HISWA Symposium: unrivaled catalyst for superyacht sector

AMSTERDAM – Long before superyachts are shown at glitzy boat shows, their design and features have been perused by a few hundred naval architects, designers and researchers from around the world in a charmless Amsterdam convention hall. There is no greater catalyst for developments in yacht building than the HISWA International Symposium on Yacht Design and Yacht Construction. Held every other year in the margin of the METSTRADE Show. In 2018, it marked its 50th anniversary!

The symposium is a unique event. Yacht designers and builders share projects and techniques with their peers. The symposium’s strength is that “yacht design concepts, not their specific applications, are shared,” says Dutch naval architect Gerard Dijkstra (right), founder of Dykstra Naval Architects whose portfolio spans a vast range of super sailing yachts. “Designers and builders are free to develop their own application.”

The symposium is not for the uninitiated. There were more than a dozen presentations in 2018, ranging from “the prediction of on-board noise propagation” to the “future of battery storage in large yacht system architecture” to “operation-based motion analysis.”
The HISWA Symposium (HISWA is the Dutch marine industry lobby) was started in 1968. It is organized by HISWA Association, Delft University of Technology and RAI Amsterdam organizer of annual METSTRADE show.

Dykstra told the 2018 event that yacht building has benefited greatly in recent decades from a surge in both scientific and commercial research. Development of J Class sailboats was stopped by the 2nd World War,” but its 19902 revival was made possible by new load measuring techniques. Dykstra remembers using a Commodore 64 game console to draw a 38m sailing yacht. This year, Oceanco delivered the Black Pearl, a 106m craft with a towering Dynarig and fishbone masts, designed by Dykstra Naval Architects. Dykstra expects 2 more Dynarig yachts will be launched in the years ahead.

“Our generation of yacht designers has much to thank Delft University of Technology and the HISWA symposium,” Dijkstra to the 2018 symposium. “I cannot wait to be surprised by the next generation.”