1985: Schilling® VecTwin Rudders for the "Belard" Ro/Ro vessel.


The “Belard” was launched in April 1979 as the “Mercandian Carrier” for service in Danish waters for owners Merc-Skandia KS of Copenhagen. As built she was fitted with a single, fixed-pitch propeller and spade rudder. In 1985 P&O’s freight division (Pandoro) purchased the vessel with the intention of operating her on their Belfast (Northern Ireland) to Ardrossan (Scotland) freight service. Ardrossan is a notoriously small and difficult port with a sharp 100-degree turn to negotiate astern immediately after the port entrance.

Consequently, it was recognised that the existing rudder arrangement would not provide sufficient manoeuvrability to operate safely in the prevailing tidal and wind conditions, so as part of an extensive upgrade to the vessel it was decided to fit the innovative Schilling VecTwin system. The VecTwin system consists of twin asymmetric Schilling high-lift rudders operating independently behind the single fixed-pitch propeller. Various joystick controlled combinations of rudder angles allow full 360° vectoring of propeller thrust. All manoeuvring commands are made without reversing the rotation of the propeller, thus minimising wear on the main engine and gearbox.

The installation of the VecTwin system made her so manoeuvrable that it was claimed by the owners that she could manoeuvre 15kn ahead, 8kn astern and 5kn sideways, all using a single fixed-pitch propeller rotating ahead at all times. “Belard” was also now able to operate fully at Ardrossan without tug assistance at wind speeds of up to 40kn.