The sea trials provided the first taste of how the innovative new hull performs in a variety of trim, load and sea states. Hi-tech data acquisition techniques were employed, with the results providing an invaluable basis for future development work. As befits a project that merges both marine and automotive worlds, many of the techniques used, including automotive-style data acquisition, have their origins in motor racing.
SAM Engineering Director Giorgio Stirano, who has run Formula One motor racing teams, said: "Boats are not racing cars but to use F1-style telemetry for data logging makes a great deal of sense. With equipment such as accelerometers and gyroscopes, along with GPS positioning, we have been able to build up a good picture of the boat's abilities."
The prototype used in the sea trials is an open hull and lacks the distinctive superstructure, with its many new design features, of the finished yacht. The trials included an offshore "racing circuit", complete with virtual corners, so that comparable lap times could be taken to gauge how different set-ups affected the boat's performance, handling and comfort.
Helmsman for the first trials, SAM Global Marketing and PR Director Paolo Bonaveri, said: "The hull is very new and different in terms of its profile and in certain sea states it impressed us greatly for its manoeuvrability and comfort. "We liken our motor yacht to a Granturismo motor car: dynamic but with great comfort and luxury, and the trials showed we are on the right course."
The sea trials provided an opportunity to fine-tune the propulsion system and assess the boat's capabilities in different conditions, and in particular its ability to stay "dry" at its projected cruising speed of 30 knots. The sea trials are expected to continue into the next months.
Jacopo Spadolini concluded: "We are not looking for ultimate speed but all-round performance with great comfort and ease of handling. Our testing shows we are on the way to achieving it but we recognize there is a lot of work still to be done."
Designs and video simulations of the first Silver Arrows Marine yacht were first displayed at a special presentation in Monaco at the time of the Monaco Boat Show in September. More details of the yacht's innovations and unique design, the result of a SAM partnership with Mercedes-Benz Style, will follow soon.
Ron Gibbs, Silver Arrows Marine Chairman, said: "The success of this important first step in the development process means the SAM motor yacht is on its way. The hull has shown what it can do, now the focus can shift to the superstructure. We have a great deal still to do but I am confident the first SAM prototype is progressing well."