J-Class leads the way in powered systems

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C-Designs complete the power and hydraulic systems upgrade of J/Class K-7 Velsheda

During the extensive 2013-14 winter refit of the J/Class Velsheda in Palma, Majorca, the Southampton-based yacht systems manufacturers C-Designs completed a major upgrade to her electrical power and hydraulic systems. C-Designs were tasked by the owner’s team to evaluate the yacht’s existing hydraulic system and to look at ways to increase the speed and power of the deck winches while also reducing weight wherever possible.

C-Designs’ solution increased the available hydraulic flow by some 300 per cent and reduced the weight from the existing power and hydraulic system by 3,000kg. These significant improvements enabled all the required functions, during even the heaviest racing manoeuvre, to operate to maximal performance, helping to gain an advantage around the racecourse. Of further benefit was the weight saving which allowed Velsheda to take more weight in her keel to improve righting moment.

Managing director Nick McGarry gave his take on a relatively novel system: ‘Velsheda’s problem was not unique. Talk of hydraulic systems slowing down and the demand for more flow and line speed seems to be commonplace today, especially among large yachts with professional race crews. C-Designs have been considering this for some time and honing our solutions to find answers that really work. Our latest hydraulic system design breaks the mould of conventional designs by utilising high-voltage DC lithium-ion phosphate battery banks, powering a high-voltage DC hydraulic power pack; this allows us to pack four times the power into the same footprint as a conventional 24-volt system. And there is more to come; we believe we can further develop our ideas on the back of this success.’

article5pic1Top: Velsheda earlier this season at the Superyacht Cup in Palma. C-Designs have provided onboard support at each training session and regatta since the winter refit to gain feedback from the race crew with the aim to further optimise the system as well as gaining valuable data for future projects.

Above: Velsheda’s 72 volt hydraulic power pack

C-Designs supplied a complete repower package that included specification, design and manufacture of PLC control and electrical systems, 72-volt 160kW hydraulic power pack and the specification and supply of 1,200 Ah 72V LiPo battery banks, inverters, chargers and associated power supplies. Furthermore, proportional hydraulic valves, winch motors and variable displacement pumps were included in the upgrade package.

Velsheda recently finished Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, her last regatta for the 2014 season, giving the systems a full workout with great success. Skipper Barnaby Henshaw-Depledge commented, ‘We made the decision to go with the C-Designs solution because it was unique. All the other proposals we saw offered more of the same and we knew we needed a step change to really get to the heart of our issue, which was lack of flow, especially during manoeuvres. As on so many other big yachts the power systems simply run out of steam during periods of high demand, which by definition is always at some of the most critical times during a race. We are delighted with the outcome – the system is fulfilling its promise and we now have all the power to the winches we could wish for.’

Over the past 15 years C-Designs have built a reputation for innovative solutions and designs, having been involved in many prestigious projects with both pure-bred racers and superyacht cruisers. Some of their designs are also now finding their way into the high-end sail cruising markets.

From their Southampton design office in the UK C-Designs combine their three primary specialities, providing integrated solutions in both new build and upgraded systems covering:

  • mechanical design – automated anchor launching, retractable propeller mechanisms, door and bearing systems
  • hydraulic systems – both electrically and diesel powered, with a new PTO sandwich gearbox, due to be unveiled at the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS) this November
  • electrical systems – high-voltage DC lithium-ion and AC solutions with PLC integration including 3-phase and paralleled generators

C-Designs pride themselves on delivering tailored solutions to performance-driven customers, made possible by their in-house expertise. These are capable of providing innovative concepts and designs, prototypes and manufacturing services in collaboration with market leaders worldwide.

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