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Master Draft - Delivered: REICHEL/PUGH-NAUTA 154 NILAYA Is Brilliant

Reichel/Pugh’s latest superyacht flagship, the REICHEL/PUGH-NAUTA 154 NILAYA, successfully completed sea trials on the North Sea and delivered last week. Reichel/Pugh’s four decades of design expertise partnered with builder Royal Huisman's new holistic Featherlight™ construction method has invented the next iconic luxury global cruising yacht capable of podium finishes at the top superyacht regattas. Nauta Design is responsible for general concept, exterior and interior design. Founder Mario Pedol reported back from the sea trials of Nilaya that, “Royal Huisman masterfully succeeded in engineering and building the yacht, fulfilling the Owner’s request in terms of robustness, reliability, quietness - and last but not least amazing performance under sail, thanks to super high level Naval Architecture by Reichel/Pugh Yacht Design.”

Since 1983 Reichel/Pugh has been inventing legends. Earlier Superyacht designs by Reichel/Pugh are groundbreaking and include the iconic yachts 147’ Visione, the Reichel/Pugh-Nauta 112’ Nilaya, the 200’ Hetairos Ketch and the Reichel/Pugh-Nauta 130’ My Song. Visione, Nilaya and Hetairos have each won overall the Superyacht Regatta the St Barts Bucket.

Reichel/Pugh’s Design #283, the Reichel/Pugh-Nauta 154 NILAYA, was a first and very welcome opportunity to work with builder Royal Huisman whose 'Tradition for Excellence' goes back to 1884 and "with a passion for perfection that matches Reichel/Pugh’s decades of yacht design experience," reflects Jim Pugh. "For Nilaya, Reichel/Pugh leveraged the latest CFD Hydro Technologies to further advance performance superyacht design with improved seakeeping and motion characteristics both upright and heeled, answering the owners request for 'a powerful performer with easy-to-helm responsiveness.'"

“For such a large yacht, the acceleration is exciting as she rapidly reaches high speeds,” says Nigel Ingram of MCM Newport, who served as owner’s project manager and was aboard during sea trials. “Twin rudders and the light, positive steering give superb maneuverability and she has reached all her project targets with ease. Rondal’s sailing systems enable fingertip control of the massive loads involved.”

The new Nilaya’s low profile, straight bow, wide transom and twin rudders is a leap forward from the look of her owners’ previous highly successful 112’ blue water cruiser also designed by Reichel/Pugh and Nauta. The 112’ Nilaya recently won her class at the 2021 Superyacht Cup Palma (pictured), and has previously won the Superyacht Challenge Antigua, Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta, St Barths Bucket, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, and Les Voiles de Saint Tropez.

Nigel Ingram of MCM Newport is the owners’ representative for the Reichel/Pugh-Nauta 154 NILAYA as well as the owners’ previous 112’ Nilaya, which he describes as “a really happy boat.” That yacht won nearly every regatta she entered. “The owners wanted a powerful performer with easy-to-helm responsiveness; basically, all the good habits of the last boat, but with more comfort and less noise.” Nilaya, after all, means “blissful home” in Sanskrit.

Throughout the year-long design process, the overall plan for the yacht changed little, John Reichel said, except for becoming one meter longer, the length distributed mostly at the ends. “Weight distribution is critical for assuring comfortable motion on a cruising yacht. We gave the shipyard team a weight study early on, not just for the total but for balance and maintaining the proper center of gravity. “Royal Huisman responded with extensive Excel sheets showing the weight of every element. That’s a process typical of the highest end racing program construction.”

Reichel/Pugh’s top performing candidate designs of both metal and hi-tech composite construction were tested in CFD. The designs were analyzed in real and rated time under the ORCsy Superyacht VPP (velocity prediction program). Beyond conventional CFD analysis, naval architect John Reichel explained that they layered on a sophisticated RANS code analysis to predict underwater turbulence generated by the hull, keel, rudders and propellors. It is the method used to optimize submarine hulls. Finally, the naval architects collected extensive wave data from the owners’ favorite windy cruising grounds and developed new hull shapes to run through the RANS CFD code to improve the seakeeping and motion characteristics of the yacht.

As Reichel/Pugh improves the performance of their superyacht designs, they know it is critical to also improve the seakeeping characteristics in waves both under sail and power. As the powerful sail plan was developing in concert with Rondal and Doyle Sails, running a Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) for the top designs showed that the yacht was shaping up to be an exceptional performer against top scorers in the maxi yacht fleet. The VPP predicts the yacht is capable of exceeding windspeed when reaching upwind with main and jib alone, even in a 10-knot breeze.

The project’s holistic light weight approach makes use of Finite Element Analysis (FEA), a design methodology rooted in spacecraft technology. FEA is a complex mathematical geometric computation used for predicting how a part or an entire product will react under stresses such as load, force, heat, vibration, etc. Being able to look at a part in three dimensions also predicts how the part will react as the same stresses are being applied in its neighboring parts, thus identifying potential weak or vulnerable points that can be corrected in design. Think of it as a kind of digital prototyping but far more accurate and much faster. Solutions can be applied without having to build and test new physical models.

FEA modeling enabled the selection of various construction materials and varied Alustar aluminum plate thicknesses and frame spacing to maximize hull stiffness while minimizing total displacement. The approach was comprehensive, extending to lighting, insulation, and all mechanical systems. All interior structural members benefited from careful weight analysis and utilize lightweight foam coring. This holistic approach narrowed the displacement gap between aluminum and carbon composite yachts.

“Royal Huisman used Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of Nilaya’s 3D model to fine-tune the engineering to “a much higher level,” according to naval architect Jim Pugh, adjusting plate thickness in the computer and predicting longitudinal stiffness or deflection without so much as touching that first piece of material. “Bringing in the mast and sail designers early in the process has significant advantages,” said Jim Pugh. “From the aero CFD side, Rondal and the sail designers shared high quality data about sail forces and sail loads that we integrated into the hydro CFD studies of the candidate hulls. This markedly improved the quality of the CFD hull testing and the resultant performance prediction. The mast and sail loads were then input into the hull and deck’s structural engineering,” said Pugh. “These studies are applicable to any design whether Featherlight™ or heavy, no matter the thickness of the plate or weight of the composite, such a study will yield remarkable results.”

The Reichel/Pugh-Nauta 154 NILAYA superyacht is the first to utilize Royal Huisman’s new Featherlight™ design and production method, achieving its goal of reducing 11% off the weight of its typical advanced aluminum cruising yachts. Royal Huisman’s Featherlight™ method is an evolution of nearly 60 years of aluminum yacht-building experience melded with the latest carbon technology, providing the best of both materials for a no-compromise hybrid yacht.

Royal Huisman CEO Jan Timmerman used the occasion to highlight both the innovative construction methodology and the latest milestone for the Reichel/Pugh-Nauta 154 NILAYA: “The success of the innovations with Nilaya paves the way to use this bold new approach for future builds...The owners deserve congratulations for pushing everyone to achieve just a little bit more and for encouraging innovation at every step. Nilaya will be the world’s lightest aluminum sailing superyacht for her length: she rewrites the script for high-performance superyachts.” The robust characteristics of an aluminum yacht are now a viable option for owners seeking true sailing performance.

The happy owners will be "off to the horizon" this year as the world becomes their oyster.


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