From sheet steel to ship in less than a year

From sheet steel to ship in less than a year

It's hard to comprehend how such a vast vessel can come together so quickly. Just nine months passes from the moment the first sheet of steel is cut to the day the shipyard workers and their families gather to see Honfleur's 185-metre long hull slide down the slipway and into the cold waters of the Baltic. In little more than a year from that first cut her superstructure will be assembled, her outfitting completed and her seaworthiness proven on her maiden voyage. Landmark buildings of a similar size can take longer to build, and they don't have to float.

This site will follow that entire, astonishing process. But before Honfleur is built in steel, she is built virtually. Before that first steel is cut, every other cut and weld is planned, along with the countless other operations required to build such a complex craft. Creating a complete digital model of Honfleur not only allows her to be constructed with remarkable speed and efficiency; it also allows her design to be optimized to make her more spacious, refined and efficient too.


The man tasked with delivering Honfleur on time has an impressive pedigree in assembling complex vehicles. Before Rüdiger Fuchs became the CEO of Flensburger Shipyards, or FSG, he was the project director for the Airbus A380.

"We're one of the few shipyards which can design an entire ship from a blank sheet of paper," he says. "Brittany Ferries comes to us with a complete concept for their new ship and a specification for how it should perform. We then work with them on the detailed design of the ship. We invest our own design resources in the ship and try to go beyond even the high standards the customer sets.”

From sheet steel to ship in less than a year article quote

We have one of the world's leading engineering departments here, and we can create ships which are both very light and have incredible hydrodynamics, so they use less fuel and cost less to run. We use the same tools as the most advanced industries: computer-aided design, computational fluid dynamics and 3D simulation. We can use them to design an entire ship in ten months, and then to plan the most efficient build.
Ruediger Fuchs
Managing Director
Flensburger Shiffbau-Gesellschaft

"Of course we're a heavy industry, and we're proud of that," Rüdiger says. "But when people visit the shipyard they only see the steel. They don't notice the iPads."


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