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Finding ways to innovate in seemingly every aspect of yacht racing and cruising technology is meat and drink to some people

Diverse Performance Systems have built a reputation as world leaders in the design and manufacture of highperformance sailing systems, with their expertise encompassing marine electronics, load sensing, electric propulsion, water ballast, hydraulic systems and a whole range of deck gear.

Their reputation within the industry is best demonstrated by their client list, which includes many of the sailing world’s highest profile teams. Their work can be seen aboard the all-conquering RAN Fast 40, top TP52s, Mini-Maxi 72s, latest generation Imocas and Volvo Ocean Race winners. When it comes to superyachts their clients include Wallys, J-Classes and Gunboats, whilst they are just getting started on a hydraulic system upgrade for the stunning Spirit 111 Geist.

Main picture: Allegra was the winner of last year’s Multihull Cup.

Another recent project has been a major upgrade of the hydraulic systems aboard the 85ft Nigel Irensdesigned catamaran Allegra, and managing director Nick McGarry (an Oracle/BAR alumnus) explains why hydraulic system upgrades are becoming an increasingly important part of his business:

‘Many superyachts are sold with hydraulic systems that are best suited for cruising or light racing, so often the hydraulic power on board is a limiting factor when it comes to racing. There is no point paying for a crack crew of professional sailors if the hydraulic systems on board don’t allow them to trim sails properly, or to complete complex manoeuvres using multiple winches with a high line speed at the same time.’

Diverse Performance Systems has the in-house expertise to handle the entire design, manufacture and installation of a hydraulic system and any related changes to onboard electronics or deck gear, making them a convenient one-stop-shop and crucially ensuring that they hold full accountability for the entire integrated system.

Above: Diverse PS has strong expertise in marine electronics
Below: the demand for hydraulic system upgrades is increasing

The hydraulic systems they design use off-the-shelf parts from industry leading brands when appropriate, but they also have the facilities to machine custom manifolds themselves and typically include their own pump systems – which range from 24V/10KW up to 700V/400KW in power. The PLC logic needed to control such systems is programmed in house and they also provide the sensors needed to monitor the system’s pressure. They also supply smart deck switches and other interface systems such as touchscreen displays.

Allegra’s skipper realised that hydraulic systems performance was limiting the boat’s race results, and tasked Diverse to analyse the existing system and propose an upgrade. Diverse then specified, designed and manufactured PLC control and electrical systems, manufactured a modular power pack, and installed CAN Bus proportional hydraulic valves and custom manifolds. The upgrade has delivered a 250 per cent increase in hydraulic power on board, which is now sufficient for all winches to deliver their maximum performance simultaneously during strenuous racing manoeuvres.

Such expertise obviously doesn’t come cheap – but the cost of an entire system upgrade often ‘only’ costs as much as a new mainsail. Anyone getting serious about superyacht racing might find that this is one of the smartest investments they can make.

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