Mooring is one of the key components of a floating offshore wind turbine since the mooring rupture may lead to the total loss of one or even several turbines in a farm.

Even if a large experience in moorings of floating bodies was gained in the oil & gas industry, the renewable energies face new challenges such as reducing the cost as much as possible, reducing the footprint to limit environmental impact or avoid any interference between mooring lines and electrical cables in a farm composed of several tens of turbines.

Those constraints may lead to designs suffering snap loads which shall be avoided as far as practicable or addressed with a particular attention, as this quasi-instantaneous stretching of the mooring lines may lead to very high tensions governing the design.

This paper presents the results of physical model tests and numerical simulations performed on a typical floating wind turbine concept of semi-submersible type. Both qualitative and quantitative comparisons are performed. The objective is to provide guidelines for FOWT mooring designers regarding the selection of the drag coefficient to consider.

A very significant influence of the line’s drag coefficient, on both the probability of occurrence and the magnitude of snap loads, was found. This subject is hereby fully documented on a given case study and general discussions on scale effects, marine growth effects and other parameters are also made.

The numerical simulations were performed using the dynamic analysis software ‘OrcaFlex’.

The experiments have been carried out by Océanide, in south of France.

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