AWARDS 2020 | Best Tourist RIB – Osprey – Naiad and Yamba Welding and Engineering

Best Tourist RIB – Osprey

Best Tourist RIB – Osprey – Naiad and Yamba Welding and Engineering

Osprey is a highly refined development of the designer and builder’s long line of patrol, rescue, pilot, research and passenger vessels built around its well-proven rigid inflatable concept. They have sold to governments and tourist operators worldwide. This boat has taken the concept much further, particularly with its very innovative and versatile superstructure, bow ramp, foam filled collar and interior.

Built for the large Australian ferry and tourism company SeaLink Travel Group, it had to satisfy a very experienced and demanding owner. It operates around Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, off the coast of Queensland, where the group has a resort. It transfers guests to and from the mainland and also operates tours.

With triple Yamaha 225kW outboard motors, the boat is very fast. Yamba Welding and Engineering (YWE), incorporating Naiad, was recently purchased by the newly established Whiskey Project Group of Sydney.

“We set about researching available vessels that operated similar tourism experiences,” Sealink Fraser Island Group General Manager David Hay told Baird Maritime. “We needed a very stable vessel with a capacity of at least twenty-five pax and was capable of operating at over 35 knots if required, and it needed to provide a very spacious feel for our guests to match the four-star experience of Kingfisher Bay Resort.”

Hay added that, after researching design and build options, Sealink decided Naiad was the most ideal choice from a design perspective, and that YWE was the best builder to provide a quality-built vessel.

In recent years, Naiads have become increasingly in-demand by tour operators. Such boats have become known for being robust yet attractive vessels that give passengers a safe, luxurious experience whilst being able to handle the most challenging sea conditions.

Osprey therefore incorporated many features pioneered by Naiad, including the “D” foam collar system with hard aluminium inboard gunwales to maximise deck space as well as passenger security, and drop-down bow boarding door for easy access to the beach. The knuckle bow hull design complements Naiad’s time-proven variable deadrise hull design, offering maximum passenger comfort in a seaway.

Further, the boat was tailored to Sealink’s requirements for a full-length canopy complete with forward screens and roll-up clears for full protection from inclement weather – whilst maintaining excellent field of vision and sleek lines.

“YWE is very experienced building to the exacting standards of clients such as the Australian Border Force, the navy, and Marine Rescue,” commented Rebecca Sinclair, YWE General Manager, “and so we were delighted to apply this rigour and craftsmanship to SeaLink Travel Group’s hero vessel for Fraser Island.”

Sinclair added that YWE possessed a talented and dedicated team with an eye for detail that is imperative for vessels of this calibre, whilst the company’s consultative approach ensured there is clarity and consensus with the client at every stage of the design and build.

“The result is that the vessel delivers exactly the effect the client envisaged,” added Sinclair.

“We have been very happy with Osprey since the day we launched her,” Sealink’s David Hay remarked. “She has exceeded our expectations in terms of handling, fuel economy and guest experience.”

Whilst 2021 will bring many of the same challenges of 2020 to the tourism sector, a diverse customer portfolio sees Naiad well positioned for growth as demand as domestic tourism increases, and governments look for proven solutions for their federal and state agency requirements.

YWE, meanwhile, said that it is continuing to attract increasing attention from Australia’s public and private sector as well as Pacific nations looking for in-region expertise.

For a list of the 2020 “Best Of” award winners, please click here.

Baird Maritime

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