Dalby Aire answers call of distant windfarms

Mon, 02 September 2013

Alicat Workboats has been building windfarm service vessels since Guardian 1 debuted at Seawork in 2009.

The Great Yarmouth UK based builder has produced a number of 18m and 20m craft since that time but, noticing the market has changed substantially over the last few years with the trend for windfarms to move ever farther from shore, started looking last summer at designs for a larger vessel.

Not only are larger vessels better able to continue working in harsh sea conditions, they also provide greater comfort for their passengers, often technicians with no experience of life at sea.

DNV rules for WFSVs published in January 2011 had given the industry an agreed construction standards accepted by regulators across the North Sea Basin. DNV rules freed operators to deploy compliant vessels to windfarm operations across Europe. Industry feedback and experience gained over the course of many design approvals led DNV to bring a revised set of rules into force from 1 July 2013 also clarifying rule requirements for equipment certification.

These considerations were all taken onboard when Alicat designed and began building an aluminium 22m WFSV to DNV rules for stock last autumn. The vessel features a double deck superstructure with the wheelhouse atop a spacious saloon which will accommodate 12 passengers, all resiliently mounted on soft mounts.

Meanwhile, East Yorkshire UK based Dalby Offshore Services Limited had already acquired three Alicat 20m WFSVs since moving into the renewable sector in 2010 and relaunching the brand as Dalby Offshore Renewables. With a successful relationship with Alicat already established, Dalby purchased what was to become the Dalby Aire while it was still under build. The vessel was sufficiently complete to make a maiden voyage to Southampton for an appearance on the floating pontoon at Seawork 2013. It subsequently returned to Alicat for final fitting out, with trials and customer acceptance to be completed this month.

With its specification driven by the DNV rules, Alicat’s newest can claim to be, along with Alicat owned South Boats Isle of Wight Ltd’s WFSVs, the only Class-built vessels complying with MCA Category 1.

The migration of offshore windfarms farther to sea has created a strong imperative for maximised fuel efficiency in WFSVs and the Alicat design team did lots of hull tweaking for this 22m model. The successful outcome is a vessel which delivers the same fuel economy as Alicat’s smaller 20m design while achieving a 24 knot cruising speed and 27 knots sprint.

Dalby Aire is powered by Caterpillar C32 main engines delivering 1,320 bhp at 2,100 rpm driving propellers supplied by Clements Marine through Twin Disc MGX 6620A QuickShift gearboxes. Also supplied are two Cummins Onan MDKBN 13.5kW gensets. There is onboard capacity for 8,500 litres of fuel as well as 1,000 litres of fresh water and 500 litres of black water.

With crew comfort and safety being given greater consideration than ever before, the input of Birmingham based KPM Marine to Dalby Aire has been considerable. The manufacturer’s Crew 100 suspension seats, Crew 100 captain’s seats and Crew 100 engineer’s seats all mitigate against fatigue, seasickness and potential shock and vibration related injury for those onboard. The suspension seats include arm rests, head rests and lap belts. KPM also supplied Dalby Aire with My Space consoles, air input systems, air output units and Predator pump systems.

Onboard provision also includes sleeping for four in two twin berth cabins, a galley and mess room, wet room and toilet, stainless steel sink with hot and cold water, an electric cooker, combi-oven, fridge freezer and air conditioning.

To help pass often long hours in transit, occupants of the passenger cabin are given a 322 LED TV, a DVD tuner located at the helm position, an LCD monitor and a Panasonic DDR.

NavComms and safety equipment was all supplied by Charity & Taylor, with wheelhouse fitments including Raymarine HD and Super HD radar, Furuno secondary radar, a Richie HF 742 satellite compass, an ICOM VHF marine transceiver and a Simrad AP35 autopilot. Outreach supplied the Bonfilioli PK7500 hydraulic crane.

Alicat’s first foray into DNV class boats has resulted in negotiations now being underway for a second 22m vessel to be built and the builder is also working on designs for a larger WFSV. Round 3 windfarms are driving demand for bigger, faster, safer, more comfortable and more versatile workboats to service ever more distant locations. In working together to develop Dalby Aire, Alicat Workboats and Dalby Offshore have positioned themselves well to answer the call.


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