Breaking the boundaries

Ocean Yacht Systems (OYS) is a British designer and manufacturer of rigging, hydraulic and thruster systems that has for 14 years led the way in marine innovation. Since 1998, it has worked within the superyacht sector to develop bespoke rigging packages for vessels including Hyperion, BMW Oracle Racing, Ghost, and Mirabella V; beginning 2006, the company also diversified into hydraulic cylinder manufacture as a supplement to its rigging solutions. The thruster division was launched the same year as a result of commercial power-driven superyachts vastly outweighingtheir leisure sailing counterparts. Throughout its three business streams, OYS is today a respected name throughout the world.

OYS has supplied rigging to more than 300 high profile superyachts during its lifetime. Packages are available in a variety of materials including lightweight composites such as Kevlar® and PBO, in additional to traditional Nitronic 50 Steel that is recognised as the ultimate in reliabilty for rigging and marine hardware due to its high corrosion resistance and high yield strength.

Managing director Wayne Shatwell elaborates on OYS’ Nitronic 50 capabilities: “Manufactured in cold drawn form, Nitronic is available in coiled form (straight and unstraightened) from four mm to 22mm diameter, and in Rod form between 18mm and 77mm diameter, in standard lengths from seven to 16 metres. OYS is the only company in the world to offer Nitronic rigging to such large sizes and lengths, and still holds title to the world’s largest cold heading press that is capable of forming a rod head termination using 1600 tonnes of pressure.”

A range of hydraulic cylinders that are designed with sleek and appealing aesthetics supports these rigging systems. The 250 Bar range is available in stainless steel, aluminium, and highperformance lightweight carbon fibre to offer vessels optimal efficiency.

The thrusters division has developed into a very strong business of its own over the last six years. OYS has a portfolio consisting of a complete range of bow and stern thrusters for vessels between 30 and 150 metres. This includes fixed tunnel, swing, retracting or rotational units of powers between 20 and 1000 horsepower. A brilliant example of the quality and ingenuity of its thrusters work is on the 67 metre sailing yacht Hetairos, built by Baltic Yachts, which won the Design & Technology category at the 2012 ShowBoat Design Awards.

“OYS were bought in at a relatively late stage in this project,” says Wayne. “Designed for performance and speed, one of the key elements of the propulsion system was to reduce the effect of two of the major enemies of sailing: weight and drag. OYS therefore had to design, engineer and manufacture a propulsion system that could fully retract into the hull when not in use and be as light as possible when compared to alternative sail drive propulsion systems in the marketplace. Reality-wise there was nothing out there in the market. It was a world first.

“The company supplied two 460 horsepower hydraulic swing-down retractable primary dives for Hetairos, the first of their kind. Combined, they generate over 14 knots under power and provide a bollard pull in excess of ten tonnes. The units themselves rotate 260 degrees and are positioned either side on the centreline just aft of the keel, providing incredibly manoeuvrability. Installed in watertight carbon boxes with inspection windows to see the units, it means there is an uninterrupted flow over the hull that is maintained by sideways-opening carbon doors. The units can be detracted and deployed whilst still travelling at up to 15 knots.”

The Hetairos project illustrates OYS’ commitment to push the boundaries of technology, something that has defined the company since the outset. It continues to work on new technologies, with several new products currently underway. This includes the new C-Series compact thruster design for yachts between 20 and 37 metres. A unique linkage layout means it can deploy in a vertical plane without the additional height traditionally associated with such systems. Consistently pushing itself as well, OYS is also launching a vessel system design service that will work on providing yachts with retrofitting of hydraulic and electrical systems.

As an independent and financially stable company, OYS has remained steady throughout the recession despite its core markets being impacted by the crisis. Innovation, experience and a glowing reputation have certainly contributed to this success. Subsequently, with many previously sidelined projects now being picked up again, the company is looking eagerly at the opportunities available to it both within and without the maritime sector.

“I very much want to reposition OYS the brand toward more of an umbrella company offering a broader differentiation of products and services to a variety of industries beyond marine,” Wayne explains. “For example we are currently developing some prototype lift and pitch hydraulic cylinders for a new hypercar, which we are hopeful will turn into a production run over the coming months. There are other automotive projects that we are being asked to consult upon too. This will give us better protection during ongoing uncertain economic times and allow for a mixture of different revenue streams to enable the company to grow.”

As a leading British company, Wayne concludes with a look at the country’s industry and its future: “As one of the smaller companies still flying the flag for British manufacturing, and to stimulate economic growth, I feel the UK government should consider greater support of its manufacturing base. It should place more investment in finding the next generation of inventors and engineers before all the home-grown knowledge and experience moves abroad.”

Award-winning propulsion
World-leading systems
Expanding service portfolio