A daredevil boat builder is set to brave heaving seas and storm surges over the coming days as he puts his sleek new €1m wave-piercing vessel through a set of sea-trials ahead of a world-record breaking bid.
Safehaven Marine MD, Frank Kowalski, launched his newest and fastest naval patrol, and search and rescue (SAR) vessel, Thunder Child, at the Port of Cork yesterday.
He put the 60-ft high-speed boat, which wouldn’t look out of place in a James Bond film, through a series of self-righting tests at the port.
But with several storms bearing down on Ireland, he is set to put the vessel through speed and storm tests in Cork harbour over the coming days in preparation for his long-way-round circumnavigation of Ireland record-breaking bid next summer.
Almost one year in development and manufacture, Thunder Child is equipped with wave-piercing technology and surface-drive propulsion, and boasts HD radar, high-spec thermal night vision cameras, shock-mitigation seating, and surface-drive propulsion.
It is built of advanced lightweight cored composite materials, making it both strong and light. It is powered by a pair of Caterpillar C12.9 turbocharged, supercharged and intercooler diesel engines which produced 1,000hp each.
It is propelled by surface drives manufactured in Italy, and can reach speeds of up to 60kts, and is fitted with long range fuel 5,000 litre fuel tanks allowing a range of over 750 nautical miles.
A crew of 10 can be comfortably seated - six on hi-tech shock mitigation seats and four on fixed-seats in the main cabin.
“We have been designing and building boats here in Cork for almost 20 years now, and our vessels are in use worldwide in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia,” Frank said.
“We continuously innovate to build faster, stronger, more effective, multi-functional boats that are not only built for the incredibly difficult conditions at sea, but also high speed marine operations.”
Frank said setting a new record for the circumnavigation of Ireland via Rockall is a real challenge for any vessel.
“The route involves a 1,000km open-ocean crossing into the North Atlantic, one of the roughest and most notorious seas on the planet,” he said.
“But for Thunder Child, I am confident that we will set a new record and have a safe, albeit nail biting, trip.”
The trip will involve several hours’ navigation in the dark and will inevitably encounter rough conditions which will put incredible stress on both vessel and crew.”
As an internationally recognised designer and manufacturer of high speed commercial craft, Safehaven Marine based in Youghal and Little Island, has already built a reputation for exceptional sea keeping capabilities, stealth and strength.
The company’s boats are deployed internationally for search and rescue missions, security and patrolling in open water and piloting in harbours as well as military and naval operations.
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