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Ship & Boat International trials - 3 Pages

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Ship & Boat International trials

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In-depth | Feature Theme High-speed craft Easy rider Ship & Boat International trials and reviews Ullman Dynamics’ Steering Bar Control System, developed to grant coxswains key advantages over traditional, wheel-based steering solutions unning through the waters of the River Test, Southampton, it struck me as a good idea to stage an impromptu race against a small police launch, conducting its own demonstration outside the Seawork 2015 exhibition. “Best stay away from them,” Carl Magnus Ullman, chief executive of Ullman Dynamics warned. “They don’t like it when people get too close.” It’s rare that a sea trial brings out my inner Hell’s Angel, but it was difficult to resist the urge to treat this particular test run like a speedway world championship. In my defence, though, I was on board a demonstrator version of Norsafe’s latest fast rescue boat type – a modified version of its Magnum 850 class, with top speed boosted from 35knots to just under 50knots. And, as for the wheel…well, there was none. We had gathered for a demo of the prototype Ullman Steering Bar System, a product which has been developed by Ullman Dynamics – perhaps better known for its range of shock mitigating onboard seating solutions. As the photos reveal, the Steering Bar System resembles motorbike-styled handles, more commonly associated with jet skis, though very much integrated into the helm. As Carl Ullman tells Ship & Boat International, the prototype system is the result of 20 years’ worth of research and experimentation, with the intention of developing a steering solution that can effectively “connect the user’s brainstem, where the reflex actions originate, directly to actuation of steering, throttles, gears and trim in the simplest and most intuitive way possible”. Former and current motorcylists may enjoy a distinct advantage when using the system, even if it is the first time they have stepped foot on a boat, Ullman adds, in as much as the system has been formulated to “hook up with the reflex paths” of those accustomed to riding motorbikes or bicycles. 26 The Ullman Steering Bar System, installed on Norsafe’s Magnum 850 craft Harald Bluetooth; the system enables coxswains to steer, throttle and simply hold on to the bars, simultaneously With much focus currently placed on the human element aspects of small boat safety (especially non-IMO vessels), this intuitive approach could prove useful in reducing high-speed craft accidents, and has implications for a large range of vessel types; from patrol and rescue boats, where speed, manoeuvrability and control are of the essence, to recreational and sports craft, yachts and pilot boats. Steering design The Steering Bar System has four key elements. The first, naturally, is steering, which is easily conducted by turning the bar. As well as being intuitive to the point that it’s hard to imagine anyone who wouldn’t be able to take instant control of the vessel, this method of steering provides other advantages over traditional wheel-based steering systems, Ullman explains. “The visual and tactile input of the steering input is a great benefit for the cox,” he says. “The cox will, at all times, know the angle of the drives merely by feeling where his hands are – just like on a bike.” The handlebar-based system can also benefit fellow crew members and/or passengers; Ullman says: “The visual representation of the steering input is also important. Being able to observe the angle of the steering bar grants passengers the ability to be proactive – they can anticipate and brace before a turn, instead of bracing when the force of the turn occurs. “You can compare this to typical bridge routines aboard naval destroyers, where the commander gives the coxswain a command for a rudder angle or a new heading, and the coxswain needs to reply by loudly repeating the given command and then confirming when the new rudder angle or heading has been achieved. The whole idea of having crew side-by-side in control is to increase the safety in manoeuvring, so it’s important that the co-pilot knows exactly what the coxswain is doing.” Another advantage is the protection the Steering Bar System can offer against the effects of slamming. Ullman explains: “With the Steering Bar System, you are able to use not only your legs but also your arms to absorb the impacts – hence protecting your spine and neck from injuries, while still being in full control of your own body posture.” Total control The second element is throttling. This is simply conducted by twisting the grip on the bar; again, anybody who has spent Ship & Boat International September/October 2015

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The customisable Magnum 850 Harald Bluetooth, the demonstrator boat which hosted the Ullman Steering Bar System at Seawork 2015, is a modified version of Norsafe’s powerful Magnum 850 class, a fast rescue boat type designed to partake in SAR / patrol / dive support work, and which is suitable for installation on both offshore installations and standby vessels. The Magnum 850’s basic design incorporates an overall length of 8.87m, a beam of 3.27m and a height of 3.2m, and the class can accommodate up to 17 persons (including six crew members), including survivors. Harald Bluetooth was fitted...

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In-depth | High-speed craft Trim pickings Harald Bluetooth is fitted with two Interceptor trim tabs, supplied by Swedish manufacturer and vessel stability specialist Humphree. These tabs have been developed to counter the effects of vessel roll and pitch motions, to ensure a smoother ride for crew and passengers alike, across a range of open sea conditions; in fact, the company estimates that the Interceptor tabs can dampen the effects of vessel roll by approximately 40-55%, making it a popular option among high-speed patrol and rescue craft and RIB operators. Each Interceptor features a...

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