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Homes where you can live under the sea

Homes where you can live under the sea

Underwater hideouts may be the domain of James Bond villains and Gerry Anderson's Stingray puppets but people in the real world are also dreaming about living at the bottom of...

03 Sep 2014 Thunderbird 2

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These Dudes Made a Boat Out of Plastic Bottles… Now They Are Sailing Over 500 Miles!

These Dudes Made a Boat Out of Plastic Bottles… Now They Are Sailing Over 500 Miles!

Jan Kara, 22, a student, and mechanic Jakub Bures, 21, like many of us, are tired of seeing pollution all around the world. In their Czech town of Nymburk, the duo...

20 Aug 2014 Thunderbird 2

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A superyacht-friendly submersible

A superyacht-friendly submersible

Tired of being told that the recreational submersible you want is too tall to fit into your superyacht? Dutch submersible manufacturer U-Boat Worx knows how you feel and is launching...

05 Aug 2014 Thunderbird 2

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Life-Saving Luxury Raft Turns Sea Water into Drinking Water

Life-Saving Luxury Raft Turns Sea Water into Drinking Water

Dangers of the ocean are well documented: sharks, storms with gargantuan waves, seasickness and, if one’s boat has sunk, swimming for shore through a mine field of stinging jellyfish or...

15 May 2014 Thunderbird 2

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Turkish team set to compete in Volvo Ocean Race

Turkish team set to compete in Volvo Ocean Race

A group of young dashing racers are training and going through their paces in Lisbon’s harbor these days. There is sun, good wind and a magnificent boat to sail –...

06 May 2014 Thunderbird 2

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Suspension-packing 2Play catamaran smooths out rough seas

Suspension-packing 2Play catamaran smooths out rough seas

Water may seem soft enough when you're in a bathtub full of the stuff, but as anyone who has smacked across the waves in a speeding motorboat knows, it can...

02 May 2014 Thunderbird 2

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Brilliant Boats in Superyacht Magazine

Brilliant Boats in Superyacht Magazine

An article about  us in Superyacht magazine. CLICK HERE to download the PDF version.

16 Apr 2014 Thunderbird 2

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Brilliant Boats' Thunderbird 2

Brilliant Boats' Thunderbird 2

An article about our Thunderbird 2 in Yachts International magazine, April 2014 issue. CLICK HERE to download the PDF version.

16 Apr 2014 Thunderbird 2

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The Mast Walk

The Mast Walk

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28 Mar 2014 Thunderbird 2

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Watch a large ship getting deformed from the inside in a heavy storm

Watch a large ship getting deformed from the inside in a heavy storm

On the left, a ship in a heavy storm as seen from the deck, going through giant waves. On the right, a ship in a heavy storm seen from a...

26 Mar 2014 Thunderbird 2

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The Flying Phantom: US$40k sailboat levitates two feet above the waves

The Flying Phantom: US$40k sailboat levitates two feet above the waves

“It’s like removing the handbrake – suddenly everything gets smoother and faster in pure silence.” This gravity-defying US$40k catamaran rises completely out of the water at speed on a pair...

11 Mar 2014 Thunderbird 2

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Amphibious trimaran is made for more than just water

Amphibious trimaran is made for more than just water

Here's one you might not have heard before ... Whaddaya get when cross a hovercraft, an airboat and a pontoon boat? Give up? An ATASD, or Amphibious Trimaran with Aerostatic...

24 Feb 2014 Thunderbird 2

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5 security measures that every yacht owner should take

5 security measures that every yacht owner should take

Sailing the open seas can be one of the most thrilling endeavors that anyone takes on, however even the most experienced sailor will warn you about the great risk that...

19 Feb 2014 Thunderbird 2

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Thunderbird 2

Thunderbird 2

Thunderbird 2 has launched in Antalya Free Zone, Turkey! Brilliant Boats and BB Yacht are proud to announce the launch of Thunderbird 2. Fans of Gerry Anderson will understand immediately what this...

03 Feb 2014 Thunderbird 2

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Discovery Channel: Superyachts (5 episodes)

Discovery Channel: Superyachts (5 episodes)

The Discovery Channel visited some superyacht builders in the Netherlands and give some insights of the high quality superyacht building. Here are five of six episodes. Enjoy!   Balk Shipyard {youtube}vM6qt_hd9E8|700|450{/youtube} Hakvoort {youtube}T4ozSE_meFM|700|450{/youtube} Vripack 1 {youtube}i2ez55KJRfQ|700|450{/youtube} Vripack 2 {youtube}oOze8e65--k|700|450{/youtube} Icon Yachts {youtube}IwjwvlI3jwM|700|450{/youtube}

16 Jan 2014 Thunderbird 2

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Wokart: The 70 km/h go-kart for the water

Wokart: The 70 km/h go-kart for the water

The Wokart is a featherweight asymmetric catamaran with a centrally-located 70 hp outboard motor that's designed to have the driving characteristics and low power-to-weight of a go-kart. The automotive seating and...

10 Dec 2013 Thunderbird 2

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Rolls Royce to design ship that carries fish as passengers

Rolls Royce to design ship that carries fish as passengers

Building a ship to carry fish as passengers may seem like a phenomenal case of missing the point, but Rolls-Royce has signed a £5.8 million (US$9.5 million) contract to design...

09 Dec 2013 Thunderbird 2

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The Biggest Ship in the World Has Floated For the First Time

The Biggest Ship in the World Has Floated For the First Time

The Emma Maersk was dethroned as the world's largest seafaring vessel this morning when this ship, longer than the Empire State Building, left its dry dock in South Korea for...

06 Dec 2013 Thunderbird 2

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Manta Resort offers a private island where you sleep beneath the waves

Manta Resort offers a private island where you sleep beneath the waves

Underwater accommodations seem to have become a trend among hotels in recent years, but a resort off the coast of Tanzania is now putting a unique spin on the concept. The Manta...

21 Nov 2013 Thunderbird 2

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Stunning night images of a nuclear ice breaker in the middle of nowhere

Stunning night images of a nuclear ice breaker in the middle of nowhere

Sergey Dolya took some incredible photos in an expedition to the North Pole on board a RussianArktika-class nuclear ice breaker. In the words of Buzz Aldrin, "Beautiful, beautiful. Magnificent desolation." By the...

08 Nov 2013 Thunderbird 2

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Jet Capsule Miniature Luxury Yacht

Jet Capsule Miniature Luxury Yacht

Although by definition, it’s not technically a yacht, the Jet Capsule aims to bring the same luxury experience on the water (with family and friends) through a much smaller, more maneuverable solution. Designed...

24 Oct 2013 Thunderbird 2

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Costa Concordia operation could spew toxic soup of rotting food and chemicals into sea

Costa Concordia operation could spew toxic soup of rotting food and chemicals into sea

There are fears that the operation could pollute the pristine waters of Giglio, the Italian island where the ship capsized last year. The Costa Concordia was at the start of a week-long cruise...

16 Sep 2013 Thunderbird 2

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World's largest solar-powered boat cruises into London

World's largest solar-powered boat cruises into London

It is one of the most iconic ports in the world, the dramatic backdrop to everything from ancient Roman sailing ships to World War Two military vessels and gas-guzzling speedboats. Now...

09 Sep 2013 Thunderbird 2

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Billionaire death race: inside America's Cup and the world's most dangerous sailboat

Billionaire death race: inside America's Cup and the world's most dangerous sailboat

Capsized yachts and a sailor’s death cast a pall over this week’s finals The finals of the 34th America's Cup are days away, but they will take place in the long shadow cast...

05 Sep 2013 Thunderbird 2

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Thursday, 05 September 2013 08:55

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Capsized yachts and a sailor’s death cast a pall over this week’s finals

The finals of the 34th America's Cup are days away, but they will take place in the long shadow cast by the events of May 9th. On that morning, sailing in the high winds of the San Francisco Bay, an enormous catamaran capsized while making a turn. The 72-foot boat, which can sail faster than the wind, splintered into pieces as its towering sail hit the water. Andrew Simpson, a 36-year-old sailor aboard Sweden's Artemis Racing AC72, was trapped underneath the boat for 10 minutes. When medical crews reached him, he could not be revived.

The finals of this year's America's Cup begin September 7th. Defending champion Oracle Team USA, led by billionaire Oracle founder Larry Ellison, will take onEmirates Team New Zealand. The teams have spent more than $100 million apiece, employing hundreds of people, to build the fastest sailboats the race has ever seen. But Simpson's death, which came seven months after the dramatic capsizing of an Oracle sailboat, dredged up the question that has dogged the AC72 ever since it was announced as the official yacht class for the race. Is it too fast to be safe?

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Speed demon

At a relatively lightweight 13,000 pounds, with a sail that stretches 131 feet into the air, the AC72 is built for speed. "The goal was to make and design an exciting boat — something that looks like a fast and amazing machine," says Joseph Ozanne, who helped design the AC72 for Oracle. In 2007, America's Cup yachts had an average top speed of around 10 knots, or 11.5 mph. This year, the average is closer to 40 knots — about 46 mph.

Designers built the hulls for the 2013 competition out of a custom carbon fiber that makes the yachts stronger while still keeping them light. The power-to-weight ratio is 10 times higher in the AC72 than it was in the 2007 yachts, says Ian "Fresh" Burns, director of performance for Oracle. "Imagine taking your Camaro, and taking the 300-horsepower motor out and putting a 3,000-horsepower motor in the same car," Burns says. "That’s what these guys do every day."

At 43 knots, the catamaran can sail its entire 72-foot length in a single second — nearly four times faster than the 2007 class. The massive sail generates 7 tons of force, lifting the hull out of the water until the boat’s only connection to the water is a thin hydrofoil known as a daggerboard. Sailors on the Oracle crew say the experience of being on an AC72 as it flies up out of the water is exhilarating. "When you are racing, you are not worried about the safety," says Gilberto Nobili, a sailor for Oracle Team USA. Nobili says he feels about sailing the AC72 the way he did about skiing as a child — he focuses on the speed, and the sensation of flying, while putting any concerns out of his mind.

"These sailors, they’re adrenaline junkies," says Julian Guthrie, author of The Billionaire and the Mechanic, which chronicles Ellison's quest to win the America's Cup. "And they want it to be safe, but they want to get to the finish line the fastest. That’s the objective."

"THESE SAILORS, THEY’RE ADRENALINE JUNKIES."

The chief adrenaline junkie is Ellison, who took a strong interest in sailing in the 1990s and mounted two unsuccessful America’s Cup campaigns before winning in 2010. Ellison has said he is drawn to sailing because it symbolizes freedom and self-reliance. To nobody’s surprise, he has proven to be as ruthless a competitor in the water as he has in business. "Someone once asked me if it’s worth $100 million to win the America’s Cup," Ellison says in the recent documentary The Wind Gods. "It’s certainly not worth $100 million to lose the America’s Cup." At a panel discussion on the film this spring, Ellison was even more direct, according to a report by All Things D: "The biggest lie told in professional sports is, ‘We’re just going out there to have fun.’"

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Too much boat?

In the aftermath of Simpson's death, amid international criticism, organizers of the event announced they would make changes to the race in an effort to make it safer. Among other things, they lowered the top wind-speed limit at which they would cancel a race.

That hasn't stopped some critics from calling on America's Cup organizers to abandon plans to sail the AC72. C.W. Nevius, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle who has covered this year's races extensively, says the giant boats and windy bay have proven to be a terrible combination. "They've got too much boat for too much weather, and they're breaking," Nevius says. "They overreached with the boats, and refused to make any adjustments. It's killing the competition — and it's killing a 160-year-old tradition."

Safety isn't the only reason critics wish organizers would have chosen another boat class. (Nevius favors the AC45, a smaller catamaran that competitors sailed during earlier parts of this year’s America’s Cup competition.) The high cost of building the AC72 kept many other countries from competing in this year's America's Cup: a single yacht costs $8 million to $10 million, and most teams build two in case one is destroyed in the competition. As a result, an expected field of fifteen teams turned out to be a paltry four.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, Oracle Team USA was found to have bee nusing illegal weights on board in an apparent effort to help control the unwieldy yacht. The head of the racing syndicate said Oracle's management was unaware of the weights — a statement considered plausible by approximately no one — and Oracle might have to forfeit some of its races as a result. (The finals consist of a best-of-17 series; Oracle would begin the finals at a disadvantage against the other team to make it.)

Danger equals ratings

While the AC72's safety record has drawn criticism, it has also drawn attention from the US media that the America's Cup often struggles with. NBC will televise the finals, becoming the first US network to broadcast the event in 20 years. According to Guthrie, the element of danger played a strong role in attracting the network's attention. "It’s getting faster and more dangerous, and that attracted the major networks," she says. "People going back to the Romans, they’re bloodthirsty. Why do you watch football? You want to see the pileups. You want to see these crashes."

"Of course," she adds, "you don’t want tragedies."

Burns says that several fail-safes are built into the AC72, helping to minimize the danger to its 11-man crew. Sensors onboard analyze 30,000 pieces of data every second, and can alert the crew to sudden changes in the environment that could put them at risk of capsizing. Also worth noting: America's Cup has had just five fatalities in its history, a safety record that compares favorably to professional auto racing.

"WHY DO YOU WATCH FOOTBALL? YOU WANT TO SEE THE PILEUPS. YOU WANT TO SEE THESE CRASHES."

Still, Burns acknowledges that the crew takes real risks every time they suit up. "The reality is that there’s a lot of danger in these boats, and going that fast on the water is pretty dangerous no matter what you’re on," he says. "Put that together with the ferocity of a race, and taking a few chances, probably more than you would ordinarily — it makes it dangerous. But on the other hand it also makes it incredibly thrilling. Just having these boats sail past you at 40 knots, or 50 mph, it’s a freakish and awesome experience even for someone doing it as long as I have."

And as fast as the boats are today, the crew of Oracle Team USA says research and development continues. When the 2013 race is over, it won't be long before preparations begin for the next America's Cup. Speed, as always, will be at the top of everyone's minds. "I still have a lot to improve and learn," says Orzonne, the Oracle designer, "and I'm sure the boats of the future will be even faster than this one."