School of Marine Science and Technology | Yacht and Super Yacht Research Group

Yacht and Superyacht Research Group

The Yacht and Superyacht Research Group of the School of Marine Science and Technology, Newcastle University, is the most active research group in Europe on yachts and super yachts (source: SCOPUS, September 2011).

The main research topics are

  • Experimental & Numerical Fluid Dynamics;
  • High Performance Yacht Design;
  • Velocity Prediction Programs;
  • Sail Aerodynamics;
  • Hull and Appendages Hydrodynamics.

To find out more please contact Dr Ignazio Maria VIOLA:

The group also delivers consultancy for the yacht and superyacht industry. For more information on the services click here or download the Yacht and Superyacht Consultancy brochure here.


Principal current projects:

LES Investigation of Downwind Sail Aerodynamics

Project co-ordinator: Dr IM Viola. Research partners: Politecnico di Milano, Yacht Research Unit (Auckland) and an America’s Cup challenger.

An America’s Cup AC33-class yacht sailing in downwind condition is modelled with Large Eddy Simulation technique. High grid resolution (about 500 million cells) will allow leading edge bubble, trailing edge separation and tip vortices to be modelled with high accuracy. The research will allow new insight on the interaction between these flow features.

Decision Making in Yacht Races Under Uncertainty

Project co-ordinator: Dr IM Viola. PhD scholarship awarded by the School of Marine Science and Technology, Newcastle University.

A computer program for taking decision during yacht races, based on high frequency trading (HFT) algorithms, is under development. The program will be used during sailing competitions to help the tactician in choosing the best route, simulating interactions between different boats and considering the different possible weather scenarios. This will also allow simulating different situations that can arise during a regatta for training purpose.

Advanced Anti-Fouling Coating for High Speed Crafts

Project co-ordinator: Dr IM Viola. MPhil scholarship awarded by the Malaysian Government.

The effect of different modern anti-fouling coatings on the boundary layer of high-speed crafts is investigated with experimental techniques. In particular, experiments will be carried out both in the towing tank and in the cavitation tunnel, where the boundary layer will be measured with LDV techniques. The project will allow new insights on the effect of roughness on the hull skin friction, and on the effect of speed on the erosion of coating.

Hydrodynamic URANS Analysis of Volvo 70’ Class Yachts

Project co-ordinator: Dr IM Viola. Volvo 70 Class yachts are modelled with appendages in free to sink and trim condition with Unsteady Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes simulations. The research aims increasing the performance of these yachts understanding the effect of hull forms and the interaction with the appendages. In particular, several conditions tested in towing tank are modelled numerically to gain insight on the velocity and pressure fields.


Recent AwardsIgnazio Maria Viola

The group has been awarded a second Medal from the Institution of Naval Architect, the Medal of Distinction for the paper 'Upwind Sail Aerodynamics: a Pressure Distribution Database for the Validation of Numerical Codes' , IJSCT, 153 (B1), 47-­‐58, 2011.





The group has recently been awarded the Medal of Exceptional Merit for the paper ‘Force and pressure investigation of modern asymmetric spinnakers’, IJSCT, 151 (B2) 31-40, 2009, by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects.