High speed planing craft as a unique vessel type play key commercial roles in niche passenger ferrying and high value cargo transport. In addition, they are used to support several critical maritime activities such as coastal surveillance, reconnaissance, and life-saving operations and many recreational pursuits. Formal optimization frameworks, despite their significant use across a range of domains, have rarely been proposed and developed to deal with the design challenges of high speed planing craft. Highlighted in this paper is an optimization framework drawing on both domain dependent and domain independent elements for the conceptual and preliminary design of high speed planing craft. A summary of the principal components of the optimization framework are presented, followed by several case study examples. The solvers developed and employed are classified as being population based, evolutionary and stochastic in nature. These characteristics are well suited to design space exploration in all engineering and decision making contexts.
Within the case studies presented, the sample key performance indicators include calm water resistance, resistance in waves, seakeeping and manoeuvring. The concept of scenario-based hydrodynamic design optimization is introduced using an example of a small rescue craft operating in a predefined sea-state. Finally, a multi-objective optimization case study considering total resistance, steady turning diameter and vertical impact acceleration is presented to demonstrate the capability to explore trade-offs while at the same time providing an understanding of the design intent of a basis ship. This work has significant purpose and relevance in both ab-initio and reverse engineering contexts. It also has natural extensions in both depth of analysis and breadth of application.