The coastal cruise reborn

The hull is shallow draft with only 2.56 metres over the propellers and if waterjets are fitted only 1.56 metres draft The hull is shallow draft with only 2.56 metres over the propellers and if waterjets are fitted only 1.56 metres draft

UK-based naval architect Colin Silvester has come up with a small cruising vessel concept to reignite enthusiasm in the coastal cruise; once a cornerstone activity in any British seaside holiday.

In the 1950s and 1960s day trips on paddle steamers from various coastal resorts, the Bristol Channel, Cardiff, Newport, the South Coast and the Clyde, for instance, were extremely popular and well-appointed and dubbed the ‘people’s liner’.

According to a recent UK television programme ‘Timeshift’, they fell out of favour at the end of the 1960s largely due to the advent of cheap holidays abroad and the increasingly large numbers of motor cars available to provide individual family holiday excursions.

Of late the popularity of cruise ships with their luxurious liveaboard facilities and far flung destinations has increased dramatically. So Colin believes there is now a requirement for coastal cruising on a smaller ship with the potential for a 5 to 10 day cruise with complete luxurious appointment from the cabins to the restaurants to the observation areas and sundecks.

The concept could provide a similar experience to that found aboard the larger ships and the new breed of river cruise ships with their itinerary of daily stops and shore excursions.

This modern styled catamaran design provides just such a facility as this, with spacious guest cabins having a private bathroom with shower and toilet, climate control system, telephone, Wi-Fi and television; some having a private balcony situated on the main deck 2. There is an observation and quiet lounge with a bar and panoramic forward windows on deck 3. Deck 4 is given over to the restaurant and a forward observation area with panoramic windows all round. Deck 5 has an aft sundeck area and the bridge with access from the bridge up to a flybridge helming position and guest seating in favourable conditions. Where relevant this area could also be used for whale and dolphin spotting.

On the main deck 2 in addition to the cabins with individual balconies there is a sundeck well forward and boarding access to the tender which is stowed on a platform at the stern. The tender and platform is lowered into the water on a hydraulic controlled ramp, similar to that found on some superyachts.

The hull is shallow draft with only 2.56 metres over the propellers and if waterjets are fitted only 1.56 metres draft.

The projected initial operating area for the ship was to take advantage of the tourist potential of the ‘Jurassic Coast’ (Dorset, UK) and the West Country, although there is also some early interest from a potential operator in the Three Gorges area of China’s Yangtze River. Some of the various destinations have no pier or jetty facility but when creating this design a system of wheeled jetties was also designed for these restricted destinations where beaches would be used for embarkation and disembarkation.

Colin told Maritime Journal that the concept is supported by the South West Business Forum and the Mayor of Torbay but investors are required to kick start the project.

By Jake Frith

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