Wildcat Survey Boat Prowls Tees Ports

Tees Navigators excellent directional stability makes it a good choice for hydrographic survey duties.
Tees Navigators excellent directional stability makes it a good choice for hydrographic survey duties.
A second helm position on the flybridge, A frame, and twin stern mounted diving platforms add to the vessels versatility.
A second helm position on the flybridge, A frame, and twin stern mounted diving platforms add to the vessels versatility.
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Andrew Ridley, conservation manager at PD Teesport, Middlesborough UK, wanted to upgrade multi-beam sonar capability for the port's hydrographic survey operations but was concerned that an expensive new sonar head would be vulnerable in the conventional deployment practices used on an existing monohull survey boat.

Making his way to County Cork in Ireland, where Safehaven Marine has established a reputation for building extremely seaworthy workboats, he was given a demonstration run in the builder's 36ft Wildcat catamaran. In rough conditions he was impressed by the vessel's seakeeping, especially the directional stability which is so critical when steering a dead straight line during data acquisition runs. The Wildcat was capable of maintaining course virtually without helm correction in a quartering following sea with force 5-6 conditions, a feat which would not have been possible in the monohull at home. The greatly reduced rolling of the craft meant the accuracy of data acquisition was invariably higher than with a monohull and the catamaran design meant a sonar head could be safely deployed through a moonpool in the bridge deck.

The tender was awarded to Safehaven Marine and the resulting craft, Tees Navigator, is based on a 'motor yacht' superstructure providing a large accommodation area yet still maintaining a good working space in the aft cockpit. The general arrangement consists of a fully equipped galley in the port hull and a double berth positioned over the bridge deck. The heads and a second . .

. . berth are situated in the starboard hull.

The main cabin has an ergonomically effective central twin seat helm position with a special moulding allowing the helmsman to sit upright in a car-like driving position which avoids fatigue and back ache.

Comfort is further assisted by power steering, which requires only 'finger light' input and minimal lock to lock.

Survey data acquisition is carried out in the main cabin at an 'L' shaped workbench with computer racking provided below.

The catamaran's wide beam makes for spacious accommodation and work areas. A sophisticated electronics fit out includes single beam Reson survey equipment, Furuno NavNet 2 black box radar and a range of data recording hardware. Multiple 240v power outlets are fed by a 6.5 kVa generator supplied by HFL.

Crew and equipment benefit from a 3,600 BTU air conditioning unit which provides a dry, moisture free environment and eliminates window misting.

Heavy duty fendering allows the craft to carry out light pilot duties and the high Safehaven standard of finish welcomes the occasional VIP visitor.

Propulsion is provided by twin Scania DI9 marine diesels rated at 318hp each which will take the vessel to speeds of 20 knots. Fuel tanks with 250 gallon capacity allow for long ranging surveys.

Other features of the Tees Navigator include a second helm position on the flybridge. MOB recovery and deployment of additional data acquisition equipment is enabled by an 'A' frame on the transom. Twin stainless steel dive platforms give easy access close to the waterline.

The vessel also enjoys the sleek and graceful lines which are a hallmark of the Safehaven stable.

Tees Navigator's main duty will be the accurate surveying of the River Tees waters which serve the ports of Tees and Hartlepool. PD Teesport's commercial operations see up to 1,200 ship movements monthly, with calling vessels ranging up to 310m LOA and 180,000 tons. The quality of surveying data is critical as larger vessels often have as little as 0.9m clearance under keel.

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