Fine tune focus delivers fitter ‘Volunteer’

Seacat Volunteer hits the water in Cowes Seacat Volunteer hits the water in Cowes

Offshore wind transfer vessel operator Seacat Services and South Boats Isle of Wight launched the latest of a series of wind farm service vessels on Monday.

Benefitting from a long standing development relationship, Seacat Volunteer, a 24m South Catamaran designed and built at the South Boats IOW yard in Cowes to the specifications of the operator, illustrates how a process of incremental fine tuning and collaboration will drive the evolution of the next generation of service vessels.

DNV class certified Volunteer is the sixth South Boats IOW vessel to join the Seacat Services fleet. As such, it is now the operator’s most sophisticated WFSV to date, having benefitted from a process of ongoing refinement and subtle modification that has seen lessons learnt at sea fed back into vessel design. 

Accommodating 12 wind farm technicians and three crew, the aluminium hulled South Catamaran is propelled by twin Rolls-Royce waterjets. Fully loaded with personnel and 20 tonnes of equipment and on-deck cargo, the vessel can reach speeds in excess of 29 knots.

On the back of thousands of operational hours at sea already accrued by the existing Seacat Services fleet, the custom design of the vessel seeks to maximise productivity on site by prioritising crew and passenger comfort. With a resiliently mounted superstructure and vibration-proof paint, noise levels are kept below 63dBa.

Furthermore, the capacity of South Boats IOW to modify designs to meet the requirements of operators even whilst vessels are in build has proven to be advantageous for Seacat Services as it seeks to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and efficiency.

“The design and build of Seacat Volunteer has really been a two way process, said Ian Baylis, managing director of Seacat Services.

“As with all of our vessels in development, the Seacat Services technical team, our experienced masters, mates and engineers have all provided input that has fed directly into the design of Volunteer. What sets South Boats apart is the ability to act on our suggestions and make subtle modifications that will enhance the way in which we operate in future.”

“Evolution in the WFSV sector continues to be driven by close collaboration between boat builders and vessel operators with experience working in testing conditions on site, added Ben Colman, sales and marketing manager at South Boats IOW.

“Seacat Volunteer is the product of the kind of relationship that will ultimately push the industry forward. Continuing to take on board the feedback of experienced operators like Seacat Services should ensure that each boat we launch is the safest, most reliable and technologically advanced vessel to date.”

Once sea trials have been conducted, Seacat Volunteer will be available for deployment across a number of UK and wider European offshore developments.

In September 2013, South Boats IOW and Seacat Services signed a £10m order for three further wind farm crew transfer vessels. Under the terms of the deal, South Boats is set to deliver one 24m and two 26m vessels to Seacat over the next two years.

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