Ocean research and hydrographic survey catamaran

The Wildcat during sea trials outside the entrance to Cork Harbour The Wildcat during sea trials outside the entrance to Cork Harbour

Boatbuilder Safehaven Marine of Cork, Ireland has introduced its new Wildcat 60; a multi-purpose survey catamaran.

The vessel has a LOA of 18.5m, a beam of 6.2m and a draft of 1.4m, with a 33,000kg lightship displacement and a loaded displacement of 37,000kg. The design is for an ocean research and hydrographic survey catamaran capable of operating offshore for 7 days duration with 12 crew. With ‘all weather capabilities’, the vessel is able to operate in rough conditions and in S.A.R. roles when required, and undertake coastal and offshore patrol duties.

The maximum speed of 24kts comes courtesy of twin Volvo D16 engines (2x 750hp). Crew arrangements and sleeping accommodation has been provided for up to 12 crew with a 7 day endurance. To facilitate this the vessel has two sleeping cabins, one in the lower port hull and one in the starboard hull, each fitted with six bunk berths and each cabin with its own separate heads compartment.

A full galley is positioned in the forward port hull and is equipped for extended sea operations, fitted with a large capacity fridge-freezer, dishwasher, 240v hob and microwave, large worktop areas and storage.

A third large heads and shower compartment is positioned in the forward starboard cabin along with multiple storage lockers and a washing machine / dryer. Long duration voyages are made possible by the 800 litre fresh water capacity. A 600 litre black water tank is alsofitted.

The main cabin is a twin deck arrangement with a raised steering and navigation position. Seating is provided for a helmsman and navigator, both on shock mitigation suspension seating, with two additional bench seats either side. The raised position allows excellent all round visibility and control of the vessel with a full suite of Raymarine navigation equipment including 48nm radar & 12” C127 colour display, GPS, and dedicated plotter on a second 12” display. Displays, sonar, VHF radios, autopilot etc, are all flush mounted in a large helm console.

The main cabin incorporates two areas, the forward area houses the main hydrographic work area, incorporating a U-shaped worktop with computer racking below, space for multiple computer screens and is fitted with three fixed seats.

A dinette area with settee and table is positioned opposite. The aft area houses an additional survey work area with work table, twin fixed seats and computer racking. A settee area with table is positioned here as well.

A server room is positioned in this area, and is fully air conditioned by a 16,000btu air con unit. A 2m high server rack is incorporated in the server room. The overall design of the accommodation allows up to 12 crew to operate from the vessel in comfort.

The deck arrangement has an ‘island’ cabin configuration with easy access around the vessel protected by high bulwarks and railings allowing safe operation on deck. Access to the raised foredeck is by twin steps port and starboard with the area protected by railings all round.

The aft deck is specially designed for hydrographic and survey operations. A large moon pool of 1.5m x 1.3m is fitted with a hydraulically operated multibeam deployment system capable of raising and lowering transducers and equipment up to 1,000kg in weight to below the keel level. A large 1.5m diameter tension drum of 1,000kg pull capacity is capable of being pre loaded with 200m of large 32mm diameter electrical data cable to deploy equipment over the transom.

Three spare drums are carried onboard, stored on the cabin roof and these can be interchanged on the winch when required.

The transom is fitted with a wide central gate allowing access over and is fitted with a tilting ‘A’ frame with a 1,000kg SWL, hydraulically operated by two large cylinders allowing equipment to be lifted off deck and lowered over the transom.

The transom is fitted with twin substantial dive platforms accessed from their own ladders allowing access to the waterline to assist equipment deployment and recovery as well as dive operations.

Additional means of deploying multiple sonar and hydrographic equipment is provided by 2x swing down 4” diameter aluminium transducer poles on substantial gunwale mounted bearings which lock into place securely when lowered, and position the transducer below keel level. They are raised and lowered by manual winch.

The deck is also serviced by a powerful HIAB 033 hydraulic slewing knuckle crane which has a maximum lifting capacity of 470kg at 7m reach and a maximum lift of 2,900k

The vessel is suitable for hot climate operations and is fitted with two powerful 27,000btu and one 16,000btu air conditionaing unit, (70,000btu total). Aditionally the cabin roof and lower cabin roof areas are insulated.

A 500mm dia Axial fan provides forced air into each engine room with hot air exhausted through separate vents.

CLASSIFICATIONThe vessel’s hull construction has been designed in accordance with Lloyds Special Service Craft rules and regulations for category ‘workboat’ and area of operation ‘G3’ The Hull design has been approved by the Polish Register of Shipping and the M.C.A.

The vessel was built in respect of its machinery and safety equipment under survey and to the UK’S MCA workboat regulations category II, 60nm offshore & P.R.S

The Wildcat is designed to combine safe dependable sea keeping and stability with performance and economy. The Wildcat hull design utilises symmetrical planing hulls. Incorporating ‘high buoyancy bows’ with fuller forward sections, offering greater buoyancy and giving the hull the necessary lift to prevent slamming under the bridge deck, allowing higher speeds to be maintained into larger ocean swells.

During surveying Safehaven believes the catamaran hull form has a distinct advantage as the twin hulls form a ‘groove’ in the water allowing the hull to track as if on rails while the tremendous transverse stability means the hull suffers little yaw and surge allowing more accurate data to be collected.

By Jake Frith

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