A Fresh Approach to Yacht Design


Named one of the world’s 10 most influential living architects by Forbes magazine, Greg Lynn of Greg Lynn Yacht embarked on the GF42 trimaran project with the goal of making it a high-performance racing yacht that stands apart from all others in its design.


“I’ve done some work in the boat industry over the past couple of years, and while it’s very sophisticated in terms of analysis and construction, it’s very backwards in terms of design,” said Lynn. Working with a team of experts in yacht design, structural engineering, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD), Lynn set out to make some significant changes.


The GF42 racing trimaran is unique in many ways. One of the most distinctive aspects of its design is that styling, commonsense assumption, and precedent were used initially and then verified through a CFD environment. Aerodynamic analysis was used to examine flows across the sails, and hydrodynamic analysis was implemented to show how the trimaran would move through the water. This digital analysis strongly influenced the design of the trimaran.


The use of cutting-edge software helped facilitate optimal communication of Lynn’s design to the boat builder, Westerly Marine. In addition to producing traditional mockups, the software enabled him to create photorealistic visuals, which made the process faster and much less expensive. The design workflow was also greatly improved with the use of this technology. It allowed Lynn to cast shadows, change the lighting, and view reflections on his design while seeing the results in real time rather than by building a physical model.


The GF42 is 100 percent carbon fiber construction. METYX Composites supplied 300 gsm unidirectional carbon, 300 gsm carbon cloth, and 300 gsm +/-45 biaxial for this innovative trimaran. The advantageous strength-to-weight ratio of the carbon fiber helped keep the hull of the boat lightweight. The interior, consisting of a king bed, two twin beds, a seat, a galley, a head, and 10 shelves, weighs less than 80 pounds.


“Everyone from the sailing industry who’s seen the GF42 has been shocked at just at how different it is,” remarked Lynn. The finished trimaran will be hitting the water in early 2015 with high performance to match its groundbreaking design.