BYD design turns the new Fugu 29 into a lightweight rocket ship


BYD has deployed its skills to create a lethal combination of speed, strength and pure adrenaline in the form of the new Fugu 29 sports RIB. Capable of fast economical cruising as well as turns of speed in excess of 50 knots, this break-out boat owes much of its safety and economy to the technical work of the Palma-based design outfit BYD.

When the Swedish start-up first got in touch with lead architect Tia Simó, the hull shape for the 29ft rocket had already been set in stone. What was missing was the structure to support the high performance PeteStep hull at great speed and under huge loads. Not only that, but the result had to be well balanced and comfortable. It is not a common way to design a boat, but it was nevertheless a challenge that BYD was happy to take on.

“With such a high performance boat, the structure design is very delicate,” explains Simó. “The material selection and mechanical properties take on the utmost importance. One of our main goals was to achieve structural continuity with the large number of steps or interruptions in the hull skins of the boat. Production techniques were also very important, so as to achieve the desired mechanical properties for the designed structure.”

PeteStep is a Swedish business that has designed a patented fast hull form with lower wetted surface than normal V-shaped hull and deflectors that direct spray aft. It results in a quieter, more stable ride with much lower slamming and half the G-force, as well as a third less fuel burn. But in order to see those benefits the design and engineering of the boat is critical.

How BYD designs the best structure

BYD used many of its key disciplines, including a deep-seated understanding of naval architecture and the ability to conduct advanced Finite Element Analysis to design the appropriate structure. This was combined with long experience of the applicable regulations and an appreciation of production methods.

The result is a boat that Simó is eager to take out for a spin. “I haven’t had a chance yet, as it is hard to travel still but I am eager to do so!” he enthuses. “Normally we always test drive our designs, and it is one of the sweetest moments of the process!”

As befits its lethal pufferfish namesake, the Fugu 29 is a lean black monster of a day boat. It totes four Ullman Bulldog shock-absorbing seats complete with flip out foot pedals to make light of rough conditions at speed. There’s a ghost of an aft sun pad and simple interior with a V-berth and an optional heads cubicle. Inboard engine options run up to an 8.2-litre Mercruiser V8 with a whopping 430hp capable of speeds up to 60 knots.

And yet, despite all this, the Fugu 29 offers staggering efficiency – consuming around 1lt of fuel per nautical mile at an exhilarating 40 knots. At a still-respectable 20 knots, range moves out to more than 300 miles. This is the genius of the hull design and the extremely lightweight structure developed by BYD.

“Performance and efficiency are always a balance between a good hull design, structure optimisation as well as arrangement and balance,” says Simó. “When you start adding unnecessary items to the boat the performance gets compromised, so it’s always hard to find the balance when we’re talking about a pleasure craft. I believe we have done so here with great success.”


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