Tank Testing Milestone for Brisbane Boat Builder

Bill WrightA significant milestone has been achieved at the towing tank, when the longest and most regular AMCS client completed experiments on their 28th new vessel in 28 years.

Bill Wright, managing director of Brisbane boat builders Norman R Wright and Sons, ran through a series of tests studying the effects of beam-to-length ratios on pilot boats.

“If we can find the exact beam-to-length ratio for certain boats we can offer superior seakeeping and better fuel consumption which leads to greater efficiency,” he explained.

The 107-year-old, third generation family business originally tested all its models at Sydney University before the tank closed in 1988, coinciding with the opening of the Australian Maritime College facility.

“From then on we’ve always tested here – it’s very professional, competitively priced and we get treated extremely well when we’re here,” Mr Wright said.

“If I have unknowns, I can go and talk to [Towing Tank Manager] Gregor Macfarlane or his team and they’ll go out of their way to help me. When I’m back in Brisbane, if I have a question I know they can answer I’ll give them a call and they’re always extremely helpful. And that high level of client service goes a long way.”

Mr Wright is not alone amongst many users of the Towing Tank who attest to benefits of using the facility and expertise of the staff to gain unbeatable levels of confidence when it comes to verifying predictions of performance. Since commissioning in 1988, the Towing Tank has been used to test more than 500 models of ships, submarine, offshore oil rigs and other ocean structures for a variety of research and commercial purposes. With 100m of length, wave making capability, a fast carriage and excellent staff expertise amongst state of the art measurement apparatus, the towing tank continues to provide invaluable input into research and commercial ventures in the maritime industry and increasingly the marine renewable energy sector in Australia.

For boat builders such as Norman R Wright and Sons, being able to conduct physical model experiments in such a facility is an essential step in the design process.

 “It gives me the best security that I can possibly have, other than having a real boat in front of me, to make sure that what I’m guaranteeing will actually happen,” Mr Wright said.

 “So it’s a matter of confidence in what we’re predicting, but it’s the ability to pretty much guarantee that what you’re presenting will work.”

Mr Wright said the business builds both commercial vessels and pleasure craft and has tested police and pilot boats, pleasure craft and ferries in the towing tank. Some tests have proven more rewarding than others.

 “All the projects are different and satisfying in their own ways, and can be totally frustrating in their own ways. There has been one occasion where I stopped the test, took the boat up to the rubbish bin and threw it in and started all over again. This is opposed to another test I did about a year ago that fulfilled all my optimistic desires, but I’m just happy if they do what I’ve calculated them to do,” he said.

For more information on how the towing tank or other AMC facilities and expertise may be of use to your research or commercial venture, feel free to get in touch with the Hydrodynamics Business Development Manager, Keyvan Sartipi.