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Rolls-Royce Propels Carbon Fiber into its Azipull

Samantha Fisk
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Rolls-Royce’s latest Azipull Carbon C65 steerable thruster has been designed as a low drag, high-efficiency propulsion system for yachts with key characteristics of course stability and low noise and vibration levels.

To achieve a lighter weight product for vessels where weight distribution and displacement are important, Rolls-Royce has opted to use for the first time advanced carbon fiber epoxy composites for both the steerable leg and fixed inboard components.

Significantly Lighter

One of the main challenges of the latest Azipull was weight reduction, as Gary Nutter at Rolls-Royce explains, “The unique challenge for this product and application was to make it significantly lighter, whilst retaining power output. Working with new materials and developing a brand new supply chain we have managed to develop a unit weighing just 2.800kg and delivering 2MW of power.”

The Rolls-Royce unit recovers swirl energy from the propeller, which increases its thrust capabilities. Routine preventative checks and maintenance instructions are provided to the operators. The shaft seals are replaceable, but no other significant maintenance is required.

Projects with Benetti

Rolls-Royce says that it has now successfully completed the demonstration part of the product development and has been concentrating its efforts on optimizing the product, working in close cooperation with Benetti.

“Our contracts that we signed with Benetti in May ensure deliveries over the next few years for multiple shipsets. We are now in discussion with Benetti about other potential projects as well as initiating conversations with other potential customers to see how we can support them,” adds Nutter.

The yacht used for the demonstrator was Ironman, a Benetti Vivace 125’ series yacht. The Superyacht is 38m with two MTU 16 2000M94, with a power output of 1,939kW each and two Azipull Carbon C65 that have a power output of 2,000kW each.

Photography by METSTRADE/Quin Bisset
Photography by METSTRADE/Quin Bisset

Benetti - Vivace 125' - BF101 M/Y Ironman

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