other woodworking details

  • All equipment installed on the yacht's exterior, from cleats to passerelles

  • Any items supplied by you.

The specifications make up the core work document but will not yet include all the information required to complete the yacht. Drawings supplemented by weight studies will also become part of the specs. Our management program outlines the tasks to completed, their preferred sequence, and milestones and deadlines to be met.

Naval Architecture and Engineering

OLG's expertise

The OLG team has several decades experience designing yachts using a variety of computer design programs, with which we carry out each design with creativity and efficiency. While the final product of our design process is an aesthetically pleasing vessel, our core disciplines and experience are the ingredients that make your yacht strong, safe and seaworthy. Our detailed naval architectural and engineering studies create a yacht that performs exceptionally well.

When a yacht is completed and afloat, we tend to see the glamour and luxurious appointments that make it unique. Your yacht's appearance is central, of course, yet the aesthetic appeal must be underpinned by its rigorous engineering and naval architectural design. This part of the design is mostly hidden but essential to the yacht's operation and comfort.

Designing a large yacht is like putting together a huge puzzle. In many ways, the vessel resembles a mansion that offers excellent living space. But this floating home also carries aboard a complete propulsion system, fuel storage and distribution systems, navigational equipment, ways of making and disposing of water, and electrical generation methods to power equipment. In addition, the floating home must move efficiently and safely while offering exceptional stability.

Initial design

The vessel's overall dimensions and displacement, hull shape, the distributed size and weight of tanks at various loads, the vessel's speed, its stability - all these features are first approximated, then calculated more precisely, then analyzed and computed again - and again.

The initial portion of the design is not a one-time task: rather, the work is cumulative and iterative and is divided into a number of undertakings.

Establishing the vessel's dimensions

How many staterooms would you like? Is your main helm station on a separate level? How much equipment must fit into the engine room besides the engines? Will you carry your tenders on the upper deck or in a dinghy garage? These are the kind of questions whose answers will guide us to establish your yacht's overall length and beam. We then fit your requirements into the space available and prepare a first cut of the profile and arrangements.

Estimating the displacement and weight

Calculating the vessel's weight and how that weight is distributed is perhaps the most crucial aspect of the design. Again, calculating weight is not a one-time process. As the design evolves and changes, we measure again and again, ensuring the weight is properly distributed and the center of gravity occupies the right place.

Developing the most hydrodynamic hull

Only after estimating the yacht's weight can we begin drafting the hull shape. The issues that influence that shape include the yacht's desired maximum and cruising speeds, its sea keeping characteristics as well as any aesthetic considerations we developed earlier.

The vessel's weight and center of gravity, along with its required speed determine whether we design a full displacement, semi-displacement, planing or semi-planing hull. Other choices influencing the hull's shape include what kind of chine it will have and how its quarters are shaped.

We investigate and then propose the type of rudders and propellers best suited to the yacht and its powertrain. All these factors will influence how well the boat performs both in heavy seaways and at anchor. Our design team focuses not only how the yacht will perform but also on your comfort while aboard during different weather systems.

Once completed with all changes included, we present you with line drawings and 3-D renderings of the hull.

Estimating the yacht's speed

It's the hull shape and displacement that forecast how fast a vessel can move through the water and what size engines are required to travel at that speed. Our team uses speed-prediction software to ensure that our design offers the lowest hull resistance and optimizes efficiency and performance. We also test other possible methods of streamlining the hull. Does a bow bulb improve flow patterns and speed? What are the optimal locations for the exhausts, tunnels or rudders?

Studying the propulsion system

All propulsion components must be kept in mind when designing a system with maximum performance and most efficient fuel consumption. Do you want a straightforward driveline system consisting of a propeller-shaft-gearbox-engine arrangement? Are you interested in diesel-electric propulsion, gas turbines, Z-Drives or nozzles? What is your desired range? These choices determine how we optimize your system.

We next draw your propulsion system, which shows how all components are connected and integrated, from the main engines to shafts, propellers, rudders and nozzles.

Again, we use information technology to predict the yacht's propulsion needs and efficiency, as well as an estimate of fuel use. We compute how much fuel will be consumed by auxiliary units like generators. Those calculations allow us to anticipate fuel consumption under a variety of conditions and, keeping in mind the desired range, the size of the fuel tanks.

Designing the hull for strength

As part of designing the yacht's structural integrity, we specify the scantlings and laminate schedule of the hull, decks and superstructure, as well as those areas needing additional reinforcement, like bow thrusters, davits and stabilizers. We spell out the required stiffness and strength of the areas supporting the engines, measure the requirements of the classification societies, and engineer the bow to survive repetitive crashing into mountains of water. Finally, we optimize complicated structural components with our in-house Finite Element Analysis software.

Arranging tankage for optimum weight distribution and stability

Positioning the tanks aboard your yacht is a delicate task that requires the careful balancing of loaded and partially loaded tanks under all sea conditions. We must consider not only fuel tanks, but also reservoirs for lubricants, potable water, grey and black water, and ballast.

When arranging the tankage in the yacht, we take account of the location and weight of such peripheral but necessary equipment as pump rooms and pipes, manifolds and fuel polishers. When positioning tanks, which are bulky and take up large spaces, we make sure they don't interfere with areas needed for stabilizer reinforcements, bow thrusters and other equipment. We also design the systems that connect tanks so their contents can be pumped across to maintain yacht stability and trim.

Positioning bulkheads and scantlings

Developing the hull's structure depends in part on its material - steel, aluminum or composite. The scantlings and bulkheads are arranged according to the rules for stability and deflection properties stipulated by the classification society you chose.

Our designs pay particular attention to the way bulkheads are attached to the hull structure. The bulkheads tie the hull and deck together, make the hull more rigid and keep it from wracking and hogging. In addition, if the yacht were in a collision, our watertight bulkheads are robust enough to withstand a wall of water pressing on it from one side only. Similarly, our designs include the "damaged stability criteria" defined by the classification societies to ensure your yacht can withstand flooding.

Developing a 3-D visual of the hull with weight and structural details

A 3-D hull model not only lets you to see how the yacht is structured, but also provides data on weight and the focal point for gravity. If later we make changes in any part of this structural hull form, the center of gravity must be recalculated and adjusted.

In addition, the 3-D model offers a good overview of the kind and quantity of materials needed to construct the hull and its reinforcing structures. The estimates also give a good indication of the amount of filler, primer and paint needed as finishing coats.

Calculating stability and hydrodynamics

We calculate the stability of a yacht under a variety of operating conditions, not only when the vessel is moored or at anchor. We assess how the yacht will perform in a storm, in severe waves causing rolling, or in various damaged conditions.

Classification societies like ABS, Det Norske Veritas or Germanischer Lloyd issue rules and regulations for ships' safety. Several nations also publish their own norms for ships' safety. Usually, while we develop the properties of a yacht, we work with representatives of the appropriate classification societies or national maritime offices to make sure the yacht meets the standards. Only then do we finalize the hull lines.

Calculating the load line and tonnage

We follow the International Convention on Load Lines rules, which contain detailed regulations on the vertical distance between the top of the hull and the waterline - usually called the freeboard - for all seagoing vessels. Other rules cover such items as where the freeboard mark and hull openings should be located, and the size of freeing port areas.

Similarly, we adhere to the rules and regulations established by the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships. The Convention lays down the requirements for measuring both gross and net tonnage. We also comply with any classification society or national requirements germane to the project.

Assessing safety

Fire is one of the great dangers aboard ship, not only because vessels carry huge quantities of fuel, but because fire can spread rapidly in the yacht's confined spaces. At this point in the design process, we evaluate all aspects of safety aboard, including inherent fire protection measures like automatic fire extinguishing equipment, safety gear, watertight bulkheads and compartments, and escape routes.

Designing special custom features

Will your yacht carry a helicopter? Have a garage for automobile or other ground transportation? How and where will your tenders be housed? The OLG team assesses these questions and designs the answers. Other features that are fine-tuned at this stage are the engine room and its auxiliary equipment, air handling systems and other custom features.

Spacing the decks

When designing the total height of your yacht, we carefully analyze the space required for each level. Leaving comfortable headroom (at times we've boosted headroom for exceptionally tall clients) should not interfere with the space required by ducting and raceways in the soles or deck heads. The height of each deck also influences the dimension of the bulwarks as well as the size and positioning of windows.

Reducing noise

Nothing is less pleasant than being unable to converse when the engines are running. Few things are more irritating than a persistent rattle in the pipes. That is why the OLG crew carefully analyzes all places where noise and vibration can occur or be propagated all around your yacht. Through our experience, we have learned where most acoustic problems occur; we isolate and insulate these locations.

Ensuring Hydrodynamic Performance

No matter how beautiful or comfortable your yacht is when moored, how it performs when moving through the water is key to how satisfied you'll be with your vessel. Large yachts are built to cruise vast distances and must be able to meet any kind of weather and sea conditions safely and in relative comfort.

That is why OLG studies and analyzes the hydrodynamic properties of your yacht. Using a combination of informational tools and computational fluid dynamics, we model your hull and its attachments to reduce drag, enhance maneuverability, maximize sea keeping ability and optimize performance.

Finalizing the Hull and Superstructure

After the hull shape has been determined, we design the fine details of the superstructure. Again, we combine creativity and inspiration with information technology to develop the superstructure, which involves a series of complicated curves and complex shapes. We employ our "artistic eye" to form the unique aesthetics of your yacht.

We then join the yacht's hull and superstructure and provide you with 3-D images of the entire exterior's surface. Just as you were able to view the interior with 3-D, you can now "walk through" and "hover over" your yacht, examining it from any direction.

Once we incorporate any final changes suggested after your review of the model, the yacht's exterior design is frozen. We have good reasons to assure no more changes are made at this advanced stage. Many software packages allow for "cascading" changes to take place: If one aspect of the yacht's design changes, any other section with which it has parametric relations also alters automatically. This practice is useful early in the design process when parameters are still being established, but not once the hull and superstructure have been finalized.

The reasons are clear:

  • Once the design is set, a single alteration can interfere with the carefully integrated functional aspects of the yacht.

  • The timeframe from design to construction is often short. Once construction has started, changes are difficult and expensive.

The surface model contains the yacht's shape and curves and can generate cross-section views of any portion of the vessel. The meticulously prepared 3-D model and cross-sections can supply the builder with the blueprint for production and significantly reduce the need for fairing.

Designing the Exterior Details

Now that the yacht's major design features have been fixed, the OLG crew draws up the detailed plans for exterior operational equipment, hardware and built-in furniture. All these items have already been included in the specifications - now is the time to make sure each detail has been designed and is located in the proper place. Using our construction portal software, we manage the ordering and inventory of all equipment.

The exterior details and fittings in this portion of the design include:

  • Hull and superstructure hardware, including cleats, fairleads, scuppers, stanchions, grab bars, bow pulpits and all their backing plates and reinforcements

  • Windlasses

  • Anchoring systems

  • Built-in seats and settees

  • Doors, garage covers, hatches, portholes and windows

  • Methods for launching and retrieving tenders and other watercraft

  • Deck cradles for tenders

  • Davits or other cranes

  • Exterior companionways and stairs

  • Support bars and handles

  • Deck coverings and awnings

  • Masts and arches

  • Locations and supports for life rafts

  • Barbecues

  • Fishing gear holders

  • Fighting chairs

  • Fish and bait tanks

  • Hot tub or Jacuzzi

  • Swim platforms and ladders or steps

  • Caprails

  • Passerelles or other gangplanks

Designing the Mechanical and Electrical Systems

OLG has long experience designing mechanical and electrical systems. We use software as an accurate and complete tool to ensure that such parts as pipes, joints, valves, cabling and connectors are correctly chosen and fit precisely. Our 3-D schematics instruct yard staff on the exact placement sequence, thereby increasing the efficiency of the installation. Detailed drawings and instructions allow for the creation of a yacht that meets not only your exacting standards, but also those of classification societies and national maritime agencies.

Designing a yacht compares to crafting a large airplane. And nowhere is this truer than when we draw the mechanical and electrical systems. These systems are mostly hidden in the bowels and deck heads of your yacht, but are essential to the yacht's ability to operate and to your comfort.

Although some yards design their own mechanical/electrical systems, we believe that providing the complete production drawings improves installations, speeds up the process, cuts costs and offers better quality control.

Designing the mechanical/electrical systems system and their details requires deep engineering knowledge and attention to detail. It is an intricate, time-consuming but essential process. In another section of this website, "Creating a Register of Your Yacht's Specifications," we outlined the equipment and auxiliary parts to be installed in the yacht. Now, we explain how the mechanical systems are designed, followed by a description of the electrical systems.

Drawing the systems' piping

Much of the piping originates in the engine room and relates to propulsion. To make sure all pipes, hoses and other equipment are connected properly and their contents flow in the right direction, we prepare detailed drawings of:

  • Fuel service

  • Fuel pumping systems among tanks

  • Fuel polishing

  • Lubrication and waste oil

  • Fuel availability to generators

Another major piping system relates to water distribution. We prepare detailed drawings of:
  • Raw water cooling

  • Freshwater cooling

  • Hot and cold potable water

  • Water maker connections

  • Deck wash and anchor well wash systems

  • Scupper piping

  • Bilge and ballast water

  • Grey and black water and their treatment plants

  • Fire prevention sprinkler systems

We also design these specific piping/ducting systems:
  • Exhaust systems for the engines and generators

  • Engine room ventilation

  • Heating, air conditioning and air handling

  • Vacuum cleaning

  • Compressed air

The pipes, hoses and ducts must be correctly sized to allow continuous flows of fluids or air, and should be aligned in an orderly fashion, securely fixed in place, tagged and accessible. They should not interfere with each other, or propagate noise and vibration through the yacht. We design the systems to comply with classification society rules.

Preparing technical specifications

So that the boatyard can properly install the mechanical/electrical systems, the OLG team prepares a series of schematics. We specify all technical parts and the instructions to put them together. So that the yard can order the right parts efficiently, we supply the following information:
  • A list of materials needed to install the mechanical systems, including machinery, valves, manifolds, filters, pipes and all the small connectors-elbows, tees, nipples, unions, and so on.

For efficient and timely mechanical installation, we can supply any level of complexity in our drawings. If we supply the dimensions, cut size and numbering of every pipe and part, the yard can order all materials at once, as well as assemble large portions of the mechanical system outside the yacht, which can save time. We pay close attention to distribution of all equipment to minimize the need for wiring and piping. Accessibility of all equipment for both installation and maintenance is also key. These are the drawings we prepare:
  • Schematics for the placement of engines, tanks, water treatment equipment and pumps

  • A schematic of all pipes that run through the yacht

  • Schematics of pipelines, valves, filters, manifolds, etc.

  • Drawings of where pipes pierce watertight bulkheads to assure structural integrity

  • Drawings for tankage, including mounting and fittings details

Designing the electrical network

Modern yachts literally require miles of wiring to operate not just lights but appliances, navigational equipment, entertainment systems and security. For efficiency, motor generators normally charge a large bank of batteries.

As the weight and size of generators and batteries seriously influence the yacht's overall displacement and its center of gravity, OLG designs the major portions of the electrical system early in the process. But the details are also extremely important. These aspects are part of the electrical system design:
  • Wiring and cabling for all standard electrical devices

  • Location and size of transformers

  • Location of shore-power plug ins

  • Locations and sizes of the circuit breaker panels

  • Locations and types of lighting

  • Wiring for appliances

  • Dedicated wiring for navigational/security/communications systems

  • Supplementary isolated batteries/wiring for emergency navigational use

  • Network wiring for entertainment systems

  • Wiring for security cameras

  • Wiring for auxiliary helm stations

  • Locations and wiring for all plugs

  • Locations and wiring for all light switches

  • Any additional wiring for such equipment as windlasses, horns, windshield wipers, and Jacuzzis.

OLG prepares all necessary diagrams for these electrical systems and specifies the best routing.

Designing the electronic networks

Today's ships electronics use complicated networks that must perform many integrative functions. Through our intensive and creative use of hardware and software, we have learned how to make electronic networks talk to each other. This is not just theoretical communication: we mock up the electronics, turn them on, test and run them.

Finalizing the Interior Design

It is in the design of your yacht's interior that our earlier rigorous discussions with you pay the largest dividends. Except for the first, exterior view of a yacht, the interior is the vessel's most visible part, often the one that elicits the greatest input from owners and their families. And interior construction represents the most labor-intensive aspect of building a yacht.

When we compare the finishing of a yacht's interior with, say, hull construction or mechanical installations, the interior demands a disproportionate amount of time. That's why OLG plans interior spaces with such painstaking detail well in advance of construction. Planning saves execution time and prevents change orders, which are costly and can skew the completion schedule.

Why is building a yacht's interior so time consuming? Unlike a house, a yacht's shape is not rectangular, so furniture, cabinets and lockers must be fitted into the hull's and superstructure's curvatures. In addition, the design may have to work around some essential equipment, say and the hull reinforcements for stabilizers.

Many large yachts contain custom-made cabinetry and furniture with inlaid woods, wainscotings and wall paneling, custom galleys and helm stations. So the interior demands exact woodworking and wood finishing, much of it by hand.

Specifying the carpentry work

Earlier in the design process, we prepared a specification list for each of the living spaces, as well as samples of the "show cabin" allowing many different choices of materials. You identified specific woods, finishes, fabrics, hardware and surface textures. These selections are now translated into drawings with installation instructions.

The designs specify bunks and berths, cabinetry, vanities, helm stations, doors, moldings and staircases. Appliances and their precise dimensions are inserted into the designs. Along with the joinery, we draw and itemize such materials as countertops, teak decks, and teak or other wood flooring.

Some of the drawings form the basis for CNC data which can simplify sawing miters, panels, joints, corners, cutouts and moldings. In addition, with CNC technology, we can determine how to get the most out of a slab of wood and thereby save on expensive materials.

Our detailed drawings with exact measurements and representations of styling details allow much of the joinery work to be completed in a workshop rather than onboard, so multiple tasks can progress simultaneously.

Upon request, we can supervise the build sequence of all segments of your yacht.

Commissioning and sea-trialing your yacht

After all the planning, designing and building, the yacht's performance must be verified upon launch. This includes the way the vessel and its machinery operates, but also requires minor fine-tuning throughout. When a boat switches from being on the hard to a floating existence, it relaxes and changes shape somewhat, requiring many adjustments.

Working with the yard, we prepare detailed lists of tests to be performed at the dock and during sea trials. We can participate in and supervise the sea trials.

Testing at the dock

Once the vessel is afloat, mechanics, electricians and other technical staff conduct a series of tests to ensure all systems are functioning properly. Tests include:

  • Engines and the entire fuel system

  • Electrical systems, from generators to battery banks to ensure all lights, appliances and electrical equipment are functional

  • Air handling systems

  • Purging and pressurizing of water and sewage systems

  • Fuel and other pumps

  • Integrity of all pipes, hoses and their fittings

  • Deck equipment, including anchors, davits and remote helm stations

  • Water tightness of all doors, hatches and portholes

  • Safety gear, including fire fighting equipment

  • On board accesses, including stern platforms, ladders and Passerelles

  • Detection of noise and vibration

  • Adjustments of doors, hatches and windows.

The team also conducts an incline test, which verifies a yacht's stability and helps a captain determine under which conditions he can safely operate his vessel without risk of capsizing. Representatives from classification societies are usually present during the incline test. The results are recorded in stability books.

Testing at sea

When the crew has completed dock trials and made any needed corrections, formal sea trials are next. These are essential to check speed, maneuverability, fuel consumption, and noise and vibration issues. We write a report on the results, with recommended corrections as required.

Our detailed sea trial procedures include:
  • Testing of engines and all other parts of the propulsion system

  • Testing of each engine individually

  • Testing of generators and other auxiliary equipment

  • Calibration of the compass

  • Evaluation of acceleration and speed

  • Evaluation of fuel consumption at various speeds

  • Testing of steering and emergency steering equipment

  • Testing of maneuverability during acceleration, zigzag movements, turning circles and emergency stops with full ahead and full astern action

  • Testing the stabilizers

  • Testing the anchoring system

  • Listening for noise and rattles

  • Listening for vibration

Some of the data collected during these tests will be logged onto a computer directly. The OLG team prepares the other reports with recommendations for corrections. These become part of the total ship's design and building log stored at the construction portal.

Part of our complete package of services includes after launch-communications. We have already made sure that all manuals governing your yacht's operation are available on DVD as a fully searchable data base. You can also call on us for troubleshooting or further advice.


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