The stories, videos and photos of the Paul Bieker-designed catamaran Fujin keep flying across my computer screen. It absolutely screams for attention! Paul Bieker designed Fujin, and below provides some very keen insight into his process (plus some very cool flow dynamics images!) We’re honored that Paul shares it.
Despite Fujin’s current residence in the Caribbean, it’s really a Pacific Northwest effort. Owner Greg Slyngstad is well known here for his racing campaigns. And a regular path has been beaten to the Caribbean to get Fujin flying. Jonathan and Charlie McKee, Erik Bentzen, Brian Huse, Scott Smith, Jack Christiansen and Fritz Lanzinger have all been onboard at one time or another.
(Photos have been pulled from Facebook and other sites)
It should be no surprise that there’s been plenty of success on the racecourse. She won the Round the Rock race at the St. Thomas International Regatta and placed a close second in the regatta itself. She tied for first in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta’s Offshore Multihull Class. Unfortunately a slow Caribbean 600 and flight schedules forced Fujin to retire 120 miles from the finish.
We’d love to get some reports from onboard, but in the meantime let’s hear from Bieker, who took time from his somewhat-more-than-full-time responsibilities as Lead Design Engineer with Oracle Racing. Here’s Paul:
Greg came to us after the last America’s Cup asking for a cruising/racing catamaran for sailing in the Caribbean.
We designed the boat with what I think are pretty innovative bow shapes partially inspired by the shapes I saw sailing in Polynesia as a teenager and partially inspired by what I have learned about hull shapes in the 14’s. The lower bow is pretty full and chined to produce more lift and to reduce wetted surface when going fast. We kept the chine angle in profile fairly steep to help insure that it has a positive angle relative to the waterline when trimmed bow down into a moderately big wave (I have found you can “trip” over chines if they are too flat in profile). We used one of our Americas Cup contacts, Len Imas to do the computational fluid mechanics to optimize the hull shape for a range of speeds and trimming moments. The upper bow and freeboard are cut away as much as possible to reduce windage and weight. We gave the rudders horizontal wings to help control pitching. The boat has been sailed with and without them and they seem really effective in settling out the trim of the yacht.
Most of these performance cruising cats are compromised by the weight and windage of full standing room cabin between the hulls. The arrangement of Fujin uses a mid wet deck “pod” to provide headroom for a central low profile community space where the galley, settee and navigation station are located. The private spaces are in the hulls with each hull having a large double berth and head.
We employed another friend from our Americas Cup work, Steven Roberts to do the platform and rig structural design. His structure for Fujin is a step above other boats of the type and hence Fujin is significantly lighter. She is entirely carbon/epoxy/foam structure. The builders, Gold Coast Yachts, did a great job building the boat to the structural specifications and she has proven to be structurally sound.
Now, America’s Cup stuff may have dominated Bieker’s energies for a long time, but I personally feel that his greatest efforts have been in creating innovative dual purpose yachts. Fujin is obviously one, but I’d say Jonathan McKee’s Darkstar is certainly another and my personal favorite is Longboard. Anybody looking for a truly innovative, reliable and structurally sound design would do well to talk to Bieker.
Update: Jack Christiansen of North Sails Seattle, one of the NW luminaries aboard Fujin, just shared some videos: