Maneuvering is an important safety aspect in ship operations so as to avoid accident of ships in seaways and more critically in the restricted area of waterways. IMO stipulates many safety regulations on ship maneuverability in open sea conditions and the local authorities may have additional regulations in harbor, canal and other restricted waterways. The effectiveness of rudder has substantial influence on the maneuverability of a ship. It is often difficult to increase the size of the rudder, to get higher control force/moment, due to the geometrical restrictions of the aft aperture of the ship. A hydrodynamically efficient rudder section addresses this problem to some extent. Most of the fishes maneuver efficiently using their tail. The fish tail functions almost similar to that of a rudder for its movements and navigation. In general, ship with flap rudders and fish tail shaped rudders perform maneuverability better compare to a ship fitted with a conventional rudder having the same underwater surface area. In fishtail shaped rudders, the shape and movements promote good flow patterns in a wider range of rudder angles. In a fish tail, the trailing edge accelerates the flow and recovers lift over the aft section of the rudder. This results in the generation of a higher lift and thus helps in reducing the turning diameter of the vessel.

The studies carried out with two rudder types — conventional rudder and fish tail shaped rudder — are presented in this paper. Numerical simulations are performed on these two rudders, both having the same surface area, for different rudder angles in free stream condition. The lift force generated by the fish tail shaped rudder is found to be higher than the conventional rudder. The flow across and the hydrodynamic forces acting on the sections are determined using a commercial CFD code. The effectiveness of the fishtail rudder is also brought out from the numerically simulated turning maneuver of a chosen ship fitted with the same rudder.

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