The hull is the hidden part of the iceberg and it is the key to performance.
PERFORMANCE & ENERGY
From Brest and in love with anything that floats, Tanguy Le Bihan created the TLB naval architecture office in 2006. TLB has made a name for itself as a highly innovative office and specialises in hull work, mainly on motorboats, to increase energy performance. His two watchwords are elegance and performance.
Tanguy Le Bihan: Apart from developing boats for clients we assist, such as Beneteau, we sometimes work on slightly crazy projects that are a little out of the box. They may be crazy, but they do help make progress in research and they widen the field of possibilities. Prompted by the desire to create new things and make progress, we have worked on innovatively designed sailing yachts, with, for example, a very straight bow and a highly specific hull to front.
In 2008, we created an all-carbon and electric motor-powered trimaran: Odonata. We developed this prototype in our garage in Brittany and showed it at the Nautic boat show in Paris. It combines the pleasure of sailing with virtually zero energy consumption and the complete absence of emissions. I remember, when I talked about it to Patrick Tableau, in charge of motorboats development at Beneteau, he said: “Have you seen electric trucks?”
However, we have come a long way since in how we consider electricity. It is in the back of my mind, while still believing that the market is not ready yet, particularly since this type of technology is still very expensive and also because the major limitation of electricity in motor boating is speed. Whatever one might say, motorboat customers like to go fast. However, I still believe that there is a perfect connection between the sailing yacht and the motorboat and that a part of our future lies here.
Another project that I have been developing for some time, still in keeping with this performance and environment approach is that of a foiling motorboat (Hydroptère type boat, ‘flying’ boats). Since I am a kite surf fan, I have been interested in this question for a long time. The principle is very simple: the friction you have on the standard hull is reduced by forty, she offers greater performance, better engine output and greater speed. With a foil, fuel consumption is reduced by 10 and you can reach 65 knots with 90 hp. With a standard boat, you would have two multiply the engine power by four to achieve this speed. The future of motor boating also lies here!
The first collaboration with Beneteau was the Monte Carlo project. First there was the MC5, the MC4 and then the MC6, involving incredible work on the hulls, composites, performance and stability of the boat. Then TLB turned its attention and expertise to enhancing the performance of the new Flyer range, the Barracudas and the Swift Trawler 50.
Tanguy Le Bihan: The Flyer range was a super project – so different to the competition’s boats and marked by Beneteau’s very strong desire to make a distinctive impact. The AirStep® 2 hull, perfected by Beneteau Powerboat, has incredible seakeeping! 10 months of work was necessary for these new Flyers. What makes this type of project highly technical is that there is a weight variation of nearly 50% between a boat with no options and a full-option boat. In addition, the boat must behave exactly the same in all configurations! These are real constraints and they are increasingly present, since boats are being increasingly equipped and personalised. Such constraints render the project complicated and are very stimulating. Working with the Style&Design office was very rewarding. I am all for each person being responsible for what they know how to do best and making progress together in an intelligent fashion. With my ‘everything must serve a purpose’ engineering background, I have learnt a lot working alongside these designers. As for Patrick Tableau, we’re very complementary and it is a great pleasure to work with him. In many respects he is my mentor!