HISWA designers, builders symposium goes online, in new format

AMSTERDAM – The 2020 edition of the biennial HISWA Symposium on Yacht Design and Yacht Construction will be held online Nov. 16-17 under new leadership and in a new format – a mix of scientific presentations and practical applications.

The event’s ‘Dare to Share’ theme stresses the need for the superyacht industry to share know-how that benefits not individual companies, but the global industry as a whole. And to underscore that scientific papers are not a goal in itself, the symposium makes room this year to show how knowledge comes alive in practical applications.

Feadship’s Moonrise

“Companies look for the link between science and application,” says Guilhem Gaillarde, head of SHIPS department at the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN). “Without it, there’s no motivation to share knowledge, innovate or develop new products. That’s why in the new symposium, science is blended with practical topics.”


Heesen Yachts’ Altea

Gaillarde is new at the symposium’s helm. He succeeds Hans Hopman of Delft University of Technology. “As a naval architect, the symposium has always been especially important to me to obtain knowledge from the maritime sector. And to transfer and share knowledge with younger generations,” Gaillarde says in the current edition of the HISWA Magazine. “That stimulates innovation and must remain at the forefront.”

He adds the HISWA Symposium is well suited for knowledge sharing “as it is not commercial, but supported, organized and financed by the industry itself. There are very few symposia in the world like that.”

Damen Yachting’s SeaXplorers La Datcha (foreground) and Anawa (background)

Held every other year, the symposium at Amsterdam’s RAI convention complex,  coincides with the start of the annual METSTRADE show that in 2020 has been canceled due to COVID-19. It brings together the cream of superyacht designers and builders.    

Participants share scientific papers on superyacht design and construction. If the papers are deemed to lack sufficient weight, they are rejected. “It’s how we keep the quality high,” says Gaillarde.

He says sharing know-how is gaining importance, adding, “No party can act unilaterally because the uncertainty – and therefore the risks – are simply too great. So, it is not just about  sharing knowledge, but also risks.”

The symposium program is managed by a scientific panel of representatives of MARIN,  Delft University of Technology and experts from major shipyards and design firms. The Netherlands is a natural home for the symposium. “As a yacht-building country,” says Gaillarde, “we already share a lot of knowledge with one another. We set a good example.”

J-Class Ranger at Vitters Shipyard

Gaillarde says today the global sector seeks solutions to make large yachts more sustainable. The 2020 symposium includes presentations about sailing on hydrogen, research into emission-free sailing, sailing on wings, biofouling, and using preformed wooden panels in yacht construction.