Interview with Will Gassen from Trinity

The Trinity name is experiencing a rebirth. The last iteration of Trinity Yachts dissolved in 2016, and now a new animation of the brand is coming into focus. Azad News-Post had the opportunity to chat with Will Gassen about Trinity and how he will differentiate from the old Trinity and the market today.

ANP: Thanks for your time and being here. So, what’s the first step in charging life into a failed yacht company?

WG: I see 50+ examples of yacht excellence afloat today. I call that success. Trinity Yachts traces its DNA back to the Higgins LCVP, the World War Two landing craft that took the beaches of Normandy in 1944. Hailed by Presidents and sailed by Royalty, Trinity enjoys a lineage of superior engineering and global acceptance.

ANP: So how will you approach the market today?

WG: There are three areas that we are focusing; One: Hull material, and what is the best application for a given task. Today we see we see hulls of steel, aluminum, carbon, GRP and composite materials. And these materials all behave differently. Two: Fluid Dynamics – Hull Performance. Advances in technology are having a dramatic impact on computational fluid dynamics, boosting our understanding of water flow around hulls and underwater appendages, leading to significant improvements in performance and efficiency. Three: Quite – Noise & Vibration.

ANP: Sounds like expensive science.

WG: I see it as the design and exploitation of quality. The design is integral to preparation, and victory loves preparation. The better quality in design and preparation, the more economy is achieved in operation and ownership.

ANP:  The demand for a quiet yacht, is driven by owners that are building bigger, heavier, more luxurious and more complex.

WG: I would say more complicated, not more complex. Complex systems are diverse, interdependent, connected, and adapting entities, which typically are unpredictable, robust, novel, and produce large events. Yet, are able to withstand unusual trauma and environmental variation and still hold together. This opposed to complicated which is neither interdependent or adaptive. A watch is complicated, yet it takes but only one element to falter for the entire system to fail. A yacht then is also complicated. It takes but only one element to falter, and she’s bound to the quay or in line to be hauled.

ANP: What is your solution?

WG: Less moving parts. Better design and craftsmanship.

ANP: What is the solution to quiet?

WG: At first glance, this issue looks simple and straightforward: the less energy transmitted into a yacht’s structure, the less noise and vibration will radiate into interior spaces. Air-borne noise is typically remedied with high-tech insulation materials. Energy travels long distances through the structure of a yacht. So, it is important to design the structure stiff enough to avoid any vibrations. Propulsion systems require the softest mounting systems and the stiffest foundation. Noisemakers; engines, drive train, generators, gearboxes, props, and thrusters, each should be set and tuned properly. Air-conditioning system’s compressor, cooling lines and pumps set on vibration isolation mounts. Cavitation can create noise that will travel throughout the hull. Here we employ six or seven-bladed propellers that are balanced dynamically, not statically. On a plaining hull, propeller-hull clearance should equal 25% of the propeller’s diameter to be effective, whereas on a full displacement hull 35% to 50% will give good results.

ANP: What about hybrid propulsion systems?

WG: I like the idea. We are investigating and testing systems now. But you must attend first to the basics.

ANP: So, what about hull material? What can we expect in a Trinity hull?

WG: We have three divisions, the Trinity Coastal line produces an Ax Bow 60’ Open Runabout, an 85’ RPH, a 100’ Sport, and the 120’ RPH. These are production boats laid in fiber-composites. These hulls are built with an extraordinary ridged structural foundation, employing a tight rib/stringer grid system that runs; bow to stern, gunwale to gunwale. Our hulls are solid, no wood or foam sandwich insert anywhere in these hulls. We build a series of convex and modified-V hulls that provide the best of both designs. These hulls deliver a sharp entry and a soft, stable ride, and feature a double chine with hull side “step-outs” to help reduce spray while increasing the beam above the waterline. We forgo the bleeding edge technology and complicated systems for our colleagues in Italy. Trinity Coastal’s are built with proven… some may say pedestrian… mechanical components. We know this is the best path to maintain the highest performance and utilization, lowest maintenance and ownership cost, with the assurance that the boat will get you out to sea and home safety every time.

ANP: No alloy here? Are you testing different materials?

WG: You know, I would like to see one of the Trinity Coastal yachts built in aluminum. Critics scoff at aluminum under 30 meters. I don’t agree. With proper fairing and paint, the cosmetic finishes are indiscernible.

ANP: Are you building anything with aluminum of steel today?

WG: Aluminum yes, steel no. Trinity Blue…

ANP: What is Trinity Blue?

WG: Trinity Blue is the Trinity division building boats in the 50 meter to 75-meter range.

ANP: All aluminum?

WG: Yes

ANP: Why? – When are most building steel hulls and aluminum top-sides?

WG: The U.S. Navy exhaustively tested aluminum designs, and selected aluminum for its mixture of performance, reduced operating costs, and improved capabilities. Aluminum allows weight saving, giving an increase in speed or range.

ANP: Military vessels have different missions than personal, pleasure boats and ships, right?

WG: A builder of a 200 ft or larger vessel has a prime purpose in designing and delivering a strong, ocean-going vessel with sea-going safety and comfort.

ANP: and you can achieve this with aluminum?

WG: There is also a tendency to think a composite vessel is more comfortable, due to temperature and noise abatement. And, some argue that composite boats are better faired, but really, as long as experienced designers and yards with superior craftsmen are employed, these are no longer valid arguments. The truth is that there are no noticeable differences in the owner’s experience, be the vessel GRP, aluminum or steel, provided it is well designed and built.

But, unlike steel, aluminum does not rust when exposed to the marine atmosphere. Aluminum is painted for cosmetic reasons only. A steel boat must be protected. As a result, a well-designed and built aluminum hull has an almost infinite lifespan. Aluminum is a very cost-effective means of construction. It is light, and easy to cut. An aluminum build is also more controllable, vis-a-vis the complex demands of various classification standards.

I could go on in detail about the advantages of aluminum: lightness, strength, stability, and price but I would rather talk more about Trinity.

ANP: And we would certainly like to hear more, but unfortunately, we’re out of time.  We would love to have you back… could you do that? Could we schedule some time for a longer discussion?

WG: Sure, of course.


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