Addressing the elusive issue of comfort onboard

In a world that brings pretty much anything to you at the press of an app, we are often asked why it is so difficult to assess

comfort onboard a yacht. Enrico Della Valentina,


hat the assessment of comfort onboard is not an easy task is also shown by the fact that there is no

industry standard as yet. This problem has already been identified by the International Organization for Standardization and a new working group (ISO (TC8/SC12/WG 5 AWI 22834) led by MARIN is aiming to develop a comfort standard for yachts in the next three years.

ISO Comfort standard On a parallel track, MARIN has initiated the dedicated Joint Industry Project “Comfort”, which will develop tools, and obtain and analyse data related to comfort levels. This JIP aims to obtain comfort criteria that not only give a numerical value but also include the human interpretation of this comfort level. These criteria can then be applied when designing new ships. We are still looking for

participants, so please get in touch if you would like to join.

After many years of research we know that a ship’s size does matter (the bigger the better), that the longitudinal weight distribution (figure 4) plays a more important role than the shape of the bow (figure 5), and that men and women react to the same stimuli in different ways and that this changes with age. We also understand that the most “comfortable” area is often located at a third of the ship’s length from the stern.

New frontier There is more understanding about the important role the ship’s parameters play and about which actions the captain should take to make the yacht more comfortable. The new frontier of MARIN’s research is combining our hydrodynamic knowledge with active control systems and

Figure 1: Seasickness sensitivity factor as function of age (left); sensitivity factor as function of exposure (right)

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