Reducing onboard motion sickness

By ​​​Dario Bruni, ​Head of Marine Digital Class Solutions, RINA

Without doubt, one of the most important features of a megayacht is to provide owners and guests with exceptional onboard comfort.

For many years, RINA has offered cutting-edge services to measure and control yacht noise and vibration. These two elements are arguably the most significant sources of potential discomfort on a yacht. However, recent developments in this area have brought such issues under control, to yacht owners’ satisfaction.

Another issue, which is now receiving more attention, is the movement of the boat generated by waves in certain weather conditions.

For this reason, a modern megayacht is rarely built without stabilizers. These systems contribute to reducing the roll and pitch of a vessel whether navigating or at anchor.

Stabilizers not only increase comfort dramatically, but also improve onboard safety, potentially expand the yacht’s cruising areas, and can even contribute to decreasing fuel consumption, enabling owners to pursue the most efficient sailing route.

To assist with this issue, RINA has developed a new, additional class notation focused on the wellness of the passengers onboard, and specifically assessing the performance of yachts in respect to motion sickness comfort. The notation will be known as “CONF-STAB”. 

“RINA has a long and consolidated experience in in new technologies applied to the marine sector, and specifically in Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) calculations,” observes Alessandro Grasso, RINA’s Senior Marine Technician and expert in Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) calculation.

CFD is a computational technology that enables users to study the dynamics of “flow”. Using CFD, a computational model is built enabling the user to predict motions and accelerations induced by the waves on the yacht.

This in turn predicts the accelerations suffered by passengers on board in different spaces and locations.

RINA’s system will be further enriched with real-time measurements from sea trials, in order to assess the exact efficiency of stabilization systems. 

Fiorenzo Spadoni, RINA North Europe Region Senior Director, explains: “The aforementioned seakeeping performances will be translated into a rate. This will represent the predicted quality of life onboard with respect to accelerations perceived by the guests, and possible sea sickness effects.

RINA “CONF-STAB” notation will provide shipbuilders with a measurable index of the wellness quality of their yachts, enabling them to refine and improve future motion sickness levels.”

Shining the spotlight on marinas  

By ​​​Alessia Castellana, ​Personnel Product Manager, RINA

While attention is often focused on the yacht and its specifications, clients’ choice of marina remains a key element in ensuring an enjoyable and successful trip.

RINA’s MaRINA Excellence is a third-party certification scheme under which yacht marinas are audited, evaluated and certified to a RINA-set technical standard, in order to help yacht owners choose the most suitable port of call.

This certification takes into account a wide range of onshore elements from port facilities, tourist services and sustainability policies. The scheme aims to help owners choose the marina which best suits their needs by providing a recognizable standard covering all the aspects governing their choice.

As well as the aforementioned services, the scheme also evaluates how well the marina integrates into the local tourist infrastructure, and how well it performs on a number of environmental yardsticks.

Marinas themselves can also use the scheme to benchmark their own performance, identify critical points of operation, and set new operational goals. In doing so, marinas can offer added value to stakeholders, and develop potential new tourist experiences fully aligned with the socio-economic conditions of the region.

Evaluation of the marina is based on a points system, with marks assigned to items on a specific checklist, which are then weighted in terms of significance. 

The overall classification of a marine under the MaRina Excellence certificate is based on the average of the three following areas:

  • Port services: evaluation of the quality and diversity of marina services, i.e. berthing facilities, fuel supply, availability of accommodation for permanent and in transit yachtsmen, provisioning, boat storage, repair yards and charging points.
  • Tourist services: evaluation of the tourist-related activities that the marina and the immediate surrounding area can offer. In this context, the marina is not considered as a stand-alone facility but as a port of access to the territory. 
  • Sustainability: the marina’s commitment to environmental protection and safety. 

MaRINA Excellence also offers several additional class notations, highlighting the unique elements of a marina:

The 24PLUS notation verifies that the port can accommodate larger yachts and megayachts over 24 metres, while the 50 Gold notation indicates boats over 50 metres can be safely moored at the marina.

RINA’s LUXURY notation is an advanced award for those marinas that provide high-level amenities such as, for example, concierge services, large and exclusive spaces, private swimming pools, wellness centers, or a champagnerie.

Finally, RINA’s GREEN notation is awarded to marinas where attention to environmental aspects is particularly marked.

Yacht Codes comparison: a useful tool for the industry

By ​Laura Occhiodoro, Yachting Excellence Centre Managing Engineer, RINA

In the yachting sector, the international Conventions are often not fully, or even partially, applicable to yachts, even when the vessel is operated commercially under charter.

In this scenario it is responsibility of the Administration to clearly define the regulatory framework in which yachts must be built.

The Flag Administration must decide which approach to adopt for the registration of yachts, whether engaged in trade (chartered) or used privately.

Some Flag State Administrations have opted to create their own Safety Code for yachts operated commercially. Here, they have developed solutions similar to the requirements of SOLAS, ILLC and other conventions that are suitable for the yachting sector.

Among these Administrations, a limited number have also obtained IMO approval that their Codes meet the equivalent standard of SOLAS and ILLC for those chartered yachts that would otherwise fall under the scope of the Conventions.

At the beginning of last year RINA has been appointed by the Superyacht Builders Associations to carry out a technical comparison of the 3 most used Safety Codes for yachts: REG, Marshall Islands and Malta. The scope was to evaluate how and where they are similar or significantly different in terms of technical requirements.

For this job the REG Code 2019 (the Rules For yachts engaged in trade carrying up to 12 passengers engaged in trade developer by the Red Ensign Group Administrations), the CYC2020 (the Rules For yachts engaged in trade carrying up to 12 passengers engaged in trade developed by Malta Authority) and MI 103 2021 (the Rules For yachts engaged in trade carrying up to 12 passengers engaged in trade developed by Marshall Islands Administration), with no limitation in gross tonnage have been chosen, being clearly the most used Safety Codes for the newbuilding worldwide.

The focus was on yachts of more than 24meters in Load Line length and all the requirements included in the Codes were compared, the ones normally delegated to the RO, such as structure, weathertight integrity and fire protection but also the ones normally verified directly by the Administrations such as MLC and navigational equipment.

The idea was to show the technical approach to each subject taken by the different Codes and how this influences the building of a yacht of that size.

One of the outcomes of this comprehensive assessment was that for the topics where the Rules of the RO are recalled (structure for example) the 3 Codes were pretty much aligned, while in the typical statutory matters (such as fire protection) some major differences could be found.

This exercise contains also  several new proposed technical solutions based on the merge of the 3 Codes and the shipyards best practice accepted on a case by case basis in the past projects.

We do think this document could represent a really good instrument for the industry in the application of the various yacht codes and it shows the RINA commitment to support the sector in streamlining and making more efficient the regulatory framework without any compromise on the safety aspects.

RINA's Green Committee attracts major stakeholders

By Giorgio Gallo, Yachting Sector Senior Business Development Manager, RINA

In July, RINA held its second annual Italian Superyacht Green Technical Committee in the coastal town of Viareggio, Tuscany.

The Committee was created by RINA to address the technical issues that arise from yachting’s energy transition as the industry moves towards decarbonization. The annual meeting aims to provide a key forum for stakeholders to meet and debate issues, and discuss sector-specific topics related to the ‘Green Transition’.

More than 50 delegates from around the country attended the meeting, and the agenda provided opportunities to share experiences, energy solutions, as well as the technological updates taking place internationally.

This year, the Committee was also opened up to key suppliers in the energy space. Such partnerships will be key to achieving success in the green transition. Saverio Checchi, President of Confindustria Nautica and a board member of GP Yachts Srl, opened the meeting by welcoming participants and praising the initiatives taken by the Italian yachting industry over the past century.

“The history of the Italian yachting industry started a long time ago with wooden sailing yachts, and indeed the creation of the first glass-reinforced boat right here in Viareggio. We are very proud that these great traditions continue today”, said Mr Cecchi.

The latest update from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on the new emission targets of the maritime sector were among the topics covered at the meeting.

Lorenzo Pollicardo, Chairman of the Green Technical Committee and Technical director of Sybass, provided a comprehensive update on the latest IMO news, and also gave an overview of developments in
ISO standards relating to the yacht industry.

Giuseppe Zagaria, RINA’s Marine Technical Director, added a summary of the key meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 80) in July, where international delegates voted to adopt stricter emissions controls.

As mentioned, the Committee this year welcomed important suppliers in the energy space, including ABB, Siemens and Nuvera e Weichai Power Innovation. Delegates from these companies provided the latest news on alternative fuels and yacht electrification, including their experiences with fuel cell and methanol propulsion.

Elsewhere in the programme, Stefano Bertilone, Senior Director at RINA’s Marine Special Ships Business Development, outlined RINA’s long-term commitment to the yachting sector and the range of experts on hand to provide support. This includes of course assistance with digitalization, which has become a fundamental element of yachting.

Digitalization was the focus of the section led by Fiorenzo Spadoni, RINA’s Senior Director for Marine (North Europe Region) and Brandon Kertesz, RINA’s Digital Business Development Manager, who presented a wide range of new digital products. In particular the innovative features of Sertica Yacht that represents the backbone of RINA MAXIMA, brand dedicated to superyacht.

Finally, Laura Occhiodoro, Head of RINA’s Yachting Excellence Centre, presented the forthcoming new RINA Rules for Yachting, which will be available for clients from January 2024 onwards and will simplify substantially the fruition of the technical content organizing it in a better and more efficient format.

The Digitalization of Yachting

By Brandon Kertesz, Digital Business Development Manager, RINA

In response to the growing needs of the yacht industry, RINA has developed a series of Digital Products and Services in order to meet the market’s requirements and capabilities.

The RINA Yachting Digitalization Initiative addresses the challenges arising from the wide-ranging technological advances being made in data collection, communication, and decarbonization. Among the initiatives being undertaken is the expansion of RINA’s pioneering cloud-based yacht maintenance software, Sertica Yacht.

Designed to improve reliability and safety, Sertica Yacht offers a real-time system to plan and manage onboard work efficiently. Sertica Yacht supports operators, shipyards and management companies in their efforts towards achieving sustainability, while still emphasizing the use of data to improve vessel design and operational efficiency.

RINA’s Digital Yachting Products include planned maintenance, fleet management, a digital twin, and performance monitoring capabilities tailored to the yachting sector.

Going forward, Sertica Yacht will have the ability to interface directly with a “digital twin” of the asset, which allows for real-time, on-board and remote access to the performance information of a yacht in its different operational profiles, whether at Berth, On-Anchor or At Sea.

Owners and operators can use data collected on the performance of equipment in each operational profile to finetune operations and optimize functions, thereby improving fuel consumption and emissions, while better managing such elements as electric loads, stabilizers and air conditioning systems.  For their part, Managers can make quick and easy comparisons within their fleets to identify individual areas of improvement. Meanwhile the information collected can help builders and designers to improve equipment performance on future designs.

The Sertica Yacht Digital Twin also aids shipbuilders’ aftersales departments in their support of crews and management companies.

Real-time data allows the yard to quickly identify any problems post-delivery and direct crew to the best resolution. It can also play a key role in crew changeovers, where there are often issues of crew familiarization. Sertica Yacht Digital Twin provides crews with access to the vessel’s visual layout, maintenance history, and tutorials for equipment operation, prior to arrival on-board.

This can significantly reduce down-time and enable crew members to quickly gain an understanding of the vessel.

RINA is upgrading other digital elements under RINA MAXIMA, its specialized digital tool suite for custom megayachts.

New Digitally Enhanced Surveys will leverage the existing data bank of equipment information to generate a complete digital equipment profile of the vessel. This can be updated and maintained throughout the life cycle of the yacht.

First, an in-depth profile is established during the vessel’s construction, which is then subsequently updated at each survey. RINA surveyors will then amend the profile accordingly as equipment is replaced during the life of the yacht.

Chinese yacht industry takes next step

By Fu Guo Chen, Head of Hong Kong & Taiwan Marine, RINA

Yachting is a relatively new sport and lifestyle choice in China. However, it has been gaining in popularity in recent years thanks to the growing number of wealthy Chinese, together with the government’s investment in the development of the country’s water sports industry. This investment has led to the establishment of marinas and yacht clubs in major coastal cities such as Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hainan.

The yachting industry in China is still facing several challenges that need to be addressed in order to grow and thrive. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of awareness and understanding of the sport among the Chinese population. This is slowly changing as more Chinese people are exposed to yachting through international events and the growing number of yacht clubs and marinas.

Another challenge is the high cost of yachting in China. Yachts are expensive to purchase, once the high tariff and maintenance costs are taken into account, and there is little financial support for yachting. However, there are exceptions, such as in the Hainan province, which has a growing market for yacht charters and rentals, making yachting more accessible to a wider range of people.

Despite these challenges, the future of the yacht industry in China looks bright. Having realized the importance of the yachting industry, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Ministry of Transport (MOT), and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) on August 18, 2022 jointly released the Guidelines on Accelerating the Development of Cruise and Yacht Equipment and the Industry (Guidelines).

The guidelines clarify China’s roadmap for the development of the yacht industry through 2025 and set four development goals to achieve in the industry by 2025: improving the design and construction capacity, refining the foundation of the equipment industry, expanding demand in the consumer market, and strengthening cooperation and talent cultivation.

Furthermore, some local governments such as Hainan province in 2021 implemented a zero-tariff policy on the import of vehicles and yachts, under which those registered enterprises in Hainan engaged in the transportation and tourism sectors are exempt from import duties when importing vehicles, aircraft, ships and yachts. 

In July 2022, the Hainan government issued new regulations to promote the development of the yacht industry in the Hainan free trade port. Under these new regulations, overseas residents who work in Hainan and obtain a residence permit are also allowed to apply for yacht registrations in Hainan, as part of the efforts to ramp up yacht sales. 

With this government support, the yacht business in Hainan Province is flourishing. In the first two months of 2023, the Hainan city of Sanya received 291,600 yacht ‘tourists’, up 24.4% year-on-year, according to a report by the Sanya Daily. Up to first quarter of 2023, there are 1,680 registered yachts in Hainan, according to a yacht industry development plan released by Hainan transportation authority, and the number of registered yachts in Hainan is set to hit 2,446 by 2025, and the province’s yacht industry scale will exceed 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) by 2025.

In addition to the demand side of yacht industry, there are also developments on the production side, that is, in China’s yacht building. Over the past decade, the yacht building industry in China has been experiencing growth, and is now emerging as a major player in the global market. Chinese shipyards are gaining a reputation for producing high-quality yachts at competitive prices. In addition to building yachts for the domestic market, Chinese yacht builders are also producing yachts for international buyers. The building industry still faces several challenges, however, such as the lack of brand recognition, and the absence of a mature supply chain.

However, with the government’s support and the growing expertise of Chinese builders, the industry is well-positioned to become a major player in the global yacht building market. As Chinese shipyards continue to invest in research and development, and improve the quality of their yachts, they will be better equipped to build a strong reputation in the global market. RINA is already cooperating with and providing classification services to Chinese builders such as Heysea Yachts and Cheoy Lee Shipyards to support them in their quest to build higher quality and more widely recognized yachts.