January 10, 2024

Timeless Tube marine railings client claims significant world-first for electric boating

Record-breaking electric boat client makes huge advances in sustainable boating technology

Timeless Tube are thrilled to collaborate with the visionary Optima Electric Yachts – a forward-thinking British company whose work is helping to revolutionise the global boating industry through pioneering clean marine technology and careful architectural design.  

Optima Electric Yachts, driven by a profound passion for boats and environmental sustainability, embarked on a mission to redefine the leisure marine market. Recognising the urgent need for change, Optima have designed a hull form that not only uses significantly less energy than its counterparts but is also 100% electric from concept. This clever, conscious design not only reduces the strain on electrical supply networks but also opens up new possibilities for long-distance cruising.

With zero emissions and minimal noise pollution, Optima’s electric boat prototype serves to protect marine wildlife and preserve the tranquillity of our oceans.

Achieving a world-first thanks to world-class design

The boat has proved it can pack a punch when it comes to covering distance.  In the summer of 2023 the Optima prototype, equipped with Timeless Engineering's slim oval rails, achieved a historic feat by circumnavigating the Isle of Wight solely on battery power. This remarkable journey marked a world-first, firmly placing Optima Electric Yachts at the forefront of the Solent’s second-to-none maritime sector. 

Stainless steel oval rails seen on Optima Electric Yachts at MDL’s South Coast and Green Boat Show in April 2023, where Optima made its public debut.

Timeless railings: the perfect balance of strength, style, and space efficiency

David Kendall, Designer and MD at Optima Projects approached Timeless Tube once the boat was in production. “I wanted to source boat railings that would be as light as possible without compromising on strength. It was also vital that the rails would look elegant and unobtrusive, in keeping with the clean lines of the boat” explains Kendall. 

Timeless Tube MD Tom McMillan visited the boat in March 2023, taking various stainless steel oval tube samples to be considered for the aft and bow rails. A stainless 316 oval tube measuring 30.5 x 17.5 x 1.5mm was decided upon. “It is often useful for boat designers to have tangible samples of our rails when choosing which will work best with the overall design. In this case I was able to take the samples to the boat whilst it was in production, which helped with Optima’s tight lead time” explains Tom McMillan. “Once a choice was made our Timeless fabricators and polishers were soon able to get to work on the rails” he added. 

Newly installed rails, just weeks before the prototype was launched.

Sweeping bends and a super marine polish

After forming the oval tube, the Timeless Tube fabrication team then rolled the tube ‘the hard way’ (on the B Plane axis) to create the curve required. They worked from 1:1 drawings to help achieve this B plane shape. The rails were then welded to 19mm OD round tube stanchion posts before they were polished by Timeless Tube’s metal polishers, who specialise in stainless steel boat rail polishing. Upon installation the long rails contoured easily to the curvature of the boat on its A Plane dimension. There were no deviations or adjustments required – the posts were secured with M6 studs and finished with 25mm-wide stainless steel base plates.

Timeless Tube MD Tom McMillan takes photos of the boat at a site visit in Lymington, March 2023

At Timeless we’re fiercely proud of the strong, stylish, and space-saving railings that we form and fabricate. But our greatest pride comes when these tubes are put to use in exciting applications such as Optima Electric Yachts’ e10 prototype. David at Optima is a passionate designer who is discerning about every detail, so we’re thrilled that he came to Timeless for the prototype. It feels good to play a small part in Optima Electric Yachts’ exciting journey. Their ambitious work marks the beginning of a new era in electric boating.” says McMillan.