A model of the Dutch Tri-floater semi-submersible platform equipped with the NREL 5MW wind turbine has been tested in the hydrodynamic and ocean engineering tank of École Centrale Nantes under wind and wave loads. This paper aims at comparing the results obtained with numerical simulations with these experimental results. The numerical model is based on the FAST design code from NREL and a user defined platform load model for calculating hydrodynamic and mooring loads. This hydrodynamic model includes non linear hydrostatic and Froude-Krylov forces, diffraction/radiation forces obtained from linear potential theory and Morison forces to take into account viscous effects on the braces and heave plates.
First the hydrodynamic model is calibrated against the results of free decay tests without wind. A good agreement is achieved by calibrating mooring properties and heave plates properties of the numerical model. Then a comparison of regular wave cases without wind is realised, and a fair agreement is observed for surge, heave and pitch motions of the floating system. Finally comparisons are realised for regular wave cases with a constant wind speed. A good agreement is observed for the steady state surge and pitch offset. Surge and heave motions also shown a good agreement, these degrees of freedom are not being strongly influenced by wind loading. For pitch motion, numerical simulations show differences around 0.4 rad/s wave frequency, for which model tests have shown a significant influence of wind loading on system motion.