The unique vessel was developed by a team made up of
aero and hydro dynamists, Formula 1 automotive engineers,
aerospace engineers, and naval architects at Glider Yachts,
a new British yacht manufacturer headquartered in London.
“Traditional vessels run on the surface and have a large
amount of buoyancy forward so they move up and down
with the waves,” explains Robert McCall, managing director,
Glider Yachts. The Glider yacht, which has reduced forward
buoyancy, moves straight through the waves with drag
coefficients and wave response figures far below that of
conventional vessels. This is in part due to the lack of sub-surface appendages and their associated drag.
Dickon Buckland, principal research engineer at Wolfson
Unit Marine Technology and Industrial Aerodynamics, the
organization in charge of verifying the Glider’s unique hull
design, explains, “The concept of traveling at speed in
a seaway, with a reasonable degree of comfort, is best
The Glider yacht was initially sketched in 2007, when
the idea was just a concept. A year later, the company
began developing and analyzing the concept, in addition to
studying its fluid dynamics and mechanics by conducting
extensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
In 2014, after years of testing, the company began
developing the SS18’s aesthetics, as well as assembling
a team to begin construction. This year, after receiving a
second round of investment, they began building.
Exoskeleton Build Kit
British marine engineering company Burgess Marine
is currently in the final stages of building the SS18 at its
Portchester facility in the U.K. The completed vessel will
be unveiled at the Monaco Yacht Show this month, which
begins September 23rd, 2015. The Glider set to debut has
an aluminum hull and superstructure, with a honeycomb
composite sandwich for the main body, tail, and nose cone.
“All of the components were cut to a very high precision on
30 foot by 10 foot sheets of aluminum,” explains McCall. The
process essentially provides a build kit that, when assembled,
forms the hull and superstructure. “The hull is truly an
exoskeleton,” he adds. “It’s incredibly strong and very light.”
Unlike building a conventional boat, which can take up
to two years to build, constructing the SS18 demonstrator
model took about five months to complete. More or less an
assembly, McCall describes the process as akin to that of
building an aircraft.
The final production vessels will take an additional month
or two to complete, and will feature a honeycomb composite
sandwich layup, via various composites, including Kevlar,
carbon, and GRP/FRP (fiberglass). Titanium and ceramics will
also be used for specific components.
According to McCall, the process for constructing the
production vessels will be exactly the same as manufacturing
a Formula 1 Monocoque – the exoskeleton will be heated in
The Super Sports 18 (SS18) luxury acht is 18 meters long, reaches peeds up to 56 knots, is powered
by four, 270 horsepower supercharged
engines, and will cost just over $1
million. What makes it particularity
unique is a raised hull that allows it to
glide over the waves.
the Luxury Yacht
By Melissa Fassbender, Editor