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Contest-winning E-FINN hits the water

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Three years ago a contest was held in Atlantic Canada challenging participants to design a high-efficiency fishing boat hull. The winning design from TriNav Marine Design recently hit the water from Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises in Newfoundland.

The first E-FINN hull in the water (contributed)

The first E-FINN hull is a 49' by 28' fishing boat that will be calling Sambro, Nova Scotia, home. "It's a good boat," new owner Harold Henneberry told Navigator magazine, "they did a good job building it. I think she's good and strong."

The 2019 contest put on by Atlantic Canada's Opportunities Agency (ACOA) tasked competitors to conceive a hull that "maximizes energy efficiency, lowers operational costs and reduces greenhouse gas emissions."

19 submissions were made. In 2021 TriNav won the $500,000 prize to further develop their hull.

The E-FINN hull is a much-improved version of what is already in use on the water, so the current fishing fleet doesn't have to make any big changes to adopt it. "We've been at this a long time—I've been doing this for 34 years—and what works is the typical Nova Scotia lobster boat," says Rick Young, Director at TriNav, "it's a great design, it's stable, it's already reasonably efficient, so we took that design and we made it better, basically."

E-FINN bow (contributed)

The fibreglass hull looks familiar but has significant changes. A reverse bow rake fared into the hull means the waterlines run further forward and improve the entry angle of the stem in the water, improving water flow around the vessel and reducing wave-making off the bow. "Instead of building a wave, so the boat's gotta steam up the side of a wave," explains Young, "the wave is moved further aft so the water's more level, so instead of steaming uphill, you're steaming level." In addition there will probably be less pitch as it travels, meaning the boat will travel in a straighter line over time. The hull will have a more level trim, with less up-and-down movement, thus travelling in a straighter line than a traditional hull and using less fuel.

The stern is designed to reduce the breadth of the hull, decreasing water disruption immediately behind the boat and reducing drag. A foiled rudder shaped like an airplane wing also improves water flow around it. Finally, the "clean hull design" means any attachments, like keel coolers or transducers, should be recessed into the hull. Underwater it should be as smooth as possible and can be coated in high-efficiency hull paint to further reduce drag.

E-FINN stern (contributed)

If all TriNav's design recommendations are adopted, the boat should provide its owner 20 per cent in fuel savings. Further adjustments could bring better efficiency.

"If we were to fit that hull with a hybrid propulsion system," says Young, "which is a combination of diesel engines, electric motors and batteries, then we would anticipate an additional 20 per cent in savings. So, that's 40 per cent in savings. That's huge."

Young and the rest of TriNav staff are still studying ways to improve the performance of boats on the water, refining designs and looking at potential new propulsion systems. The E-FINN is one big step toward an efficient future. Two more hulls are already in progress.

"The great thing is that we've initiated a conversation. And the conversation is still going," says Young, "we got to move forward with it, because there's no going back. We really have to move forward with energy efficiency in the fishing industry. And the hull is probably the easiest place to start."

Click here to read about the E-FINN in Navigator Magazine.

Click here for TriNav's website


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