the art of wind

If shipping is to decarbonize its operations, maximizing hull efficiency will be essential, and the only way to get there is through advanced engineering – particularly computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

Developed for aerospace applications and refined for use in naval architecture, advanced CFD modeling allows engineers to study the interactions of air and water with the exterior of the vessel. CFD is a big part of the magic behind modern racing yachts, like the gravity-defying America’s Cup boats, and if used with skill it can improve the efficiency of a merchant ship design by as much as five percent.

CFD is a complex art, and while many larger naval architecture and engineering firms have a team in-house, others outsource it to a specialist with high-end methods. One specialized firm, Cape Horn Engineering, is applying CFD expertise honed in the yacht racing world to one of the most interesting questions in commercial shipping: how to put sails back on board merchant vessels. Read on.