A boat designed and built in east Cork is now fully fitted and ready for testing prior to attempting a new world record transatlantic crossing next summer.
Following a rudimentary outing earlier this year, the now fully furbished Thunder Child II cut through the seas off Ireland’s south coast.
Designed and built by Youghal-based Safehaven Marine, managing director Frank Kowalski describes the super-swift craft as “a unique, hybrid hull design, asymmetrical catamaran, with a wave-piercing deep V mono-hull”.
Valued at over €1m, it is designed for high speed, with minimal turbulence.
Measuring 23 m in length, it has a 5.3 m beam and boasts a Hyuscraft hydrofoil system fitted between the two catamaran hulls.
“This massively reduces drag by lifting the boat about 400 ml out of the water”, Mr Kowalski explains.
Thunder Child II has a fuel capacity of 7,500 litres, is powered by four Caterpillar 650hp engines with surface drive propulsion. It hits a top speed of 54 kts and has a 700+ knm range.
In July 2017 the 17-metre original Thunder Child set a record in circumnavigating Ireland, anticlockwise, via Rockall, in just over 34 hours.
Between July and August 2020 the same five-member crew, aboard Thunder Child II will attempt an unprecedented 4,500 km transatlantic route from Newfoundland to Killybegs, via refuelling stops at Greenland and Iceland.
They hope to complete the trip in less than five days.
The challenge holds considerable danger on seas “encompassing two of the most active and potentially violent weather systems in the world”, says Mr Kowalski.
The timing aims to minimise the risk of Arctic sea ice and icebergs but nonetheless the boat will be “outside the shipping lanes in a region where survival in a life raft, even in the summer, would not be long”, adds the managing director.
Safehaven Marine’s regular remit is to build high-speed commercial and naval/military craft. It has supplied more than 120 boats to some 26 countries worldwide since being established in 1998. It employs 30 people.
Thunder Child II will now undertake extensive sea trials in preparation for next year’s venture, including a long-distance trial run.