Immediate Release Sept.
Harley, Media Pro Int'l
Westlawn Alumnus Makes Waves Sailing on
Rodger Martin Yacht
Design Makes Waves In Boston
September 20, 2005, Newport,
Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is currently host to an outdoor installation
that not only illustrates the principles of sailing, but also defines it as
art. The winner of the 1992 Americas Cup in San Diego, America3,
and the Italian yacht she beat, Il Moro Di Venezia, appear to be "sailing
on land" through the concept designed and executed by Rodger Martin Yacht
Design (RMYD), a Newport, R.I. based firm with over two decades of design
expertise. RMYD was also part of the America3 design team in 1991-92
when she won the Cup.
Rodger Martin Yacht
Design (RMYD) was tasked with providing options for displaying the boats that
are part of the exhibit "The Things I Love: The Many Collections of
William I. Koch." The firm's response to the display requirements --
highlighting the sculpture of hull form and the artistry of their applied
engineering while creating a support system that was as minimal as possible so
as to not visually detract from the boats -- is a stunning success. RMYD has
fashioned a museum-quality, thought-provoking design that, notably, is able to
sustain winds up to 96 knots (110 mph) which meets building code. At 124 feet
high, nearly twice as tall as the museum, the boats are displayed as if racing
with America3, the 1992 Americas Cup defender that was skippered by
Koch, in the lead. They will remain outside the museum for the duration of the
exhibit, which opened on August 31 and continues through November 13, 2005.
"Design is beautiful
when it works as intended and when properly executed with efficiency in its
engineering, " said RMYD Design Engineer Ross Weene (Newport, R.I.).
"The awe of passersby tells us that we have succeeded in creating an
amazingly surrealistic sailing sculpture, a work designed to educate and
architecture for the boats was designed to be as light as possible in
aesthetic, and, for the most part, invisible at first glance. Approaching the
museum from the east one can almost miss seeing the network of wires and
support masts RMYD designed to work around, and blend in with, existing trees.
The firm drew inspiration from Gnter Behnisch and Frei Ottos 1972 Olympic
Stadium in Munich in taking the main "windward" supporting
wires (one per boat) to the top of compression spars then down to ground.
The Layout: The two boats are heeled over at fifteen degrees,
set on opposite tacks, and sailing upwind to the east, the direction of
strongest anticipated winds. Heeling the boats also allows better viewing of
the decks. Cyrus Dallins 1909 sculpture "Appeal to the Great Spirit"
provides interesting juxtaposition and a "windward mark" which
America3 is rounding to starboard, leading Il Moro which is ducking
astern to then tack and round. Due to the constraints of the display area (in
size and numerous underground utilities) - it is a close and exciting mark
Installation: Suspending the boats
is a system of tensioned stainless steel rods and hardware -- the same type as
used in the rigging supporting the boats masts and thereby staying true to form
-- solid Nitronic 50 stainless steel rods with 316 stainless fittings. The
largest rod, at Il Moros port side, can take 91,000 pounds load. After drafting
several suspension systems involving different numbers of wires and attachment
points, RMYD then reduced the options to the best solutions. Structural
engineers then reviewed the options with Finite Element Analysis software to
assess stability and help optimize the system. The final wire locations reflect
optimal structural stability with the minimum number of wires.
The 43 custom-woven
carbon fiber spars each weigh only 300 pounds, minimizing additional stresses
in the wires, and are built of the same high strength and stiffness/low weight
material used in the yachts masts. Within the boats, the main supporting wires
attach to the keel fins. The bow and stern tethers on both boats stabilize
against pitching and yawing in heavy wind, and are attached to the forestay,
runner, and mainsheet bulkheads via custom chainplates designed by the team
that originally engineered America3.
Under 96-knot winds, the
loads on the yachts and rigging require a substantial anchoring system.
Fourteen helical piles, essentially giant corkscrews, were used extensively for
the tension wire anchors and can be installed and removed without vibration --
an important consideration as RMYD could not risk damaging the museums exhibits
by jack-hammering concrete anchors of equivalent strength. The helicals are
driven 15-20 feet below grade to engage a layer of clay. They are also used to
anchor the concrete footings below each boats keel and below carbon support
masts. Loads in the rigging are monitored realtime via load cells in the main
windward wires pins. Pretension in all other rigging elements is determined by
measuring their harmonic oscillation.
Below each ballast bulb
is a ball-and-socket joint that allows the yachts to pivot if hit with a blast
of wind, rather than bending and stressing their structures, and also take 70
tons compression experienced in a 96 knot wind gust. These joints were also
essential to the installation process each boat was placed in its socket and
atop two custom tipping cradles. Then the cradles were tipped fifteen degrees
to the boats final positions and the rigging attached. Everything fit
perfectly, even over the 230 square-foot footprint of the installation made
possible by three-dimensional computer aided design.
Rodger Martin Yacht
Design: Westlawn alumnus Rodger
Martin established his own firm, Rodger Martin Yacht Design, in 1984, after
honing his skills while working for two industry leaders: Robert E. Derecktor (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) and
Pedrick Yacht Design (Newport, R.I.). A life-long cruising and racing sailor, Martin's
first design was for racer Mike Plant who won his class in the 1986 BOC
Single-handed Around the World Race aboard Airco Distributor -- the first of
Martin's many winning designs.
Ross Weene was project design
engineer on the MFA design. A graduate engineer from Brown University
and a graduate of The Landing School yacht design course, Weene has been an
associate at RMYD since 2001.
For more information,
please visit: www.rodgermartindesign.com
Founded in 1930, the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology is
the only nationally accredited and state certified distance-learning school of
small-craft design in the United States. As the not-for-profit educational affiliate of the American Boat and Yacht Council, The mission of
the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology is threefold:
■ To provide our students with the skills knowledge
required to build a rewarding career in the profession of yacht and small-craft
■ To support continued growth of the
recreational and small-craft marine community through the development of
well-trained, safety oriented, boat designers developing better products for
the benefit of the boating public.
■ To provide continuing education to marine
To learn more about
Westlawn, please call (860) 572-7900 or visit the Westlawn website at www.westlawn.edu.