Marine Applications

Marine applications have included Lifeboats and other Fast Surface Craft, Luxury Yachts, High Performance Racing Yachts, Naval Vessels and Submarines.

Our sensor interrogation units are very well suited to this type of application where high performance and reliability are absolute requirements in very demanding environmental conditions. Their very low power consumption is also advantageous on race boats where there may be a high reliance on battery power.

We have developed a range of sensors and installation methods suitable for virtually all key structures including hull, mast, keel, movable foils and standing rigging. These range from surface bonding of composite patches, to direct embedment of sensors in the laminate during lay-up. For the majority of structures, sensor installation can be carried out quickly and simply with minimum impact on the build programme.

Key Benefits

High Performance Yachts

  • Verification of design loads (particularly dynamic loads which can be difficult to predict)
  • Performance enhancement, both during competition and during set-up and tuning
  • Long term structural health monitoring Mitigating the risk of overload and structural failure during competition

Fast Surface Craft

  • Monitoring of slamming loads (our AE-3030 high-speed acquisition system is particularly well suited for this)

Large surface vessels

  • Monitoring of hull stresses due to sea conditions and cargo distribution (typically using long gauge length sensors)

Measuring loads in racing yacht foils to optimise performance



Fibre-optic sensors embedded in race boat foils can be used to measure the lift, drag and horizontal force generated by the foil in real time and so can be a valuable aid to boat tuning and set-up

Ever since the 34th Americas Cup competition in 2013, fibre-optic sensors have been routinely embedded in racing yacht foils. Mostly the measurement data has been used to verify the FEA models and confirm typical static and peak dynamic loads. Real-time data has also been used to help avoid overload and breakage during competition. This real-time data can now also be used as an aid to boat tuning, enabling the optimum foil rake or angle of attack to be determined for different points of sailing and wind strengths.

Fibre-optic structural monitoring is now a very well established technology that has been operating in industrial environments for the last 15+ years. Sensor embedment, installation techniques, and ruggedized optical connector and cabling ensure system longevity in the marine environment.  The advent of larger and more highly stressed foiling structures highlights the need for structural monitoring of the foils where designs have pushed closer to the structural limits of the materials.


Maltese Falcon Mast Load Monitoring System



Epsilon Optics have been working with Magma Structures to deliver integrated mast load monitoring systems on their ‘state of the art’ carbon fibre masts. Field proven industrial automation technology and industry standard communication interfaces are used throughout in order to achieve robustness, high reliability and ease of long term system support. The systems are integrated with the vessel’s own sensing and management systems to provide real-time load monitoring for the operator on the bridge. This not only ensures that the yacht is sailed within the operational capacity of the masts, but can also assist in optimising the sail trim by providing key performance data such as leeway and driving forces for each mast. In addition to real-time load monitoring, all the data is stored in conjunction with other essential vessel sailing sensor information. This enables analysis of the complete load history of the masts and provides on-going assurance of their structural health. Utilising the data to conduct a historical fatigue analysis can extend the lifetime of the masts and can, in theory be used in conjunction with the insurance companies to avoid or extend the periods between mast stepping and testing.

Alex Thomson Racing

Hugo Boss Foil Monitoring



Epsilon Optics has been working closely with Alex Thomson Racing to provide real-time monitoring to help verify the structural performance of the foils generating crucial data to feed into the next designs. This has required provision of high speed data acquisition and the installation of a number of strategically placed FBG sensors. The sensors have to be compact, lightweight and sufficiently rugged to withstand the harsh environmental conditions experienced on racing yachts.

Rambler 88

Rambler 88 Keel Monitoring



The keel is probably the most critical structure on a modern race boat, as failure can mean instant capsize and an acute risk to crew safety. Epsilon Optics has supplied a fibre-optic strain sensing system to Rambler 88 to enable continuous strain monitoring of the canting keel. This generates a complete load history which, supplemented with regular NDT inspection, helps ensure the continued integrity of this critical and highly stressed component.

Americas Cup Oracle Racing

Oracle Racing - hulls, foils and rig monitoring



Epsilon Optics provided all the fibre-optic strain sensing for Oracle Racing during their last two successful America’s Cup campaigns. Virtually all critical structures were monitored including hulls, foils and rig, providing vital feedback for the designers and reassurance for the sailing team. This involved working very closely with the design and build teams in order to meet the tight deadlines and rapidly changing requirements.

Design and implementation of complete fibre optic sensing solutions