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CFD simulation of a sailing boat hull

in maneuvering condition
Hiromichi Akimoto

Jong-Chun Park and Se-min Jeong

Division of Ocean Systems Engineering
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Daejeon 305-701, South Korea

Department of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering
Pusan National University
Busan 609-735, Republic of Korea,

Young-Hun Kim
Dept. Naval Architecture, Ocean and IT Engineering
Kyungnam University
Changwon-si 631-701, Republic of Korea
Abstract—Maneuver of a sailing boat is an extreme condition of
ship hydrodynamics. The boat experiences rapid and large
amplitude change in roll and heading direction. For evaluation of
sailing boat performance, water flow around the sailing boat hull
is numerically investigated. It uses the finite volume method and
the equation of motion of the ship.
Keywords- sailing boat; CFD; 6DOF motion; maneuvering



Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) of ship
hydrodynamics has shown significant achievement in these
decades. There are some commercial software packages those
simulate viscid incompressible fluid around ocean going
vessels by solving the Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes
(RaNS) equations and the equation of motion. However, most
of these applications do not consider the large amplitude
motion of small boats like sailing boats and high-speed
pleasure boats. In small boats, since dynamic pressure shows
significant influence on the boat attitude, we have to simulate
the motion of the ship in six-degrees of freedom (6DOF).
The numerical evaluation of a sailing boat is an extreme
case of CFD. Since the propulsion force of the boat is wind on
its sail, it has angles of heel, yaw and pitch in cruising
condition. Especially in windward sailing, we have to conduct
tacking operations and take zigzag course. In the operation, the
boat experiences quick switch of heel direction by about ±30
degrees in a several seconds. It requires simultaneous control
of rudder and sail.
Although the full treatment of such a quick maneuvering is
theoretically possible, the cost of computation is very high. The
unsteady large amplitude motions of the boat and free surface
deformation have to be simplified so that we can obtain the
simulation result in reasonable cost and time. Roncin and
Kobus [1] conducted dynamic match race simulation of two
sailing boats. It uses experimental data of towing tank test to
estimate the fluid dynamic forces acting on the boat hull in

978-1-4577-2091-8/12/$26.00 ©2011 IEEE

arbitrary attitude angles. Formaggia et al. [2] solved boat
dynamics including free surface effect by a potential flow
solver and RaNS solver. Since the flow field around a boat in
unsteady motion is time-dependent and has complex features,
major simplification should be applied for practical
applications. Akimoto [3] conducted unsteady flow simulation
of a sailing boat with course changing motion using the moving
grid system. In the simulation, free surface deformation was
realized by grid deformation. Although the treatment has
limited capability when the deformation of free surface is
significant, its light computational cost is favorable for the long
simulation of unsteady ship motion.


The target of present study is to obtain fast evaluation of
newly designed sailing boats without conducting a towing test.
For this purpose, we will use the unsteady sailing boat
simulation of Akimoto [3]. The main part of the simulation is
RaNS solver for the water flow around the hull. The fluid
dynamic forces acting on the sail and rudder are evaluated by
models of 3D wing theory for simplicity.
Figure 1 shows the computational mesh of the present
simulation. It is O-O type structured grids fitted to the wetted
surface area of the boat. Although the velocity boundary
condition on the hull surface is no-slip, the surface mesh on the
hull slides on the body surface according to the rotational
motion of the boat. The treatment avoids large distortion of the
computational mesh. The size of present mesh is 50×30×30.

Fig. 1 Computational mesh and hull surface

” J. The rudder control routine is a simple Proportional-Differential (PD) feedback controller using the boat velocity vector as the desired value of the control. III. pp. CONCLUSION A maneuvering simulation of sailing boat based on the RaNS simulation of water flow around the hull was presented. All attitude angles of yaw. n the unit normal direction of the free surface. Akimoto and H. Volume 7. M. ∂h ∂h ∂h = v3 = u3 − (u1 − v1 ) − (u 2 − v2 ) ∂t ∂x ∂y (1) ∂u p x P = a − 32 and = 0 (on free surface) (2) ∂n ρ Fn Here h is the local elevation of free surface. Fn the Froude number. 56. Figure 2 shows the snap shot images of boat attitude. the deformation of the structured mesh is not significant even in the large amplitude roll. u3 ) . The method uses single structured mesh fitted to the deformation of free surface and the hull in arbitrary motion. When t=12. stability and accuracy of the model are improved. moving grid speed and position of the free surface grid point respectively. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION In the simulation. “Dynamic simulation of two sailing boats in match racing. 2008 H. Formaggia et al. At present. front view (a) and top view (b) Simulation of the flow around the hull is by RaNS and Finite Volume Method. The control procedure is still under development to complete tacking procedure. Vol. we control only the angle of rudder and sail. u2 . The tested condition of the motion was only the course change by 4 degrees. REFERENCES [1] [2] [3] K.” Int. pp.” Sports Engineering. for Numerical Methods in Fluids. Number 3. Issue 8. . 2004 L. the boat changes the target direction of velocity by 36 degree and close the sail for turning. the boat starts motion and rudder control. v3 ) and x = ( x1 . the system requires the improvement of maneuvering algorithm to simulate realistic tacking procedure.0. “Fluid–structure interaction problems in free surface flows: Application to boat dynamics. 7. v = (v1. of Marine Science and Technology.0. the sail is fully spread again in the opposite side. It reaches steady condition with leeway angles of 3 degree and heel angle around 8 degree to cancel the asymmetric load of the sail. The equation of the ship motion is numerically integrated by the explicit 1st-order Euler method. 3. Since the grid points on the hull slide on the surface. pitch and roll are result of equation of motion. and whether the sail is fully open or closed. 965–978. The control of the sail is only specifying which side of apparent wind the sail will be spread to. 3 Time history of attitude angles in heading change test (b) Fig. The improvement of control algorithm and validation of tacking motion will be provided in the future work. “Finite-volume simulation method to predict the performance of a sailing boat. The research will provide a sailing simulator for R&D of boat design and safety education of marine leisure. 2002. Deformation of the free surface mesh is determined by the following kinematic and dynamic conditions. When non-dimensional time t=1. vol. 139-152. Special Issue: Institute for Computational Fluid Dynamics. Miyata. 2 Snap shots of the boat attitude and free surface. J. Akimoto [3] validated the simulated hull surface pressure distribution and wave profile along hull surface using experimental data.(a) Fig. x2 . v2 . When t=10. The turbulent model is the combination of Baldwin-Lomax model and Sub-grid-scale model. pp.5. For the simulation of realistic maneuvering condition. Sail force assumed to be orthogonal to the apparent wind (relative wind velocity to the boat). Roncin and J. 31-42. An example of the time history of attitude angles is shown in Fig. Vectors u = (u1 . Kobus. x3 ) are flow velocity. IV.