Solico Delivers Lightweight Composite Engineering Package for the Aeolos Composites Performance 30

The Aeolos Performance 30 (P30) is a lightweight carbon racing yacht, optimised for single and double handed sailing that was conceived by Aeolos Composites’ founder Hans Genthe during the Covid-19 lockdown in Dubai in summer 2020. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the project was completed entirely remotely. 

In early 2021, Aeolos Composites commissioned Solico to review and optimise the existing structural design, define laminate lay-ups, and perform the structural verification (according to ISO 12215) of the P30 hull, deck, coach roof, bowsprit, keel, and rudder.

Carbon fibre materials were a key part of the P30 design concept, minimizing weight and producing a simple, light, and fast yacht. Solico worked with the ISO 12215-5 material properties, along with preferred carbon fibre formats readily available to Aeolos, to conduct a detailed FEA analysis of the components and reduce structural weight to a minimum. The P30’s hull, deck and internal structure were completed first, after which the focus shifted to appendages and additional structures.

One of the novel features of the P30 is the cleverly hinged carbon fibre bowsprit that allows bows to mooring in European marinas that do not permit a bowsprit over the dock. Large enough to project the yacht’s downwind sails well clear of the foretriangle, but able to pivot upwards after sailing, the slender tapered composite sprit provided challenges for the engineers. Several iterations were required to define the final structure that could support gennaker luff loads and satisfy the critical buckling load cases without adding additional weight at the bow of the yacht.

The P30 uses a completely unique full composite construction for its keel, a novel solution which pushes the design limits to new levels. The composite keel structure will be put through extensive tests during the sea trials to ensure maximum performance and uncompromised safety.

Solico also produced a full construction drawing pack detailing laminate sequences and additional reinforcements required around all highly loading fittings, such as chainplates, winches, and sail tracks, which had been considered in the structural verification. 

Whilst the Solico engineers would typically like to visit the client and shipyard before and during the build, engineering the composite structures of the Aeolos P30 during the pandemic necessitated an entirely online approach. With a suite of digital tools in place, design review meetings, interim and final reports were managed seamlessly, with both Solico and Aeolos commenting on how well the communications flowed, despite the thousands of kilometres between the Netherlands and the UAE.

“The P30 has been a great project to work on,” commented Matej Prevc, Lead Engineer, Solico. “We often note that some of our marine projects have further weight saving potential which, due to more conservative design considerations driven by specific vessel class regulations or other commercial factors, we are not able to exploit. The P30 was a fantastic opportunity for the team (many of whom are sailors themselves) to really push the boundaries and develop a fully weight optimised carbon structure, maximising performance on the water.”

With P30 hull #1 finished and painted, fit out underway and the yacht due to hit the water in the very near future, the Solico team will be eagerly awaiting feedback from the first sea trials in Dubai. Several more P30’s are already in build with Aeolos Composites looking forward to expanding the class both locally in the UAE as well as in Europe.