Josip Gruzling, P.Eng., President of NautiCAN R&D Ltd., passed away Monday, September 10. Josip was a pioneer in the use of hydrofoils to increase the efficiency of tugs and barges. He used his inventiveness and determination to develop two types of devices: the High Efficiency Nozzles and Hydralift Skegs for barges, receiving nine patents for his efforts. Over 100 High Efficiency Nozzles have been built and over 40 Hydralift skegs have been installed worldwide.
Josip got his start in 1968 working for Robert Allan Ltd., going on to found NautiCAN in 1972 to develop his ideas. Hydralift Skegs provide directional stability to barges with much less resistance than standard skegs, typically between a 35 to 50% improvement. Not only were these results proven in towing tanks, but working barges proved them too by allowing companies to tow their barges faster or at the same speed with less horsepower.
Josip also used high lift-to-drag airfoil section profiles to create the High Efficiency Nozzle. These nozzles have been used on tugs, fishing boats, even ships. His nozzles can achieve fuel efficiency gains of up to 30%, speed gains of up to 2 knots, and bollard pull gains of up to 60% over an open propeller or 12% over the usual 19A Nozzles. He was able to do things with his nozzles, such as simultaneously increase the bollard pull and increase the top speed. In another case, Josip used his nozzle design on a 40 ft. planing hull lobster boat which operates at a top speed of 17 knots, 50% larger than the supposed 12 knot limit of nozzles.
Josip also developed Triple Rudders to increase maneuverability with the High Efficiency Nozzle. These rudders would allow the thrust to be directed up to 60 degrees to each side, with minimal loss in the amount of thrust. Their effectiveness was appreciated, with some reports of tugs with Triple Rudders handling almost as well as a Z-drive in close quarters.
In 2003, Josip developed the Integrated Propulsion Unit, which combines the High Efficiency Nozzle, Triple Rudders, Stators, and Propeller in a fully assembled, ready to install unit. The first application was on the Northern Transportation's Edgar Kotokak.
His latest development is the Integrated Flanking Rudder that is soon to be launched on Hanson Aggregates' San Joaquin river tug
Josip had a passion for creating computer software programs to aide in the development of new naval applications. He worked along side his daughter Nicolle Gruzling, who has a masters in computer science, and Nicolle will be continuing on with the company. He leaves behind his wife, four daughters, and three grandchildren.