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Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Damen delivers diverse ‘Axe Bow’ duo

22 Dec 2011

Damen delivers diverse 'Axe Bow' duo

The varied range of vessels produced by Damen Shipyards is reflected in these two craft, seen on the final assembly and testing quay at the company’s headquarters in Gorinchem.

On the left is the second Twin Axe Catamaran Fast Crew Supplier (FCS) 2610, Marineco Mariah, for Edinburgh based Marineco UK. Marineco took delivery of its first FCS 2610, Marineco Shamal, in time for it to make a starring appearance on the floating pontoon at Seawork 2011. The vessel has subsequently been fully deployed undertaking offshore wind farm support work.

The ‘Axe Bow’ concept has been around for some five years now, and the ‘Twin Axe’ offers a more stable platform within the Workboat Code 1 range. Compared to conventional catamarans with the same displacement, the ‘Twin Axe’ claims reduced peak accelerations of up to 75%, reduced calm water resistance of up to 15% and reduced added resistance in waves of up to 60%.

The 26.2m LOA aluminium craft is powered by twin Caterpillar C32 TTA B main engines delivering a total of 2,400 bhp to fixed pitch propellers through Reintjes ZWVS 440/1 two speed gearboxes for a top speed of 26 knots and cruising at 22 knots.

The vessel on the right in our ShipShot is a Stan Patrol SPA 5009 which is due to be delivered to the Republic of Cape Verde this month. Based on Damen’s Fast Crew Supplier (FCS) 5009, this vessel features a single ‘Axe Bow’ which delivers high speeds with low fuel consumption. More than 60 Damen Sea Axe vessels have already been delivered as Crew Boats and FCS but the Cape Verde craft is the first Offshore Patrol Vessel version.

The Sea Axe concept was developed for patrol boats by a steam combining Damen Shipyards, Delft Technical University, the US Coast Guard, the Royal Netherlands Navy, and Maritime Research Institute of the Netherlands (MARIN). Rather than bouncing over waves, the Sea Axe design cuts through them, limiting speed degradation due to wind and waves.

Extensive Finite Element Analyses showed that steel was the best construction material for the 50.02m LOA Stan Patrol 5009, enabling it to sail at maximum speed under all circumstances without distressing the crew or the ship itself. The propulsion system sees four main engines delivering a total installed power of 4,324 bkW and driving four propellers to deliver a maximum speed of 23 knots.

For further information contact Damen Shipyards Gorinchem, Tel: +31 (0)183 63 99 11, Fax: +31 (0)183 63 21 89, Email: info@damen.nl, Web: http://www.damen.nl

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

NORFOLK, Virginia -- The Virginian-Pilot reports that Congress has approved the Navy to spend up to $35 million to acquire both Austal USA-built Hawaii Superferries.

The report says, "A provision in the recently approved defense authorization bill will allow the transfer of the Huakai and the Alakai to the Navy, where they will become Department of Defense sealift vessels."

However, the report notes President Obama must first sign the bill.

Hawaii Superferry Inc. ordered Huakai and Alakai, 300-foot-long ferries that could hold more than 800 passengers and travel up to 35 knots, in 2004 under a $190 million contract.

The company planned to use them to ship people and goods around the different islands in Hawaii. But that state's Supreme Court effectively shut the service down in March 2009 when it ruled that a state law allowing the company to operate while an environmental study was being conducted was unconstitutional.

Two months later, the company filed for bankruptcy with $136.8 million outstanding on two Maritime Administration loans, and $22.9 million outstanding on a pair of loans from Austal, according to a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

In October 2010, the Maritime Administration bought the boats, using its debt as credit. Austal has had to eat its loan.

The administration had planned to auction off the superferries this summer. Bids were due by July 20. Both ships were being sold as is, but had clear titles, according to administration officials.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

This month Damen Shipyards, Netherlands delivered the second FCS 2610 High Speed Support Vessel to the British company Marineco UK Ltd.with a further two to be delivered in 2012. This Twin Axe vessel has gained popularity in the support of offshore windfarms due to its remarkable seakeeping qualities allowing faster transits to and from the fields in bad weather. The design features a catamaran hull with Damen's unique Sea Axe Bow.

Caption: MV Marinco Shamal, the first Damen FCS 2610 High Speed

Support Vessel delivered to Marineco UK in summer 2011.

Image credit: Damen Shipyards / Marineco UK Ltd.

The draft increases at the bow to give an unusually deep bow giving the axe shape. This together with the straight bow and absence of flare allows the craft to cut through waves rather than ride over them, making for a much more comfortable passage. Peak accelerations are reduced by up to 75 per cent, resistance in calm water by up to 15 per cent and by up to 60 per cent in rough seas, when compared to a conventional catamaran hull of similar displacement. In an example of how higher speeds can be maintained, Marineco compares a five hour journey on one of their conventional catamarans to the Twin Axe cat that now cuts the time down to half an hour.

FCS 2610 has a crew of up to four persons and 12 passengers. The hull and superstructure are aluminum and the LOA is 86 ft (26.3 m), beam 34 ft (10.4 m) and maximum draft of 7.2 ft (2.20 m). Twin Caterpillar C32 ACERT diesel engines of 895 kW each at 2000 rpm propel fixed pitch propellers through Reintjes ZWVS 440/1 two speed gearboxes giving a top speed of 27 kn and cruising speed of 20 kn with a range of 1210 nm.

The foredeck has ample working space and includes a large 20 ton deck crane. On-deck storage space is suitable for a variety of cargoes including containers and there is a spacious diving platform.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Kvichak Marine Industries, of Seattle, WA, has recently been awarded a contract to build a 65’ passenger catamaran for the Chemehuevi Transit Authority of Lake Havasu, California.  The vessel will operate as a ferry on Lake Havasu, with ports of call at Lake Havasu City on the Arizona side and at Havasu Landing on the California side.   This project will be partially funded by a U.S. Department of Transportation Ferry Boat Discretionary award. 

Designed by Kvichak Marine, the 150-passenger cat is powered by twin MTU series 60 diesel engines, rated for 600 HP @ 2100 RPM, and fitted to ZF 550 marine gears.  Construction will commence on this all-aluminum, 64’6” x 24' catamaran in February 2012. The vessel will operate at a service speed of 20+ knots and will be capable of operating with a crew of three.

Delivery is scheduled for October 2012.

Additional vessel features include:

  • LOA 64’6” 
  • Beam 24’
  • Fuel capacity 1200 gallons
  • (2) MTU series 60 diesels
  • (2) Northern Lights 20kW generators
  • Furuno electronics package
 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Boeing and Jakarta-based Lion Air have finalised a firm order for 201 737 MAXs and 29 Next-Generation 737-900ERs (extended range).

The agreement, first announced last November in Indonesia, also includes purchase rights for an additional 150 airplanes.

“The 737 MAX is the best choice for Lion Air and the best airplane to serve our passengers,” said Rusdi Kirana, Lion Air founder.

“We are excited to be the first airline in Asia to fly the 737 MAX and to be the global launch customer of the 737 MAX 9.”

With orders for 230 airplanes valued at $22.4 billion at list prices, this deal is the largest commercial airplane order ever in Boeing’s history by both dollar value and total number of airplanes.

Lion Air will also acquire purchase rights for an additional 150 airplanes.

“Lion Air has been a leader in Indonesia from the very beginning,” said Dinesh Keskar, vice president of Asia-Pacific and India Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“Today more people are flying in Asia at lower fares because of the 737 and this historic 737 MAX order will help connect more people in the future.”

The 737 MAX is a new engine variant of the world’s best selling airplane and builds on the strengths of today’s Next-Generation 737.

The 737 MAX incorporates the latest-technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.

Airlines operating the 737 MAX will see a ten-12 per cent fuel burn improvement over today’s most fuel efficient single-aisle airplanes and a seven percent operating cost per seat advantage over tomorrow’s competition.

To date, the 737 MAX has orders and commitments for more than 1,000 airplanes from 15 customers and the Next-Generation 737 family has won orders for more than 6,600 airplanes.

Lion Air, Indonesia’s largest private airline, currently operates or has on order a total of 178 Next-Generation 737s.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Incat Marine to design fourth ferry for Tanzanian operator

Incat Crowther, Terrey Hills, N.S.W., Australia, is to design a 45 m catamaran ferry for Coastal Fast Ferries of Tanzania. It will be the fourth vessel to be designed by Incat Crowther for the operator and will be built by shipbuilder Richardson Devine of Tasmania

Following the launch of Kilimanjaro III by Richardson Devine last year, Coastal Fast Ferries has continued to grow its operation. The extension of services to the island of Pemba with Kilimanjaro III has been so successful that the operator immediately considered how a fourth vessel could be used to gain the most out of the operation. Following a development process of close cooperation between shipbuilder, operator and designer, a 45m, 656-passegner quad-jet vessel was agreed upon. To be named Kilimanjaro IV, the new vessel will offer the operator a good balance of speed, passenger capacity and efficiency. 




The main deck has two partitioned passenger spaces -- an 86-seat business class cabin, and a 168-seat economy class cabin. Upstairs is a premium class cabin with 92 seats. All three of these cabins have their own independent boarding ramps on both sides of the vessel. Additional boarding is provided on the upper deck aft. 

Exterior economy class seating is provided on the upper aft deck (130 seats) and on the roof deck (90 seats). 

In addition to the increased passenger capacity, the vessel is notable for its large main deck luggage room, capable of carrying 32 suitcase carts. This room also gives the operator freight transfer capacity. Crew accommodations is provided in the hulls, where there are four  twin cabins and a bathroom. 

The vessel will be powered by a quartet of Cummins KTA 50 M2 main engines, giving commonality with the earlier vessels. Propulsion will be through Hamilton HM651 waterjets. The vessel will have a service speed of 34 knots, with a maximum speed of 36 knots. 

Length Overall:     44.7 m
Length Waterline:     42.9 m
Beam:     11.5 m
Draft Hull:     1.1 m
Depth:     3.9 m
Passengers:     656
Crew:     8
Fuel:     20 000 liters
Fresh Water:     2 000 liters
Sullage:     3 000 liters
Service Speed:     34 knots
Maximum Speed:     36 knots
Main Engines:     4 x Cummins KTA 50 M2
Installed Power:     4 x 1342kW @ 1900rpm
Propulsion:     4 x waterjets
Generators:     2 x Cummins 170kVA (ship's power) 1 x Cummins 17kVA (crew supply)
Construction Material:     Marine Grade Aluminum
Flag:     Tanzania
Class:     USL 1

February15, 2012

 

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

With budget pressures threatening to sink the South Shore’s ferries, supporters are giving the MBTA plenty of reasons to keep the routes afloat. They keep cars off the roads, offer commuters a faster route into Boston and provide economic support for businesses near their docks.

But there’s another argument for retaining these boats: Unlike other vehicles in the MBTA’s mass transit fleet, the ferries were manufactured here in Massachusetts, by a local company. The T’s buses and rail cars were made out of state, by out-of-state firms. (Although the newer Green Line trolleys were assembled in Littleton, by Italy’s AnsaldoBreda.)

Somerset-based Duclos Corp., which has done business as Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding since its launch on the Taunton River in 1955, has become the dominant manufacturer of catamaran ferries on the East Coast in recent years. The last of Massachusetts’ commercial shipbuilders, Gladding-Hearn has been owned and run by the same family since George Duclos bought out his two partners Preston Gladding and Richard Hearn in 1983.

President Peter Duclos says Gladding-Hearn started out in the 1950s building steel fishing boats. The product line expanded over the years to include an array of pilot boats, tugs, research vessels and patrol boats. But the ferries are the ones that are most familiar to people who live and work in Greater Boston. Duclos says his company first entered the “fast cat” business in the 1980s after signing a licensing agreement with Australian manufacturer Incat Crowther.

Gladding-Hearn’s first two fast ferries went to Mackinac Island in Lake Huron, the start of a profitable adventure. Duclos estimates that roughly half of his company’s orders in the past decade have been for ferries, which take about a year to manufacture.

The company, Duclos says, is working on two ferries right now. One will shuttle visitors to Dry Tortugas, a Florida island that’s even more remote than Key West. The other was ordered by Rhode Island Fast Ferry, which runs a seasonal ferry route between Quonset Point and Oak Bluffs. When those boats are complete, Gladding-Hearn will have made nearly 40 high-speed catamaran ferries.

Eight of those boats have landed in Boston Harbor. Duclos names them off like a proud parent. Quincy-based Boston’s Best Cruises operates the Flying Cloud and Lightning commuter boats, the Voyager for whale watches and some commutes, and the Nathaniel Bowditch for the seasonal trips between Salem and Boston. There are the three ferries run by Boston Harbor Cruises – the Aurora, Salacia and Nora Victoria – that travel to Winthrop, Hingham or Charlestown. And then there’s Bay State Cruise Co.’s Provincetown III, normally docked in South Boston but currently wintering in the Virgin Islands.

While the shipyard’s workforce has declined from about 160 people three years ago, Gladding-Hearn remains a major economic force in the Fall River area. Duclos says the company currently employs about 100 people, up from 80 about a year ago. The ferries can range in price from $4 million to $10 million, Duclos says, with the cost of construction roughly split evenly between labor expenses and materials.

The boat-building business isn’t easy, Duclos says, and Gladding-Hearn fights for just about every job it can get while a number of other shipyards in the Northeast have simply closed for good. Duclos attributes the company’s success to focusing on niche markets, like the fast cats, and having a family that works 12 hours a day to keep the business stable.

Bill Walker, co-owner of Boston’s Best Cruises, points to a number of reasons for Gladding-Hearn’s longevity. The company, he says, is run by smart people who provide reliable service and quality boats.

The Duclos crew picked a great ferry design by signing up with Incat, Walker says. That design, he says, ensured that his company’s first two commuter boats were 30 percent faster than the other ferries on the market, and burned up only about half as much diesel fuel.

The Flying Cloud and the Lightning together have about 2.8 million miles on them since they arrived in 1996, and they’re still going strong. Walker says there are only four or five shipbuilders in the country that can do what Gladding-Hearn can do.

Duclos recognizes that it can be tough to persuade Americans to leave their cars at home and hop on a bus, train or boat to go to work. His rule of thumb: A ferry route needs to be at least twice as fast as the equivalent trip by car to ensure success.

But Duclos obviously doesn’t think it makes sense for the MBTA to eliminate its ferry subsidies, just to save $3.7 million a year. Small ferries have a great safety record, Duclos says, and they require far less maintenance work than a commuter railroad route. The MBTA is probably the only public transit agency in the country that is currently looking to eliminate its ferry service, Duclos says. If anything, he says, ferries are becoming more popular in some metro areas.

The MBTA hasn’t made any final decisions yet, and the agency is under tremendous political pressure to keep these ferries going. But if the T does decide to end the subsidies, Gladding-Hearn could be affected if used boats are put back on the market, hurting the company’s chances of getting a new ferry-building job. If the commuter ferries go, that would also limit future opportunities for Duclos’ company to land manufacturing work in its home state.

Massachusetts has long ago lost its luster as a shipbuilding hub. But the one family-owned business that kept this tradition alive for six decades is exactly the kind of business that we should try to keep here for another six decades.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Austal has allocated its first shipbuilding project to its recently acquired shipyard in the Philippines. Construction of the vessel will commence in the first quarter of this year, and provide work through to November.

Austal acquired the shipyard in the West Cebu Industrial Park in Balamban, Cebu, in November last year as part of a strategy to regionalise its manufacturing base for commercial vessels. Austal is currently making significant investments to further enhance the shipyard’s capabilities. Workforce growth is expected in line with market demand, and the site allows for efficient expansion of the facility when future operational and market conditions require.

The first contract being undertaken is the first of a new Austal wind farm support vessel design, which will enable safer and more efficient transfers of crew and equipment to offshore wind turbines. The vessel is being built for Turbine Transfers, an existing Austal customer and well-established operator in the growing European offshore wind farm industry.

The 27.4-metre-long, 10.5-metre-wide vessel will be operated by three crew and be able to transfer wind farm technicians as well as deck cargo, stores and miscellaneous equipment up to 75 nautical miles offshore. It will operate at 23 knots. The new vessel is designed to operate in ocean areas of all European countries, including the demanding conditions of the North, Irish and Baltic Seas.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW



Incat Crowther has announced a contract to design ‘Kilimanjaro IV’, a fourth catamaran ferry for Coastal Fast Ferries in Tanzania.

Following the launch of ‘Kilimanjaro III’ last year, Coastal Fast Ferries has continued to grow its operation. The extension of services to the island of Pemba has been so successful that the operator immediately considered how a fourth vessel could be used. Following a development process of close co-operation between builder, operator and designer, a 45-metre, 656-passenger quad-jet vessel was agreed upon.

The main deck has two partitioned passenger spaces: an 86-seat business class cabin, and a 168-seat economy class cabin. Upstairs is a premium class cabin with 92 seats. All three of these cabins have their own independent boarding ramps on both sides of the vessel. Additional boarding is provided on the upper deck aft. Exterior economy class seating is provided on the upper aft deck (130 seats) and on the roof deck (90 seats).

In addition to the increased passenger capacity, the vessel is notable for its large main deck luggage room, capable of carrying 32 suitcase carts. This room also gives the operator freight transfer capacity. Crew accommodation is provided in the hulls, by way of four twin cabins and a bathroom.

As with the earlier vessels, ‘Kilimanjaro IV’ will be powered by a quartet of Cummins KTA 50 M2 main engines, driving Hamilton HM651 waterjets. The vessel will have a service speed of 34 knots, with a maximum speed of 36 knots.  

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW


Incat 37-meter Catamaran "Pharsara"


A 37-meter motor yacht designed by Incat Crowther is currently in the final stages of construction. In fact the "Phatsara" is almost ready to launch from her facilities. The idea behind the project was to create a yacht with large family ownership in mind. The hull and superstructure has been built in the latest technology from High Modulus. Phatsara is a twin hulled motor yacht, making her a catamaran and she can be easily converted for charter or luxury dive use. 

Phatsara boasts extensive accommodation for both family, guests and crew members. Looking at the whole situation Phatsara offers accommodation to 13-guests in five cabins with additional casual berths. There are enormous entertainment and outdoor areas giving the owners high flexibility in its usage. The massive deck spaces provide a perfect platform for long range cruising, large numbers of guests, fishing and diving and parties or functions. Phatsara is expected to launch March 2012. After completion she will be exhibited at the Singapore Yacht Show at the end of April 2012.

For more information:

Incat Crowther
Incat Crowther - Home

***

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Mon, 27 Feb 2012

The Regions: Southland 
 Fiordland

Real Journeys' new 138-person catamaran MV Titiroa took more than 120 guests on its maiden cruise of Lake Manapouri, after an official launch on Saturday.

The New Zealand-built vessel will take passengers on the first stage of their trip through Fiordland National Park to Doubtful Sound, cutting down on the number of crossings required by the older and smaller vessels it replaces.

Olive, Lady Hutchins, co-founder of Real Journeys-Fiordland Travel, attended the ceremony but it was her grand-daughter, Madeleine Peacock, who christened the catamaran.

It was named Titiroa after a mountain near Te Anau.

The guest of honour, Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno, congratulated Real Journeys for having "the courage to continue its investment into the region's future despite difficult times".

Real Journeys has also bought two new coaches to take visitors across Wilmot Pass to Doubtful Sound once they disembark from Titiroa and wharves at both ends of the lake have been upgraded and extended.

The vessel took five years of planning and research and 15 months to build, is almost 24m long, weighs about 55 tonnes and has a service speed of 24 knots.

 

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Southland District’s mayor made a thinly-veiled attack on Milford tunnel and monorail proposals when launching a new vessel on Saturday.

Mayor Frana Cardno was guest of honour in Manapouri at the launch of tourism company Real Journeys’ $5 million catamaran, MV Titiroa.

Cardno – who’s  recently attacked proposals for the Milford-Dart tunnel and a Fiordland monorail – praised Real Journeys as an environmental leader. 

“In today’s world, we need those leaders because, more and more, we can see our environment being attacked. 

“And this company has shown that they can work in our environment, that they leave it behind as it was before – and this is what we want for future generations.” 

Cardno praised the contributions of company founders, the late Les Hutchins and his wife, Olive, Lady Hutchins, who was present at the ceremony. 

“As we go up this lake, we can remember Les and Olive, because they were right up there in the ‘save the lakes’ campaign [to prevent the raising of lakes Manapouri and Te Anau for the Manapouri power project]. 

“I think that their whole caring about their environment really showed there, and that battle was won. 

“And we’re going to have other battles, we can all see, in the future, about our World Heritage area. 

“But we can use this company as an example that they can work in a World Heritage area and they don’t destroy our environment.” 

Cardno also praised Real Journeys for its courage to launch its new vessel in difficult times for tourism. 

The MV Titiroa, built in Wanganui, is almost 24m long, 7.5m wide, weighs about 55 tonnes and carries up to 138 passengers. 

Its principal role will be carrying visitors on the first leg of their journey to Doubtful Sound, where Real Journeys offers a three-hour cruise. 

The company takes about 45,000 passengers a year to Doubtful Sound. 

Queenstowner Bill Baylis, who’s chairman of Real Journeys, told guests: “This investment is tangible evidence of our desire to ensure that our plant is of a standard that continues to meet and exceed visitor expectations as we strive to deliver the best experience that we can to those come to those who come to enjoy this special part of New Zealand. 

“There’s been a lot of discussion recently about the tourism industry now facing less buoyant times than it has enjoyed in recent years, and there’s no doubt these times are challenging. 


 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

US Navy to buy two more catamarans from WA-based shipbuilder

  • From:AAP 
  • February 28, 2012 12:00AM

THE US Navy will buy two more high-speed catamarans from Western Australia-based shipbuilder Austal, taking total work on the group's program to more than $US1.45 billion ($1.36bn).

The US Navy has exercised contract options for the construction of the eighth and ninth Joint High-Speed Vessels (JHSVs).

The 100m-long, aluminium-hulled catamarans can transport more than 300 troops, plus vehicles, at a speed of more than 40 knots to a range of 1500km.

The two additional vessels will be constructed at Austal's shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

Austal managing director Andrew Bellamy said each new JHSV contract award reflected the US Navy's confidence in Austal and its products.

"That provides us with significant marketing leverage with which to grow our international defence business in ships, systems and support," he said.

Austal was awarded the contract for construction of the the first JHSV in November 2008. There were options for nine additional vessels to be struck between 2009 and 2013.

 

The first vessel, USNS Spearhead, is due for builder sea trials next month.

The second vessel, Choctaw County, is now taking shape, while modules for the third vessel are under construction.

Mr Bellamy said the new JHSV contracts would contribute to the company's stability and future growth.

"These substantial, multi-year projects provide predictable revenue and workload," he said.

"That enables us to plan our production approach to deliver high-quality, affordable ships in the most efficient way possible and to make and implement medium and long-term strategies."

Australia has no comparable vessels in service, although it pioneered the concept.

Between 1999 and 2001 it used a leased catamaran, made by Tasmanian shipbuilder Incat, to transport troops from Darwin to East Timor at the peak of military operations.

The US Navy and the US Marine Corps subsequently conducted their own trials using catamarans leased from Austal and Incat, leading to the establishment of the JHSV program, which could eventually involve 23 vessels.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Hampshire police invest £1.2m in new marine fleet

The force's current launches are being gradually decommissioned and sold off to help pay for the new boats.

A Lochin 366 launch, a catamaran and two 7.5m (24ft) rigid inflatables will go into service in the summer around the Solent area.

Det Insp Dave Jackson said: "The investment is of course significant but the return is invaluable."

Replacement 'economical'

He added: "Our three launches were commissioned in 2001 and had a workable life of about 10 years before we'd need to start investing in terms of repairs.

"Mariner V will soon need its engine replaced so it will be a lot more economical to replace the vessels and ensure effective maritime policing resources until 2022 than fork out to keep fixing the existing craft at great expense until they deteriorate beyond repair."

The new boats will be paid for by a central government grant of £500,000, with the constabulary paying the rest from its own budget.

In Dorset the police are undertaking a review of it marine policing capability.

Assistant Chief Constable Mike Glanville said: "This review is set against a backdrop of a significant reduction to the annual Dorset Police budget - which requires savings of £18 million from an annual budget of £120 million by 31 March 2014."

Although he said there would be no significant changes until after the 2012 Olympic security operation.

Sussex Police does not have a specific marine unit although its Specialist Search Unit does have two rigid inflatable boats.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

THERE was a buzz around the Gold Coast City Marina recently when the first ferry in about two decades was launched.

The $4 million, 24m ferry has been built by the crew at MEC (Marine Engineering Consultants) for use ferrying LNG construction contractors between Gladstone and Curtis Island.

The workers will have plenty to keep them occupied on the trip, since the catamaran has been fitted with wireless modems and several flat screen televisions, which use satellite But since the new boat has a cruising speed of 24 knots, the passengers may not have much time to stick their feet up and enjoy the technology.

MEC boss Murray Owen was having flash backs at the boat launch after being involved with the last company that built ferries here, Atlay Cats, in the early 1990s.

"They produced five from about 23 metres to 32 metres here," he said.

"They went to places like China and Hong Kong and I did the deliveries for them."

Mr Owen is hoping MEC will produce more and better ferries than Atlay Cats did back then and said the quick production of the first one for Riverside Marine, was bound to help.

"It was supposed to take eight months, but we built it in about 7," he said.

"I believe Riverside will need more ferries and we are hopeful of getting something out of them.

"I am confident we will produce more ferries."

Mr Owen said he was quoting to build ferries for other companies currently.

While MEC has never built a ferry before, the company did provide the aluminium construction for Brisbane CityCats and Sydney ferries.

"It is unique in a way for us, but not a big change," said Mr Owen.

MEC was established by Mr Owen four years ago and then two years on, he decided to focus on producing commercial vessels because of the slump in the luxury boat market.

The company also does a lot of refit work, particularly with super-yachts, and Mr Owen said the company's diversified approach had enabled him to keep about 50 staff and contractors during the downturn.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Incat Crowther announced the launch of a 24m Catamaran Ferry constructed by Marine Engineering Consultants.

Based on the successful Fantasea Sunrise (launched in 2011), Riverside Avalon is the first of three vessels contracted by Riverside Marine to ferry construction workers to the QCLNG project on Curtis Island.

As delivered, Riverside Avalon carries 246 passengers over two decks, with seats are arranged in forward facing rows. Three toilets, including one handicap toilet, are located on the main deck. An additional toilet is located on the upper deck.

Vessel boarding is via folding ramps midships and aft on both sides. These ramps are designed to interact with the ferry terminal pontoons in Gladstone and on Curtis Island. These ramps allow much faster turn around times and ease of berthing operations for crew.

This vessel has an array of features that are designed to give the vessel a second life upon conclusion of operation at the QCLNG plant.

Riverside Avalon features large aft swim platforms and additional support structure for an offshore rescue boat or for a reef transfer vessel. Additional sullage tanks are fitted to the hulls to facilitate waste pump-out from reef pontoons. As delivered, Riverside Avalon is in USL/NSCV 2010 1D survey, but has been designed to be easily transferred to USL/NSCV 1C survey for its second life.

A second-life seating layout has also been developed, which will feature lounges and booth seating.

Riverside Avalon is powered by a pair of Yanmar 6AYM-WET main engines, producing 610kW @ 1900 rpm. On recent sea trial, Riverside Avalon easily achieved its governed service speed of 25knots. Propellers were selected following studies that showed this was the most efficient propulsion package for the vessel at a service speed of 25 knots. Skegs have been fitted that have been specifically designed to protect marine life in the sensitive Gladstone environment.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW



The crew of Tûranor enlisted the help of armed professionals to protect itself from pirates as it circumnavigated the globe in a solar ship. Photo: PlanetSolar

The crew of a ship attempting a solar-powered trip around the world hit an unwelcome milestone when it encountered — and evaded — pirates off the coast of Somalia.

We’ve been following the PlanetSolar team since before it even built the the solar-powered catamaranTûranor. We last checked in with them in January, when the ship set off from Doha around the Horn of Africa. Things were going well enough until Feb. 16, when expedition leader Raphaël Domjan spotted a suspect ship possibly under the command of pirates.

It was a moment the crew had been dreading since it began planning the journey in 2006. The situation in countries surrounding the Gulf of Aden had only worsened in the intervening years, so the Tûranorcrew took extreme precautions. Working with the former chief of the Swiss army, it developed a comprehensive security plan that included defensive and offensive measures.

 

First, the boat’s points of access were wrapped in barbed wire to prevent pirates from boarding. In addition to the four crew members, six former elite soldiers in the French army were dispatched to provide any firepower the crew may need. The ship didn’t have any fossil fuels on board, but for the Gulf of Aden crossing it sure had plenty of guns and ammunition.

“We have to wear flak jackets and helmets. The men in charge of our security have also trained using live ammunition. It was impressive to see the spray of water resulting from the firearms, the cartridges falling on our solar panels and the noise,” Domjan said. “This is a sad first: The first firing from a solar boat.”

 



Argh! Photo: PlanetSolar

Because those firearms were on board, the crew also had to ensure the boat could make the 2,000-mile journey without any emergencies since neighboring countries such as Yemen would not allow a weapon-laden ship to make landfall. To avoid detection by pirates, the ship sailed in darkness, saving energy stored in batteries for any evasive maneuvers that might be necessary.

 

Having made such precautions, it was no less nerve racking when the pirates’ ship appeared on the horizon. The Tûranor changed course and began observing the pirates, with Domjan taking photos through a telephoto lens.

“To be that close of such individuals is strange scary feeling,” Domjan said. “Finally, we show that we are protected and well equipped and, after observing and carefully avoiding each other, this suspect boat continue[s] its way opposite to ours. We will not see it again, all the better.”

After the encounter, the Tûranor continued on its way with a stop in Djibouti to replenish supplies. From then on, it’s relatively smooth sailing. The PlanetSolar team expects to arrive in Monaco on May 4, completing the circumnavigation.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Damen Ferry Ordered for China Service

press release

Tuesday, March 06, 2012, 7:23 AM

 



DFe 3508, a 35m Aluminium Luxury Sightseeing Ferry.

Damen Shipyards and Afai Southern Shipyard contracted to build 35 m ferry for Liuzhou Yinliu Hotel Management.

 

Liuzhou Yinliu Hotel Management Co. Ltd. (China) has ordered a Damen Ferry 3508 with Afai Southern Shipyard (China). The DFe 3508 is a 35m Aluminium Luxury Sightseeing Ferry and is designated for the municipal government of Guangxi Liuzhou. As Liuzhou is the main business port of the Guangxi Zhuang region, the city will use the ferry for receiving both government and industry representatives for official meetings and sightseeing tours along the Liujiang River. Delivery is scheduled in the first quarter of 2013.

 

The DFe 3508, the first one of its kind, is specifically designed for this client and this application. It has a passenger capacity of 100 persons. The ferry is outfitted with a conference room, a VIP-room and spacious passenger rooms with extensive catering facilities.

 

Damen Shipyards China 

According to Henk Grunstra, Product Director Fast Ferries at Damen’s HQ in Gorinchem (The Netherlands), the current newbuild is a good example of high quality euro-asian cooperation. “We are complementary to a high degree with our partners in China. From an early stage, Damen has been monitoring the development of Chinese shipyards and slowly we’ve started to cooperate with some of the best of them. In addition Damen was the first European shipbuilder with its own shipyard in China. Over the years Afai Southern’s production capacity and capability has grown. They match with Damen’s vessel designs and our approach to shipbuilding.”

 

Afai Southern – Damen cooperation
 

The aluminum ferry has been designed by Damen Shipyards and will be built by Afai Southern. The two shipyards work in close cooperation since 2001 to build aluminium vessels. Amongst other ships, this has led to the two biggest aluminium vessels built in China, i.e. two 85m RoPax ferries delivered to Turkish ferry operator IDO.

 

Damen exports ferries to clients all over the world, e.g. in Singapore, Dubai and Turkey. Afai Southern and Damen Shipyards closely cooperate as to business and production standards. Afai Southern continuously invests in business management, production technology and the training of its personnel in order to deliver high quality vessels that meet the requirements of the world’s classification bureaus.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

In conjunction with prime contractor BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Alabama, Austal USA, has completed a  four month drydocking and shipyard availability for the Sea Fighter (FSF-1).

The Panama City, Fla., based Sea Fighter is an aluminum catamaran operated by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) that has been used to test technologies for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) programs. 

Under a very aggressive schedule, Austal workers installed a new Counter Measure Washdown (CMWD) System designed to help keep future Naval combatants operational in a nuclear, biological or chemical battle-space. Other Austal work items included the modification of ballast tanks and the installation of water jet skirts on both hulls.

Austal's pipe department installed a fuel centrifuge piping system that which will allow the crew the opportunity to remove fuel contaminants. Other work items included the manufacture of aluminum ladders and work platforms for the water jets, along with repair of the aluminum hull. 

This work was completed on time and on budget.

Austal also provided technical support during successful sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico.

Austal USA's President and Chief Operating Officer, Joe Rella said: "The successful completion of the Sea Fighter availability speaks to the inherent advantages of utilizing the subject matter expert for repair and maintenance of the vessels they build. It was rewarding to see both shipyards work together in Mobile exploiting the synergies of our two side-by-side facilities. We hope the Navy will consider Mobile-based shipyards teamed with Austal USA for future support of the Navy's repair and maintenance activities that would require a drydock."

"One of the ways to obtain growth in tough economic times is through teaming and partnerships," said Vic Rhoades, Director and General Manager of BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Alabama. "Completion of the Sea Fighter project is a shared success and a tribute to the highly-skilled men and women of both BAE Systems and Austal USA. The vessel spent a total of 91 days at BAE Systems' facility, including 72 days on dry dock. This project is a testament to both companies' commitment to generate additional business opportunities in the Mobile area."

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

MUSKEGON – A sign of the upcoming summer tourist season comes with Monday’s opening of reservations for The Lake Express high-speed ferry service between Muskegon and Milwaukee.

The Lake Express, a Muskegon to Milwaukee 192-foot aluminum catamaran car and passenger ferry, enters the Muskegon harbor from Lake Michigan.

Early signs for the Milwaukee-based passenger and vehicle ferry show  the improving economy is giving a boost for early-season plans for summer vacations, Lake Express officials said.

The Lake Express schedule will be the same as last year but 2012 rates have been significantly reduced. The 192-foot ferry that carries 250 passengers and 46 vehicles will begin operating May 4 and conclude the sailing season Nov. 4.

The 2012 fares will cost of a family of four – two adults, two children and one vehicle -- $341.50 for a one-way trip and $590 for a round trip. That is 19.7 percent lower than 2011 for one-way and 14.6 percent lower than last year’s round trip. Customers can begin making reservations Monday through the Lake Express website at http://www.lake-express.com or by calling the reservation center at 1-866-914-1010.

Because of increasing operating costs, especially for fuel, Lake Express fares increased about 10 percent last year. It used various discounts last year to ease the cost of traveling on the service, but it is offering a new senior discount this year for premier cabin seating.

“We looked at our rates for 2012 to create a real value for a premiere service that provides excellent customer service,” said Jill Emery, Michigan marketing and sale manager for Lake Express. “We think we have the right rates for 2012 and we’ve had a positive reaction from our initial group sales.”

Lake Express continues to have higher fares than competitor Lake Michigan Carferry, which runs the S.S. Badger between Ludington and Manitowoc. For 2012, Lake Express fares for a family of four are 21.8 percent more for a one-way trip and 19.9 percent more for a round trip than the Badger, according to the two ferry services’ websites.

A major difference in the Lake Express and Badger rates are fees for fuel and security. The listed rates for passengers and vehicles are similar with the two ferry services but Lake Express charges each passenger and vehicle a $3.75 fuel charge and $3.75 security fee for each crossing, while the Badger has just a $9.95 security fee per reservation order.

The improving economy and gasoline prices that already have hit $4 per gallon well before the summer travel season begins are expected to help both ferry services this year.

“Certainly we are a value choice,” Emery said, when considering gasoline prices for driving around Lake Michigan through Chicago. “And it is a fun experience that allows you to avoid the traffic through Chicago and not have to pay this summer’s gas prices.”

Lake Express is a two-and-a-half hour trip between Muskegon and Milwaukee on a catamaran ferry cruise across Lake Michigan at about 40 mph. The historic coal-fired S.S. Badger, whose owner is in a struggle to secure discharge permits to dump coal ash into Lake Michigan beyond the 2012 sailing season, is a 410-foot traditional lake ferry that takes four hours between ports.

Howard Schultz, 65, of Twin Lake uses a metal detector in Muskegon Lake as Lake Express arrives into the Muskegon harbor last August.

Lake Express will begin its 2012 sailing season Friday May 4 and will end Sunday Nov. 4. The spring and sailing schedule is again for two round trips a day from May 4 to June 30 and Sept. 4 to Nov.4, while there will be three round trips a day July 1 to Sept. 3.

The sailing schedule is the same as last year with the two-round trips leaving Muskegon at 10:15 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. and the three-trip schedule adding an 11 p.m. departure. The Lake Express departs Milwaukee at 6 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and also at 7 p.m. during the mid-summer months.

The Lake Express is entering its ninth season of operation as Lubar & Co. of Milwaukee had the aluminum-hull, diesel-powered jet boat built in Mobile, Ala. that began service in 2004. The vesselexperienced several engine issues that took it out of service in 2011, significantly delaying the beginning of the season and for two weeks at the end of July for repairs.

Emery said that the engine issues have been resolved for 2012.

All signs are for an increase in business for 2012 as the Upper Midwest pulls out of the Great Recession. Lake Express’ website traffic has doubled so far this year even before the rates were announced and the reservation system open, ferry officials said.

“Our bookings for group travel have been great to start the year,” Emery said. “I believe Michigan and Wisconsin has a lot to offer and we are hoping for nothing but a great tourist season.”

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Olympics catamaran to aid Canary Wharf

One of London’s biggest business districts is drafting in a 170-seater catamaran as part of a series of measures to get staff into work during the Olympics.

The Canary Wharf Group is hoping staff will use the special nine-minute shuttle service along the river Thames from London Bridge to avoid expected delays on the Jubilee line.

Drew Gibson, the head of business continuity at CWG, said the service would enable thousands of workers to get to Canary Wharf at peak times.

He added that companies based at the east London estate were working together to ensure the district stayed open for business this summer. “It’s very much the blitz spirit here,” he said.

Thames Clipper, which will operate the service, said it would be open only to employees at Canary Wharf, on a first-come first-served basis, and that normal fares would apply. The boat is one of the largest in Thames Clipper’s fleet.

“When there are problems with the Jubilee line or when there is planned Tube disruption, we’re very versatile and flexible in what we can do,” said Sean Collins, the director of Thames Clipper.

Nearly 100,000 people work at Canary Wharf, which sits within three miles of 20 Olympic venues.

The Docklands property developer said there would be a 25 per cent reduction in peak time demand on the public transport network during the games, through flexible working and the use of alternative routes, including river services.

Transport for London has also agreed to run four empty westbound Jubilee line trains from Canary Wharf at evening peak times during the games.

 

 

 

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

India -

Twenty-seven years after it was formulated, the Water Transport Project has finally got some impetus. The Maharshtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has floated tenders for the Nariman Point-Borivli ferry service. “Once we finalise the tenders we expect the project to be completed in two years,” MSRDC chief engineer Subhash Nage said.

If the project takes off without any hiccups, by January 2015, commuters would be able to hop on board a catamaran at Borivli and land at Nariman Point.

The fare for the journey is expected to be between Rs200 and Rs250.

The MSRDC had floated tenders for the same project twice earlier. But on both occasions, doubts over the ability of private companies to undertake the project saw the proposals fizzle out.

This time, the MSRDC has decided to limit the role of private companies.

It will now spend Rs753.44 crore from its own pocket to create passenger terminals at six locations — Borivli, Marve, Versova, Juhu, Bandra and Nariman Point.

The MSRDC has floated a tender for construction of these terminals.

It has also floated a separate tender for the operation of service.

The successful bidder will have to procure hovercrafts and catamarans and operate them.

The Maharshtra State Road Development Corporation is looking at deploying a total of 39 vessels including 11 hovercrafts and 28 catamarans.

Once completed, the project is expected to serve close to 80,000 passengers every day. Nage said the vessels would run at a frequency of 15 minutes during peak hours and 30 minutes during non-peak hours.

 

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Catamaran to ferry commuters from Canary Wharf to London Bridge during the Olympics

By Nadia Sam-Daliri 
Thursday, March 15, 2012 
4:25 PM

Canary Wharf chiefs are hiring a 170-seater catamaran to ferry people between the financial district and London Bridge during the Olympics.

The move comes alongside a number of other transport initiatives to ensure the area “will be open for business,” while the Games take place.

The Canary Wharf Group, which owns and manages the estate, announced today that the service, hired from Thames Clipper, will run during peak morning and evening rush-hour periods to ease pressure on other links.

The only times a catamaran has been hired before have been during Tube strikes and the charges will be same as usual.

In addition to the boat, Transport for London is providing four more trains per hour on the Jubilee Line - taking the total number to 30 - as part of a long-term target.

Furthermore, during busy periods, four westbound trains an hour will begin their journeys from Canary Wharf instead of Stratford, meaning that Wharf workers will not be faced with streams of full-to-capacity carriages.

Last week 300 bike hire docking stations were opened in Canary Wharf and a further 2,000 conventional bike racks will be set up before the Games start.

Howard Dawber, strategic advisor for CWG, said: “The plans will ensure that offices, shops, bars and restaurants will continue to be staffed, helping the local economy to remain buoyant.”

Usual peak-time commuter numbers are expected to drop by a quarter during the events.

But other times - notably the evening rush hours of Friday August 3 and Monday August 6 to Thursday August 9 - are likely to face “significant disruption”, according to the group.

Transport chiefs have warned of waits longer than half an hour and so commuters are being encouraged to avoid these times which coincide with the prime events finishing.

Alongside enhancements for commuter travel, CWG is supplying shops and firms with containers to store stationary and stock supplies so that delivery vehicles do not need to enter the area during the Games.

Essential deliveries will run at night.

 

 

 

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

GRAND PRAIRIE -- Almost 40 years later, Grand Prairie resident Ben Lecomte still recalls learning to swim off the southwestern coast of his native France and developing a yearning for the open water at age 5.

During those happy, sunlit hours, his father's hands held him steady at the water's surface, matching the Atlantic tide wave for wave and cementing an everlasting bond between boy and man, boy and ocean.

Lecomte honored those bonds in 1998 when he became the first person credited with swimming across the Atlantic. He undertook the exhausting 73-day, 3,716-mile journey to raise money forcancer research in memory of his father, who died of colon cancer.

But making one international splash wasn't enough for Lecomte, a father of two with a master's degree in architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington.

In mid-May, he'll embark on a quest to become the first to swim across the Pacific, hoping that millions of people following along on Facebook, Twitter and his website will find the inspiration to overcome whatever challenges their lives have brought.

"What I'm doing is scary," said Lecomte, 44. "I know I have to push myself, push my limits. I want others to see that they can take chances and move out of their comfort zone."

How it will work

The Pacific swim will start in Tokyo and end in San Francisco. Lecomte, accompanied by a five-person crew aboard a catamaran, plans to swim about eight hours a day, with a break every four hours. Crew members will toss him liquids every half-hour to keep him hydrated; every hour, he'll receive an energy bar or the like. He'll rest aboard the boat each night and take cover there when the seas get too rough.

As in 1998, a sonar device will be deployed to ward off sharks, and crew members will also keep watch.

"When I swam the Atlantic, I had a shark follow me for five days," Lecomte said. "It's not a question of if, but when."

He learned the hard way in 1998 not to overdo it, too. The cold water and strenuous daily exercise left him exhausted, and so when a piece of equipment broke down, the boat took a 350-mile detour to the Azores, where he spent several days recovering.

"I have to listen to my body," said Lecomte, whose advisers include renowned experts on physiology, kinesiology and swimming. "I'll need to consume at least 8,000 calories a day. If I need to sleep an extra hour, I will. If I can get in an extra hour swimming, I will."

Unlike on his Atlantic trip, which drew a degree of skepticism because the support boat drifted with the current each night, presumably cutting down on the distance he had to swim, he'll begin each segment of the Pacific journey at the exact spot -- marked by GPS -- where the previous segment ended.

Connecting online

The boat will also be equipped with computers and satellite phones to connect his followers with him in real time.

His website, thelongestswim.com, will carry up-to-the-minute multimedia reports on his position, the weather conditions, the health and mental status of Lecomte and his crew, and the ocean life they encounter.

California-based Ridgeline Entertainment plans a documentary series on the journey and hopes to interest a network in airing it, Executive Producer Ken Ferrari said. Its co-founder and CEO, Doug Stanley, a producer of the Emmy-winning TV show Deadliest Catch, is involved in the project.

Lecomte's undertaking, Ferrari said, is easily a metaphor for the daily struggles that many Americans face and is reflected in the tagline "Swimming Against the Tide."

At the moment, the project has no financial backers. Lecomte is taking time off from work to focus on his training.

"It's symbolic of the situation of many people," Ferrari said. "We help each other out. We're all in this together."

Ferrari hopes that the project brings the power of emotion and human potential to a wired culture that desensitizes people. The goal is to encourage followers to share their ideas, network with others "and bring back the American dream."

What better place to start, he said, than Texas, which has dodged much of the economic pain felt elsewhere in the United States?

And what better person to carry the message than Lecomte, whose rugged pioneer spirit symbolizes the independent cowboy?

"We want people to feel something that will sustain them," Ferrari said. "Ben has an honor code inside that very few people realize they have within themselves, and we want to bring that out. We want to create a witness to the power of this technology."

After his grueling effort in 1998, Lecomte's first words when he staggered ashore were "Never again." But as time passed and he regained his energy, his focus returned to the endless horizon, his dreams to the life-giving sea.

"For me, it's a way of life," he said. "It's a journey. I feel like I'm at home when I'm in the water."

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/03/15/3813643/grand-prairie-man-looks-to-swim.html#storylink=cpyDuring those happy, sunlit hours, his father's hands held him steady at the water's surface, matching the Atlantic tide wave for wave and cementing an everlasting bond between boy and man, boy and ocean.

Lecomte honored those bonds in 1998 when he became the first person credited with swimming across the Atlantic. He undertook the exhausting 73-day, 3,716-mile journey to raise money for cancer research in memory of his father, who died of colon cancer.

But making one international splash wasn't enough for Lecomte, a father of two with a master's degree in architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington.

In mid-May, he'll embark on a quest to become the first to swim across the Pacific, hoping that millions of people following along on Facebook, Twitter and his website will find the inspiration to overcome whatever challenges their lives have brought.

"What I'm doing is scary," said Lecomte, 44. "I know I have to push myself, push my limits. I want others to see that they can take chances and move out of their comfort zone."

How it will work

The Pacific swim will start in Tokyo and end in San Francisco. Lecomte, accompanied by a five-person crew aboard a catamaran, plans to swim about eight hours a day, with a break every four hours. Crew members will toss him liquids every half-hour to keep him hydrated; every hour, he'll receive an energy bar or the like. He'll rest aboard the boat each night and take cover there when the seas get too rough.

As in 1998, a sonar device will be deployed to ward off sharks, and crew members will also keep watch.

"When I swam the Atlantic, I had a shark follow me for five days," Lecomte said. "It's not a question of if, but when."

He learned the hard way in 1998 not to overdo it, too. The cold water and strenuous daily exercise left him exhausted, and so when a piece of equipment broke down, the boat took a 350-mile detour to the Azores, where he spent several days recovering.

"I have to listen to my body," said Lecomte, whose advisers include renowned experts on physiology, kinesiology and swimming. "I'll need to consume at least 8,000 calories a day. If I need to sleep an extra hour, I will. If I can get in an extra hour swimming, I will."

Unlike on his Atlantic trip, which drew a degree of skepticism because the support boat drifted with the current each night, presumably cutting down on the distance he had to swim, he'll begin each segment of the Pacific journey at the exact spot -- marked by GPS -- where the previous segment ended.

Connecting online

The boat will also be equipped with computers and satellite phones to connect his followers with him in real time.

His website, thelongestswim.com, will carry up-to-the-minute multimedia reports on his position, the weather conditions, the health and mental status of Lecomte and his crew, and the ocean life they encounter.

California-based Ridgeline Entertainment plans a documentary series on the journey and hopes to interest a network in airing it, Executive Producer Ken Ferrari said. Its co-founder and CEO, Doug Stanley, a producer of the Emmy-winning TV show Deadliest Catch, is involved in the project.

Lecomte's undertaking, Ferrari said, is easily a metaphor for the daily struggles that many Americans face and is reflected in the tagline "Swimming Against the Tide."

At the moment, the project has no financial backers. Lecomte is taking time off from work to focus on his training.

"It's symbolic of the situation of many people," Ferrari said. "We help each other out. We're all in this together."

Ferrari hopes that the project brings the power of emotion and human potential to a wired culture that desensitizes people. The goal is to encourage followers to share their ideas, network with others "and bring back the American dream."

What better place to start, he said, than Texas, which has dodged much of the economic pain felt elsewhere in the United States?

And what better person to carry the message than Lecomte, whose rugged pioneer spirit symbolizes the independent cowboy?

"We want people to feel something that will sustain them," Ferrari said. "Ben has an honor code inside that very few people realize they have within themselves, and we want to bring that out. We want to create a witness to the power of this technology."

After his grueling effort in 1998, Lecomte's first words when he staggered ashore were "Never again." But as time passed and he regained his energy, his focus returned to the endless horizon, his dreams to the life-giving sea.

"For me, it's a way of life," he said. "It's a journey. I feel like I'm at home when I'm in the water."

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

N 1971 SHE sailed around the world in a catamaran. More than 30 years later, she circumnavigated the globe again – in a pair of trainers. Rosie Swale became a 1970s celebrity when she embarked on a round-the-world trip with her first husband, Colin Swale, their daughter, Eve, and the most basic of navigation equipment. The media followed her journey very closely, not least because she spent much of the trip naked. Sunday tabloids regularly ran pictures of her nude 
in the ship’s rigging.

 

Sailing around the world had its hazards – she fell overboard 1,450km (900 miles) from land and the family suffered arsenic poisoning from unsoaked beans. But running round the world (fully clothed, we hasten to add) was no less dangerous: Swale nearly froze to death in Alaska, was stalked by wolves, and got hit by a bus in Russia. However, her round-the-world jog – which she set off on in 2003 and completed five years later – was just the latest in a list of incredible feats of stamina and endurance. In her career as an adventurer, Swale has crossed the Atlantic solo, ridden through Chile on horseback, and run through Iceland, the Sahara, Albania, Romania, Cuba, South Africa and Nepal.

Compared with these super-marathons, running 380km (236 miles) along Ireland’s east coast from Rosslare to the Giant’s Causeway in 2009 was a doddle (although she did find the Wicklow Mountains a bit tricky).

Swale was no stranger to Ireland, as she grew up in her grandmother’s cottage in Co Limerick. She was born Rosie Griffin in Davos, Switzerland. Her father was an Irish soldier who served in the British army; her Swiss mother died when she was two, and she was sent to live with her grandmother, Carlie, in Askeaton.

Young Rosie’s early childhood was spent looking after her sick gran, along with several donkeys, goats and a cow. When she wasn’t being schooled at home, she was out riding her horse in the countryside. Her taste for adventure manifested itself in her late teens, when she hitch-hiked alone to such places as India, Nepal and Russia. She met Colin Swale in her early 20s and they had two children, Eve and James. After they divorced, she met and married Clive Pope while preparing for her solo transatlantic trip. When Pope died in 2002 of prostate cancer, Swale Pope, as she is now known, made her round-the-world run to raise funds to fight the disease.

Throughout her very active life, Swale Pope has been a tireless fundraiser for various causes. These days, her constant companion is a cart called Icebird, her “home on wheels”, which she pulls behind her on her super-marathons. In January, the 62-year-old set off from Paris to Rome in aid of cancer research, although a knee injury just days into the journey has forced her to finish it with the aid of crutches. When she’s not out adventuring, she lives in the town of Tenby in Wales.

 

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