According to one manufacturer, the business of offshore windfarm turbine installation is driving demand for docking-head davits.
Norwegian davit supplier Vestdavit has so far this year supplied more than a dozen of its unique modular docking head - an anti-pendulation device installed on a davit to counter swing motions of a boat during launch - to both the commercial and military markets, and that is already twice the tally sold in 2020.
The sudden surge in demand can be attributed largely to the need for safe and reliable davit launch systems for workboats servicing the offshore wind sector, according to Vestdavit sales manager William Goodall.
This market trend looks set to accelerate given an estimated 1500 support vessels will be needed over the next decade to carry out wind turbine installation in Europe where investments in new wind farms are set to rise from last year’s record €26.3 billion ($32.1 billion) towards the continent’s goal of 300 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2050.
Goodall also sees burgeoning davit demand from other parts of the world as wind farm projects move forward off countries such as the US, South Korea and China, with research firm Rystad Energy forecasting global investments of $810 billion in offshore wind projects this decade.
The docking head fits over a cone on the launch boat to ‘lock’ it steady and in the right orientation when moving between the stowed and ready positions at the ship’s side during launch or recovery operations.
It features hydraulic actuators to compensate movements triaxially and can engage with boats at inclines of up to 30 degrees, dampening swing loads to prevent sudden movements in rough seas that could injure the crew or damage equipment, as well as the ship’s structure.
“The potential for this docking-head technology in the wind sector is enormous as such support vessels require a wide weather window,” Goodall says.
Vestdavit pioneered docking-head technology as part of its integrated PAP davit system back in the 1990s before developing in 2016 the innovative PLD series incorporating a cheaper, modular docking head that can be detached from a davit.
By Jake Frith