The current approaches to the design of the handling of towed cable systems onboard surface ships rely heavily on empirical methods and time-consuming/expensive prototype testing. This paper presents a new nodal position finite element method (FEM) as a design tool to simulate the dynamics of towed body system effectively. By solving for the position of cable directly instead of indirectly via the displacement, the new FEM does not need to decouple the elastic deformation from the rigid body rotation and thus eliminates the error source arising from the linearized incremental approximation in existing FEM. Analysis results demonstrate the new FEM algorithm is simple and robust by comparing with numerical benchmark test and experiments including sea trial data.

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