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The Future of Yachting:
Wing in Ground Effect Yachts

 

A new type of yacht offers unlimited seakeeping and long-range
with cruising speeds in excess of 250 knots

 

    Unknown to most mortals and yachtsmen, is a revolutionary technology developed and perfected in Russia during the Cold War era to quickly transport troops and tanks across the water right into an unprepared beach: The Ekranoplan!

   The Ekranoplan or Wing in Ground Effect Ship is an amphibian technology that lies on physical phenomenon that occurs when a wing is operated in very close proximity to the surface. It actually happens every time an airplane takes off and disappears as soon as it gains altitude. - It is that noticeable sudden up-push when the wheels just leave the ground. As the wings exert more pressure into the ground that pressure bounces back, thus generating an extra amount of dynamic lift. This extra lift makes it possible for a craft designed to operate in such conditions to carry twice the weight of a similar sized airplane flying in high altitude and yet be far more fuel efficient, as less power is required to generate lift.


The red area in the picture depicts the Wing in Ground Effect phenomenon

Ekranoplan technology brings new dimension into Yachting
with unmatched speed and comfort at Sea

    For the yachtsmen the technology translates into a complete New World of possibilities. – Imagine owning a 200ft Superyacht that combines very shallow draft, so you can go wherever you want; has amphibian capability, meaning you can ride right into an unprepared beach or ride over ice and snow; that offers unlimited seakeeping, so nobody gets seasick; and can cover large distances at 250 knots with better fuel efficiency than a conventional yacht at 12 knots! Although this may sound like a dream or fantasy, the Ekranoplan makes it all turn into pure reality.


Construction

    Large Wing in Ground Effect Ships are built in lightweight special aluminum alloys that are much thicker than aircraft alloys and resistant to salt corrosion. The sections are riveted and welded forming a very strong structure engineered to withstand the heavy pounding that the wings and main structures are subjected to during take off and landing.


244' (74m) BENTLEY Yachts    Aries (under construction)
Ultra Fast  Superyacht Ekranoplan

    Because Ekranoplan technology is fully scalable, smaller open versions similar to a runabout boat or even personal water crafts can be designed and engineered to carry from one to six riders taking them gliding just above the waves at high speeds with much more comfort and fuel efficiency than its former counterparts. In a near future small Wing in Ground Effect machines may well become the ultimate watercraft on the beach, replacing jet-skis and small boats.

    Although lightweight reinforced composites may be a feasible, but an expensive alternative to build large Ekranoplan Yachts due to the high costs of the materials and complex large molds, they are ideal for series production of smaller recreational Wing in Ground Effect crafts.

    Ekranoplans are built under far more strict safety rules than yachts or ships. They use a combination of Marine Classification Society Rules and Aircraft Codes, but do not require FAA type approval, making its final construction cost about sixty percent of that of a comparable size aircraft


Operation

    Wing in Ground Effect Yachts are amphibious, meaning that they can be operated over water, ice, snow or land.

   The technology represents a real breakthrough in yachting and opens new frontiers, never dreamed possible. As an example, an adventurous yachtsmen and his guests, can within short notice leave any port in the world, quickly cross the oceans in the comfort of his large Ekranoplan Yacht, without even worrying about sea conditions and come to explore Alaska or Antarctica during the winter time by gliding over the frozen ice.

   The unparalleled flexibility offered by this new breed of shallow draft yachts make it possible for 200ft Ekranoplan Yachts to navigate over very shallow waters and, with no restrictions while airborne. They also have the ability to come gliding straight from the water into an unprepared beach, making them the ideal platform to explore remote beaches and uninhabited islands.

Because the Ekranoplan hull and wings form such a large area,
the yacht is over ten times more stable at rest than
a monohull yacht equipped with fin stabilizers.

 

    Large Wing in Ground Effect Yachts of 250 to 400 tons can be outfitted just as a regular Superyacht and have a main salon, a bar area, several staterooms, full galley, gym, office, crew’s quarters, Jacuzzi, etc. In addition they may be also equipped with garages designed to launch one or two tenders and toys, such as jet-skis, snowmobiles and even one or two large cars or SUV’s.

   It is important to mention that although Ekranoplans are amphibian, they are ships and are not designed to take–off or land on airstrips.

   Larger Yacht versions may be equipped with retractable wheels that allow them to come out of the water to dry land on their own power.


192' (58m) BENTLEY Yachts    Gemini@ 250 Knots
Ultra Fast  Superyacht Ekranoplan

    Wing in Ground Effect Yachts are ships designed to stay long periods of time on the water without any damage or corrosion. Although Ekranoplans have shorter wings than comparable sized aircraft, it may be unpractical to dock larger versions in a marina. Nevertheless, considering that large Ekranoplans carry tenders on board, they can be conveniently moored on a bay, river or nearby port. Additionally, contrary to conventional yachts, Ekranoplans may be dry docked where ever an access ramp or beach is available, thus avoiding barnacle build-up and becoming well less expensive to maintain than a Superyacht.

   A large single hydraulic deployable ski is installed on large Ekranoplan Yachts. The unit is used to reduce wave drag during take-off and to slow down the craft when landing.

   Since Ekranoplans operate so close to the surface, there is no need for cabin pressurization. Therefore extra large windows can be incorporated into the designs, offering a unique experience to the riders who can enjoy panoramic ocean views while gliding at high speeds. A feature that aircraft and conventional yachts cannot offer, as planes are simply not designed to fly safely at low altitudes and most Superyachts are outfitted with claustrophobic portholes and can only cruise at speeds between 12 and 20 knots.

   Although it may go unnoticed to most of us, the large and wide areas of the wings of an Ekranoplan Yacht provide for the best combination of swim platforms and sundecks. Unlike a regular yacht that has the sundeck far from the water and a narrow swim platform on the stern, the Ekranoplan wings provide forward and aft, starboard and port access to the water.

They are easier and safer to fly than a comparable size aircraft
and currently do not require any special license to be operated.


   
Extensive training is required in order to operate larger models, which are equipped with an aerospace derived cockpit that incorporates both marine and aircraft advanced instruments, such as radar, radios and a sophisticated collision avoidance system, that not only alerts the pilot of objects in its path, but can be programmed to automatically adjust its altitude and change course.

   Wing in Ground Effect Yachts are designed to adjust their flight height in accordance to sea state conditions, being the only ships with unrestricted seaworthiness. The only operational restrictions are wave height during take-off and landing procedures. A 200ft Ekranoplan Yacht can safely take-off and land in Sea State 5, sea conditions that most large yachts cannot even handle

   Another interesting feature of this type of high-speed craft is its ability to "jump" an obstacle in its path or even fly at high altitudes for a limited amount of time. The larger the craft the higher it can fly and "jump", making it possible for a 200ft Ekranoplan Yacht to cross from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic by simply flying over the Panama Canal, thus avoiding all the locks.

   The "jumping" feature also brings a new level of safety into high-speed yachting, since collisions with smaller and larger ships of any size can be easily avoided.


40' (12m) BENTLEY Yachts  Islander gliding over ice
Ultra Fast  Mini-Yacht Ekranoplan

Propulsion

    Different types of propulsion systems are used in Wing in Ground Effect Yachts. While small open personal crafts can be equipped just with outboards and glide at speeds up to 100 knots, larger faster Ekranoplans must be equipped with air propellers driven by piston engines or specially developed marine gas turbines.

The propulsion system directs large amounts of air underneath the wings, reducing wave drag during take-off and generating the necessary
dynamic lift that sets the craft into Wing in Ground Effect.


    Once the ship becomes airborne in Wing in Ground Effect, just a fraction of the installed power is needed to keep it going at very high speeds.


BENTLEY MARINE 15,000HP turbine with contra-rotating propellers used on the 192ft GEMINI Ekranoplan

 

    While small to mid sized Wing in Ground Effect Yachts may use the same propulsors to take-off and cruising, by adjusting the power as needed, Superyachts of 400 tons such as the 244ft BENTLEY YACHTS Aries require massive power for short periods of time in order to take-off or fly at high altitudes over land. Because turbines do not operate efficiently at intermittent power, it is necessary to install extra propulsors, which are only used during such occasions and shutdown at cruising speeds.

   The extra propulsors also make the Ekranoplan Superyachts very safe as they can be used as back up in an emergency situation.

   While the giant 244ft Aries uses eight turbines for take-off and landing and, between two and four for normal cruising speeds in excess of 250 Knots, the even more efficient 192ft BENTLEY YACHTS Gemini is capable of similar performance with one single tail turboprop. The two forward turbines are only used during take-off, landing and when necessary, for short high altitude cruising.

   Those two large Ekranoplan Superyachts were designed to cover long distances in short times and, for a given distance, they will burn significantly less Diesel cruising comfortably at 250 Knots than a conventional Superyacht of similar size at 12 knots.

   The efficiency of a Wing in Ground Effect Yacht is even more noticeable when it is time for refueling. For instance, an average 240ft Superyacht carries about 200 Metric Tons of Diesel, while the 244ft BENTLEY YACHTS Aries Ekranoplan carries only 80 MT, thus making it considerably less expensive to operate.


Ekranoplan Yachts are the first truly environmentally friendly yachts
as they produce no wake, no smoke, and burn less fuel.


   
Finally, turbines are the most reliable type of propulsors available today. The Ekranoplan marine turbines have a useful lifetime of up to 100,000 hours, while Diesels have a TBO (Time Before Overhaul of just 4000 hours). Turbines are almost maintenance free and have 99% availability and do not need to warm up before they can be fully operated, have instant power response, burn clean without producing smoke and are vibration free. Because turbines use far less parts than a Diesel engine, their overhaul is also much less expensive. Unlike a conventional Diesel Yacht, a turbine powered Ekranoplan can have all its engines replaced in just a matter of hours.

   BENTLEY YACHTS Aries and Gemini are also equipped with state-of-the-art smoke-free and vibration-free mini-turbine generators that simultaneously produce electricity, hot water and air conditioning.


Technology Availability

    Although several companies around the world have been lately involved in the development of small Wing in Ground Effect craft, the military technology to build large and safe functional Ekranoplans remains highly secret and proprietary.

   In its quest to create the ultimate Superyacht, BENTLEY YACHTS, under the leadership and vision of John F. Rodrigues, hired with exclusivity the same scientists, engineers and shipyard that were involved in the design and construction of all military Ekranoplans to build custom Wing in Ground Effect Yachts, becoming the first and only yacht builder to offer such type of Yachts in the world.

   BENTLEY YACHTS Ekranoplans are based on existing and well-proven military designs, including the brand new 244ft Aries, the largest in the world, which is already built and currently available for sale.

 

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J-Star Group   Abdeslam Laraki   Tony Castro      Oliver

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BENTLEY Yachts Hydrofoils    BENTLEY Yachts Ekranoplans

 

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