Air-cushion principle

The power of air on water

Combination of a slender catamaran hull design with robust, yet lightweight composite hull material offer high-speed capabilities and reduced vessel motions, resulting in excellent seakeeping capabilities and exceptional passenger comfort.

Unique advantages

All WAVECRAFT ™ vessels are based on the air-cushion catamaran and Surface Effect Ship (SES) design.

  • Shallow draft
  • Fewer wave-induced forces on the hull
  • Damping effect from vertical motion control system ensures a smooth ride
  • In a seaway the vessel behaves more like a much larger vessel
  • Reduced hull friction as vessel is “lifted” up from the water, resulting in very high-speed from generated by the conventional main propulsion system, and hence, ensuring low fuel consumption (litre / nm)
  • High efficiencies deliver reduced environmental impact

Air-cushion catamaran

Advantageous technology

The forward and aft end contain flexible structures denoted ‘seals’. The typical, generic seal setup consists of a multiple-loop, flexible rubber bag in the stern and bow fingers in the forward end.

The hull, seals and the water surface below the craft forms a large air pocket, also called the air-cushion. The air-cushion is pressurized using air flow effectors, typically centrifugal lift fans, which can reduce draft significantly.

Reduced hull friction enables very high-speeds with excellent fuel-economy, contributing to a low environmental impact and overall transport efficiency.

Lift fans

Powerful, lightweight, easy to maintain

We have been designing and manufacturing composite lift fans for over two decades. These aerodynamically designed fans are lighter, more reliable and easier to maintain than fans made of other materials.

Lift fans are essential to the performance of an air-cushion catamaran. The high performance fans are required to blow pressurized air under the vessel, creating an air-cushion, which lifts the vessel higher in water. These large, powerful centrifugal fans actively control and supply compressed air to the air-cushion at a sufficient rate to maintain optimum pressure when the craft is subjected to wave-induced ship motions at all speeds, even very low ones or at a standstill.

Lift power is required to maintain the pressurized air-cushion but the reduction in resistance at high-speed results in less required propulsion power. The overall required power on an air-cushion catamaran is less, compared to the equivalent monohull traveling at the same speed.

Air-cushion technology offers exceptional seakeeping performance, very high speed and a very shallow draught.