Crash Course

HSBO-01Courtesy HSBO

For the first three days of the High Speed Boat Operations Forum, boats will be tested in the water using the same acquisition and logging equipment used by defense ministries.

Availability of cheaper, better accelerometers opens up the possibility of do-it-yourself impact-data collection for boat designers and builders. But how they collect those data depends on the sort of impacts they are curious about. For some builders, knowing the slamming loads on the bottom of a high-speed craft under way in a range of seas states could be vital to the structural engineering of that composite or metal hull. For others, the forces boat operators and passengers might be subjected to will be of greater interest.

The conventional method of gathering those data has been to call in an outside specialist to instrument the boat and run the tests. As part of this year’s High Speed Boat Operations Forum in Gothenburg, Sweden (May 10–13), conference host Dr. Johan Ullman of Ullman Dynamics will team up with Karl Garme, naval architect at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and Sven-Ake Eriksson, from Swedish data-logger manufacturer Research Electronics, to show attendees how to instrument vessels and conduct tests on their own.

HSBO-02Courtesy HSBO

Accelerometer technology has evolved to allow boat designers and builders to collect their own impact data.

“This is for boatbuilders and people who work in this dangerous environment,” Ullman said. Those who learn how to fit boats with accelerometers in the appropriate place with the appropriate attachments can then log impact and vibration data; those can be synchronized with boat speed, engine data, and GPS coordinates to simultaneously show multiple variables that determine vessel performance.

At HSBO the three presenters will fit three different boats with the same type of data acquisition and logging equipment used by defense ministries of multiple NATO countries. They will offer practical advice on how to set up and manage testing of hull performance, and how to effectively test for impacts or vibrations, and the difference between the two phenomena.

Boats will be run for the first three days of the conference, and the data from those trips will be analyzed by participants who have had the opportunity to actually experience the ride and then see its representation on the computer screen. The presenters will teach specifics of accelerometer installation in a special hands-on seminar the morning of the 13th.

“This is much easier than many people want you to believe,” Ullman said, adding that anyone can purchase the basic accelerometer devices for about €2,000 ($2,202).

Images from the 2014 High Speed Boat Operations Forum

  • 2014 High Speed Boat Operations Forum

This 7th HSBO will also include some of the usual fare that attendees come to expect: “Navies and agencies talking about what their future needs will be,” Ullman said. Some additional focus this year will be devoted to surviving accidents in high-speed vessels, including accounts from a couple of professional drivers who have been through the experience, and a presentation from the German authority that investigates boating accidents.

A fleet of professional boats, from military craft to offshore service vessels, will be available for participants to take on test runs between conference presentations. There will also be a high-speed-boat simulator from Cruden (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) on site. Intended for training of military or other professional personnel, the computerized simulator is programmed with advanced modeling software that allows for adjustment of sea and wind conditions and relative direction of travel. “You can feel both shaken and stirred,” warned Ullman, and all without leaving the conference center.

Note that attendance is by invitation only, but our senior editor, Paul Lazarus, will be there this year. Look for his reports here and in Professional BoatBuilder magazine. For more information, visit the HSBO website.

Aaron Porter is Professional BoatBuilder‘s editor.