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Feature 4 | OFFSHORE WIND FARM SUPPORT VESSELS Trial by wind


Wind farm support live testing vessel delivers pleasingly low onboard noise levels and a rearranged interior.


T


he offshore wind farm sector has provided a shot in the arm for a number of UK and European


boatbuilders, not least South Boats Special Projects. Located on the Isle of Wight, the boatbuilder has completed approximately 52 wind farm support vessels for 15 customers over the past five years, and currently enjoys an annual output of 25 wind farm crew transfer vessels, built to 16m, 17m, 19m, 24m and 28m specifications. Te February 2011 launch and delivery


of the 19.1m Abersoch Bay represents the 11th unit in South Boats’ South Catamaran wind farm support vessel family, and the seventh South Boats vessel so far to comply with Det Norske Veritas’ (DNV’s) 1A1 HSLC R2 Wind Farm Service 1 specifications. Te group became the first shipyard to achieve this class notation for its April 2011-delivered, 19.1m wind farm support vessel MCS Zephyr (see Significant Small Ships 2011 for full vessel details).


Design overhaul Unlike her predecessors, however, Abersoch Bay is intended to function primarily as a technology demonstration vessel, enabling operator Turbine Transfers Ltd to ‘live test’ new solutions for the offshore wind farm sector.


The 19.1m Abersoch Bay features an entirely overhauled interior arrangement from South Boats, with noise levels cut to 54dBA in the wheelhouse.


TECHNICAL PARTICULARS Abersoch Bay


Length, oa ...........................................19.1m Beam ......................................................7.3m Draught ..................................................1.1m Displacement, lightship ................40tonnes Speed, service .............24knots@ 90% MCR Max speed ....................................... 26knots Main engines................2 x MTU 8V2000M72 (709.8kW each)


Gearboxes....................................2 x ZF3000 Waterjets ............. 2 x Ultra Dynamics UJ575 Classification society ....Det Norske Veritas


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The outfitting of the vessel has also enabled South Boats to experiment with the wind farm crew transfer vessel format. For this project, the builder revamped the entire interior arrangement, positioning the entrance door forward to starboard, leading into a crew changing area and storage lobby. The passenger saloon section of the interior has been fitted with four South KPM anti-shock suspension crew seats to port, arranged in two rows of two facing, with tables and integrated floor plinths, as well as a small area for immersion suit and lifejacket stowage. Meanwhile, eight Cleeman-supplied suspension crew seats have been installed to starboard, arranged in one two-seat and two three-seat rows. Each row features a work table and crew are able to ward off boredom on extensive shore-to-turbine farm commutes courtesy of a triple- screen entertainment


system, with


DVD-viewing options, and a satellite- and 3G-enabled wireless network.


Ergonomic considerations have played


a large part in patrol boat design, with the 26m, Baltics Workboats-built Banrion Uladh, delivered in December 2010, having thrown down the gauntlet to the small boat sector, by dint of having slashed her onboard noise levels to an impressively low 56dBA. South Boats would appear to have accepted this challenge when completing Abersoch Bay, achieving full-power noise levels of 57dBA in the passenger saloon and 54dBA in the wheelhouse, making her one of the quietest offshore wind farm support vessels to have emerged to date. The vessel incorporates two MTU 8V2000M72 diesel engines, each delivering an output of 709.8kW, which are coupled to Ultra Dynamics UJ575 waterjets, granting the vessel a top speed of 26knots. Twin ZF3000 gearboxes power the craſt’s hydraulics system, providing the feed for various onboard hardware, including: a 5bar fire pump, rated at 30,000litres/hour; a 1.5tonne hydraulic


Ship & Boat International March/April 2012


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