Safehaven Marine successfully launched their first of class 22m XSV20 demonstrator ‘Thunder Child II’ in mid-February this year. XSV20 features an extremely innovative hull design fusing an asymmetrical catamaran with a wave-piercing mono hull to produce a hull that combines the excellent dynamic and transverse stability of a catamaran with the head sea capabilities of a deep V monohull, providing the best of both worlds. ‘Thunder Child II was tested extensively during the last two months and proved to have excellent seakeeping and performance during a range of trials in varying sea states right up to Force 10 and in 5m seas off the Atlantic coast of Ireland, during which she proved to be very sea kindly and soft riding with excellent stability. She has now been returned to Safehaven’s shipyard where she awaits final fit out, (she was initially launched in very basic spec), and the installation of her Hysucraft hydrofoil currently being manufactured in South Africa.
We originally planed upon attempting our 4,500km UIM approved Transatlantic record attempt from Canada to Ireland via Iceland and Greenland in July this year, however fully completing ‘Thunder Child II’ to the necessary high spec for such a voyage proved too much of a challenge, as Safehaven have a full order book till autumn 2020 with 6 pilot vessels under contract, and obviously priority had to be given to customer crafts necessitating a delay until July 2020 for our record attempt. The delay, whilst frustrating for us, will allow adequate time to fully complete Thunder Child II and undertake the essential testing beforehand, which just wouldn’t have been possible to achieve this year. Although it was an amazing achievement for Safehaven to have designed the unique hull and developed all the production mould and build the demonstrator, itself presenting multiple design challenges from her quad engine installation coupled four surface drives, providing the desirable redundancy for such an epic voyage. All of this was undertaken in just 15mths from commencement of work in Dec 2017, unfortunately it proved just too tight timewise to have been able to undertake the attempt this year.
We now plan on re-launching her after completion in September, in time for the Atlantic storms that arrive in wintertime allowing them to fully test her in conditions they missed this year with her late launch. The crew will also have adequate time to familiarise themselves with her capabilities and undertake a planned long distance trial run in advance of the voyage under her own steam to St Johns, Newfoundland once sea ice has cleared, where she will await a suitable weather window for the attempt itself.