Capacious and fast: Coulam’s V29 launched at Seawork
Coulam’s new V29 harnesses both the stability and accessibility of the yard's previous designs, the new boat making its debut at Seawork 2018.
It is spacious: the 8.4m Coulam V29 boasts 2.5t carrying capacity and 14m² floor area. The first one built has already found a home at a private estate in Scotland, where it regularly deploys an ArgoCat 8 wheel drive, all terrain vehicle, along with 12 passengers – so the boat visiting the Seawork pontoon this summer was its sister, explained Jim Coulam, the yard’s owner.
Iteration in the design has given Coulam time to refine the different elements. The chief aspect setting it apart from the earlier V20 (designed for making waters wheelchair-accessible), is the broader bow door, a 1.75m wide platform hinged above the waterline. This can be opened while afloat for the sake of roll-on-roll-off access for divers and amphibious vehicles, as well as levelled with the shore for transport where cranage is unavailable, or for use as a foot ferry.
It is held by a Goliath stainless steel winch, chosen for its anti-corrosion properties, and the 5mm wire rope has been upscaled to Dyneema, giving the open door a safe working capacity of just under 2 tonnes
The V20 was the first of its kind to be cast in Glass Reinforced Plastic, and the V29 is sticking with the material. As Mr Coulam said, it's “pretty difficult to get totally watertight welds on aluminium. If you put a hole in GRP, you can just patch it up". While in a workboat this might not come out as reduced weight, the ease of maintenance presents an "enormous advantage" in Mr Coulam's book. The fuel-water separators were likewise moved to make maintenance as easy as possible.
The V29 also has speed: fitted with twin 200hp Suzuki outboards it can achieve an impressive 40 knots. More, the deep chines required to accommodate both a fully planing form and that monumental bow door produces a high-volume craft with excellent low-speed handling.
Finally, Jim Coulam added: “A wheelhouse version of the V29 is at the design stage, and all new V17 and V24 models should both be in production in early 2019.”
A design once fulfilling a market niche by being wheelchair-friendly could make the world more accessible for everyone.
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