VESSEL REVIEW | Chaika & Yalta – First two units in new Russian-built hydrofoil ferry series

Photo: Vympel

Russia’s Vympel Shipbuilding has delivered the first and second in a new series of three hydrofoil ferries ordered by local owner Mashpromlizing.

The first hydrofoil in the Project 23160 or Kometa 120M series has been named Chaika after the Russian word for “seagull.” The name was chosen also partly to honour pioneering female Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, who used “Chaika” as her radio callsign during her historic 1963 spaceflight. The second vessel meanwhile has been named Yalta after the popular resort city on the Crimean Peninsula in southern Russia.

The craft were designed by seasoned local naval architect Alexeev’s Hydrofoil Design Bureau in compliance to Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (KM) class rules covering navigation in both open sea and inland waterways. They are also modernised variants of the Kometa family of hydrofoil ferries, the first examples of which entered service in the 1960s. The three Kometa 120M ferries are the first new hydrofoil passenger vessels to be built in Russia in nearly 20 years.

Photo: Vympel

With hulls made from a composite of aluminium and magnesium to guarantee light weight and in turn high operating speeds, the single-deck vessels each have an LOA of 35.2 metres, a moulded beam of 10.3 metres, a draught of 3.5 metres when in “hullborne” configuration, a displacement of 73.5 tonnes at full load, and a crew of five. A total of 120 passengers can be transported at speeds of up to 35 knots, while a maximum unrefueled range of 200 nautical miles can be achieved at more economical cruising speeds.

The Kometa 120M ferries were designed to operate in wave heights of up to 2.5 metres and Beaufort force five winds while in hullborne configuration. When sailing at higher speeds in foilborne configuration, they can operate in two-metre wave heights and Beaufort force four winds. The ferries can still sail even as outside air temperatures drop to five degrees Celsius, making them suitable for some of Russia’s more remote northern regions.

To ensure improved comfort and safety for the passengers, the ferries are each equipped with an automatic motion control system and an active stabilisation system while the superstructure also features advanced vibration-absorbing material. Air conditioning has been incorporated as well, providing comfort for the occupants even during the warmer summer months.

Photo: Vympel

The passenger cabin has airline-type reclining seats in business and economy sections, which can house 22 and 98 people, respectively. Situated aft is a small lounge with a bar and couch seating. There are also television screens and a separate compartment with straps for securing luggage as well as individual lifejackets.

Power is provided by two MAN D2862 LE483 diesel engines that each produce 1,150 kW and drive a pair of five-bladed, fixed-pitch propellers.

From the time they entered service in 2018 and 2020, respectively, Chaika and Yalta have already completed numerous sailings on the 28-nautical-mile route between Yalta and Sevastopol, carrying a total of over 60,000 passengers. Their yet unnamed third sister will operate on the same route following its delivery, which has not yet been announced.

Photo: Vympel

Click here for the other news, features and reviews comprising this month’s Passenger Vessel Week.

Chaika & Yalta
Type of vessel:Ferries
Classification:КМ*Hydrofoil craft, Passenger–A
Owner:Mashpromlizing, Russia
Designer:Alexeev’s Hydrofoil Design Bureau, Russia
Builder:Vympel Shipbuilding, Russia
Hull construction material:Aluminium-magnesium composite
Length overall:35.2 metres
Beam:10.3 metres
Draught:3.5 metres
Displacement:73.5 tonnes
Main engines:2 x MAN D2862 LE483, each 1,150 kW
Propulsion:2 x fixed-pitch propellers
Maximum speed:35 knots
Range:200 nautical miles
Other electronics:Active stabilisation system; automatic motion control system
Other equipment installed:Air conditioning
Type of fuel:Diesel
Accommodation:Business class section; economy class section; aft lounge with bar; luggage storage compartment

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