A combination of external factors is dominating marine vessel design with global economic uncertainties adding to the equation. Ship and boat operators have long recognized the importance of achieving lower life-cycle costs and maintaining fuel-efficient operations. However, current financial concerns along with an increasing emphasis on specific industry sectors such as the oil industry and offshore power generation, are also playing a role in the size and shape of vessels and their propulsion needs.
One company that has been at the center of the evolving marine design scenario is Cheltenham, Englandbased Ultra Dynamics Ltd., which makes the UltraJet range of marine water jets for various sectors including Navy, Coastguard, police, ports and harbour, passenger, fishing and leisure. The company said the water jet range is based on a high-efficiency singlestage axial-flow pump unit with a variety of installation and control system options to suit craft requirements. A wide range of impeller options are available to match most marine diesel engines from 100 to 1268 kW, with the appropriate direct drive or reduction gear ratio.
The company’s managing and technical director, Mike Lane, said he had detected changing design trends especially in certain vessel types. “We are noticing a trend for larger vessels in the wind farm industry. Our existing customers now require larger waterjets to satisfy their propulsion requirements, while areas such as the oil industry have a requirement for high thrust propulsion systems in the smallest installation package possible.”
Lane believes that waterjets, a possible factor in changing vessel design, are becoming an increasingly popular propulsion system option for many revenue-earning boats where reliability, lower life-cycle costs and maneuverability are critical. “Ultrajets have been designed to minimize the amount of techdesign and construction work for the boat builder by applying to the jet many of the features that previously needed to be mounted separately by the boat builder,” he said.
Waterjets will be featured on a new design of wind farm supply catamarans built by South Boats of the Isle of Wight, England. Constructed for Resolution Shipping Ltd., Don Quixote is South Boats’ first 20 m wind farm supplier and will work on projects off the U.K.’s east coast. Twin Ultrajet UJ575 waterjets coupled to two MAN D2842 LE410 EDCdiesel engines rated 809 kW at 2100 r/min power the vessel and the driveline combination, giving Don Quixote a displacement of 50 tonnes, a sprint speed of almost 25 knots and a fast cruising speed of 22 knots at 80% load. The thrust has been improved with this jet engine package for powering through hrough sea conditions and pushing against the wind farm towers.
The catamaran design improves upon existing vessels in its class and features South Boats’ “Crew Bus” upper structure design. The vessel features a forward superstructure with an air-conditioned deck saloon accommodating 12 engineers, a galley, turbine spares and a first aid/stretcher point. A key feature of the catamaran’s design is the aft working deck with an area of 52 m2, yet also retaining 20 m2 on the forward deck. An Ultra Dynamics 3 Station JetMaster control system is fitted to the vessel with twin lever reverse deflector controls, as well as a multi-axis joystick and backup joysticks at the main helm position