“Best Experimental Craft” hardly begins to describe this amazing vessel. It represents a double quantum leap into the future of vessel design, construction, engineering and styling.
With a multitude of potential uses, the Thunder Child II concept has so far borne fruit as a “hyper” yacht and a demonstrator boat. It does so many things so well that it has really brought the boatbuilding art to a new level.
The 23-metre boat with its complex, multi-stepped, hydrofoil assisted tri-hull can achieve 54 knots even in very rough breaking seas. It can cruise at between three and 40 knots for 750+ nautical miles, depending on load.
It can operate in incredibly rough seas in Force 10 winds and six-metre seas and, being self-righting, can still reach home safely. With four, comparatively modest, 480 kW engines driving through surface drives, it is obviously very efficient.
Its virtues as a patrol, assault and SAR boat are plain to see. There may be a surfeit of superlatives in this paragraph but they are unusually well deserved.
“The craft is special,” Safehaven told Baird Maritime, “because of its unique combination of high speed and efficiency together with ‘all weather’ seakeeping abilities and stability, giving the design a wide operational role envelope.”
The builder was specifically referring to the vessel’s innovative hull fusing an asymmetrical catamaran with a wave-piercing mono-hull. The result is a composite hull that combines the dynamic and transverse stability of a catamaran with the head sea capabilities of a deep-vee monohull. This then leads to a significant reduction in the rolling that traditional vee hulls can suffer from when operating in rough conditions.
The introduction of Thunder Child II was indeed one of the high points for Safehaven in 2020, which nonetheless became a truly challenging year for the Irish boatbuilder.
“It was tough, what with Covid-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions,” remarked Safehaven, “but we still managed to get the boats built.”
The builder added that, although 2021 doesn’t seem to show much promise – at least not until the second half of the year – it has a full order book through to early 2022, indicating that its niche market sector has been relatively unaffected by the ongoing pandemic.
Still, Safehaven said that it recognises the changing needs of the patrol and interceptor boat market for which Thunder Child II and other similar craft are being developed.
“We see the ability of vessels to ‘multi-task’ becoming increasingly important,” the company told Baird Maritime, “as is the greater demand for efficiency and operator safety.
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