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Sunreef Yachts



  • To satisfy a shift in customer preferences for highly customized luxury catamarans, Poland-based Sunreef Yachts needed to simulate and optimize their engineering processes to accelerate design and production of its boats.


  • The company adopted Dassault Systèmes’ applications for the design and realistic simulation of its boats.


  • High-performing simulation enabled engineers to rapidly explore nearly endless appealing hull design possibilities and optimize for better fuel efficiency, seaworthiness and performance in different sea conditions.

Addressing new sailing experiences

Creating a company to manufacture luxury catamarans on the belief that features such as living space, high-quality materials and ergonomics were preferred by many clients over speed and power was a gamble. However, Sunreef Yachts’ founder Francis Lapp was convinced there was a market for these vessels alongside the more customary yacht. “When I founded Sunreef Yachts in 2002, privately-owned luxury catamarans were nonexistent,” Lapp said. “But I sensed that tastes had evolved. Many yacht owners come to Sunreef because they want to switch from a mono-hull vessel to a catamaran because a catamaran is more stable due to its double hull. Moreover, it can provide a more ample living space providing a better sense of conviviality and community than narrower, longer yachts,” Lapp said.

Combining fresh design, seaworthiness and customization, as well as other important aspects such as energy efficiency, reliability and high performance, is not an easy task. All this has to be factored in when new model design starts, and understanding the hull plays a crucial role. Building confidence, therefore, is vital for Sunreef Yachts. “Coming up with an appealing, easily customizable and seaworthy product is only possible when you have a powerful tool for design and simulation. It’s critical for our customers that we virtually verify the 3D design model of the vessel,” Piotr Hinczewski, design office director at Sunreef Yachts, said.

Thanks to SIMULIA XFlow, we can test several scenarios — different shapes, wind speed, sea conditions — and get our results quickly to come up with an attractive shape for optimum seaworthiness and fuel consumption.

Piotr Hinczewski, Design Office Director
Sunreef Yachts
Catamaran hull performance CFD case study cover Sunreef Yachts has discovered a revolutionary way to design boats using XFlow for CFD simulation.

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Breakthrough in shape optimization

Sunreef Yachts are very comfortable boats and include high-end luxury equipment. Consequently, much attention is given to weight. In order to meet the desired performance, shape optimization is a key success factor for achieving the best hydrodynamics and energy efficiency and leads to a better understanding in terms of engine choice, fuel efficiency and possible sail options.

According to Michal Krula, hull designer and CFD specialist at Sunreef Yachts, “shape optimization is crucial because it enables us to make our boats appealing and seaworthy.” The specific simulation capabilities that started in the automotive and aerospace industries offer a big advantage for Sunreef Yachts. “It allows us to avoid physical prototyping and testing that would require having a test pool for our boats. I think it’s a breakthrough in fluid dynamics and simulation. We don’t need physical testing, which is costly and time-consuming. We sit at our computer and simulate all possible real-world scenarios or conditions to understand the behavior of each boat model,” Krula said.

Sunreef Yachts can now run realistic simulation scenarios in a fast loop to know quickly how to improve hydrodynamics and aerodynamics, and ensure that they can accomplish all aspects of safety while meeting speed expectations and energy efficiency. Prior to using SIMULIA XFlow, Sunreef would outsource simulation to a third-party, but now can perform these analyses in house, check the results immediately and make corrections to the design in SOLIDWORKS right away. “Our response time has considerably improved,” Lapp said. “Before it took us 6–7 months to build a 74-foot boat; today an 80-foot vessel takes us 3½ months.”

Francis Lapp said there is a market for large 50 to 60 meter catamarans as well, which are also ecologically-friendly with electric or solar-powered engines and eco-friendly furnishings. “We are currently experimenting with a revolutionary solar panel that will be directly integrated in the hull or mast,” Lapp said. “Our future, therefore, involves intensive use of high performing SOLIDWORKS and SIMULIA XFlow applications, because we are planning to build these bigger boats,” Hinczewski said. “They are key to our future development.”

Instead of simply selling boats, Sunreef Yachts aims to promote a philosophy that provides its clients with an exceptional sailing experience, ample living areas and quality after-sales services. “We build close relationships between the shipyard and client because it creates an overall sense of family and that is our trademark,” Lapp concluded.

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