|SEAY Regional News|
Brisbane based Aluminium Marine is widely regarded as one of Australia's most respected shipyards, designing and manufacturing aluminium catamarans for the passenger ferry and eco-tourism markets. Their latest launching is a 250 seat ferry, powered by a pair of 670kW Yanmar 6AYWGT commercial marine diesel engines.
When the keel was laid for this vessel, Aluminium Marine did not have a signed customer for the hull. The New Zealand based Explore Group, a repeat Yanmar customer, quickly signed on with Aluminium Marine when they decided to expand their operations into the ferry market in NZ and required a new vessel on a short lead time to commence operations in Auckland before Christmas 2014. INCAT Crowther Designs and was based on the highly successful Spirit of Queenstown which was powered by the 478kW Yanmar 6HY-WET engine series, and now in operation for over 12 months. To meet Australian maritime regulations, the hull was being built to a length overall of 25m for a passenger load of 150 people. However, when the Explore Group signed on, the design parameters changed. New Zealand regulations permitted the hull to be longer and the passenger capacity was also increased to 250 people. As a result, the hull was lengthened in the aft area of the sponsons, providing a longer and well balanced hull design. The new boat was named Explore D6.
According to Jack Louwerse, Project Manager and Engineer at Aluminium Marine, the Explore D6 is a very efficient hull design. "This hull is a 'displaning' design which is noted for an incredibly smooth ride and unsurpassed efficiency," Jack Louwerse said. A 'displaning' hull shape combines the best attributes of a displacement and semi-planing hull. Displacement speeds offer low fuel consumption and longer range, while semi-planing hulls are noted for higher performance. A 'displaning' hull delivers both. "The vertical stems are more efficient than a raked entry as the vertical entry provides greater waterline length," Jack Louwerse said. "The vertical stems also provide greater hull buoyancy for'ard." Contributing significantly to the success of the Explore D6 is the choice of Yanmar 6AY-WGT engines, one mounted aft in each sponson. The power train incorporates Yanmar YXH-240 transmissions with a 2.27:1 reduction ratio, which feed the power via conventional shafts fitted with five blade counter-rotating props. The selection of the Yanmar 6AY-WGT engines was one jointly made by Aluminium Marine and the customer, the Explore Group. "The Yanmar 6AY-WGT is a very durable, powerful engine," Jack Louwerse said.
"As far as we are concerned as catamaran designers and builders, Yanmar is the only marine engine to specify as they are purpose designed for the marine environment. We looked over other brands and all we see are converted truck engines." Gaining the approval from the Explore Group to install the Yanmar engines was a mere formality. With another vessel in their fleet recently repowered with the Yanmar 6AY-WGT engine, the customer has already had a fair indication of the strong performance, low fuel usage and high reliability that other ferry owners have come to enjoy from these purpose built heavy duty marine engines. The Yanmar 6AY-WGT is a six in-line cylinder engine with a displacement of 20.39 litres and a rated power output of 911 mhp (670kw) at 1,938 rpm. The versatile 6AY Series is extensively used in many applications including heavy displacement work boats but also in many high speed applications such as passenger ferries, patrol craft and cray fishing boats.
Sea trials of the Yanmar powered Explore D6 have delivered impressive performance data. At wide open throttle the engines rev to 1970 RPM with the vessel recording a top speed of 29 knots. This was achieved with full fuel tanks of 4000 litres and a simulated passenger load of 100 people. "This is a very slippery, efficient hull design" said Jack Louwerse."The Explore D6 weighs in at 53 tonnes light ship, but with the addition of 250 passengers an additional 20 tonnes is added to the total weight. Fully loaded we expect the hull will still achieve 26 knots." The Explore Group operates a fleet of ferries, charter vessels and former Americas Cup yachts across both the New Zealand and Australian markets. The confidence of the Explore Group in both Aluminium Marine and Yanmar is unquestioned.
Thailand Tourism Minister Kobkarn is pushing hard to change regulations in Phuket and Thailand directly affecting Superyacht Owners.
Asia Pacific Superyachts has been lobbying hard with the government of Thailand to get visas and yacht-charter regulation laws changed. A special task force has been formed to come up with viable suggestions for changes to visas and yacht-charter regulations to help boost marine tourism in Phuket, with a working deadline for rolling out the changes by 2016. "The task force comprises officials from relevant government agencies, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Immigration Bureau," revealed Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the Thai Minister for Tourism & Sports Tourism Minister, in an exclusive interview with the Phuket Gazette. "We are working together to come up with suggestions for changes to visas and other regulations that would be best for the country," she said. "This includes changes that will boost the chartering of foreignflagged superyachts in Thai waters."
"Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has pledged his full support for bureaucratic changes to help boost marine tourism," Ms Kobkarn added. "Minister Prajin confirmed that he had met with PM Prayut, who he said pledged his full support for improving all aspects of marine tourism, including yacht and superyacht charters." Ms Kobkarn said she could not reveal any more details as any proposed changes had yet to be finalized. "This is an important issue, as any changes will affect different types of visas and businesses. We must also consider internal security and safety measures a top priority, but I will support the changes suggested because it means a lot for tourism," she said. "We hope to have new rules in place by the end of this year to help secure the island's position as the top yachting destination in the region." The move to overhaul the visas and laws regulating yacht charters follow a meeting with Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong and Gulu Lalvani, chairman of the Royal Phuket Marina, in January. At the meeting, Ms Kobkarn vowed to raise concerns voiced about crew visas and the chartering of foreign-flagged superyachts.
"Changing the regulations in order to develop our tourism is a must in response to heightened competition from other yachting destinations in the region," she said. "It will take time for the suggested changes to be presented to the Cabinet and approved, but we are making good progress."
Among the changes to ramp up marine tourism in Phuket is the push for a multi-million-baht harbor expansion at the Deep Sea Port at Ao Makham, Ms Kobkarn added. "Current regulations allow only one-year concessions to operate ports, but we are looking at what can be done to allow long-term concessions," she said.
"We are looking at becoming attractive hosts for yachts, cruise liners and superyachts – all for long-stay, not just short stays. "This is what we aim to do and I hope to have a clear picture set by the end of the year." www.asia-pacific-superyachts.com
A brand new sailing catamaran just launched by Fountaine Pajot is set to shake up the world's popular 40' market. Replacing the enormously successful Lipari 41 and Mahe 36, the design of the new Fountaine Pajot 40 has drawn inspiration from the shipyard's famous Helia 44 and Saba 50, offering superb luminosity and a spacious cockpit that comfortably accommodates eight people at its dining table. The catamaran's sleek lines are complemented by its stylish interior design that incorporates premium quality fixtures and finishes. The interior is beautifully light courtesy of large panoramic portholes and excellent ventilation. There is a generous choice of exterior relaxation areas and the spacious cockpit has been designed for easy entertaining at sea.
Following the success of last year's regatta, the 2015 Multihull Solutions Regatta – Phuket is shaping up to be one of the best events on this year's cruising calendar. Now in its eighth year, the Multihull Solutions Regatta – Phuket will be held from 9-12 July and is expected to have at least 25 multihulls participating, including a world first with the inclusion of four brand new Corsair Pulse 600s.
Multihull Solutions has renewed its major sponsorship of the event and is committed to remaining in partnership with organisers Ao Chalong Yacht Club for many years to come. The Early Bird Entry Fee offer has been extended until 15 June to allow more multihulls the opportunity to join this exciting event, which combines three days of exhilarating racing with a jam-packed social calendar. The regatta continues to be arguably the best value event of its kind in the southern hemisphere, with Early Bird entries costing only 3,500 Thai Baht per boat including skipper ($120 AUD) or 1,500 Thai Baht per crew member ($52 AUD).
The professional organisation, affordable fees, spectacular scenery and exceptional hospitality make the Multihull Solutions Regatta – Phuket an appealing regatta for both local sailors and multihull enthusiasts from Australia and New Zealand who escape for a tropical winter break on the water. With very competitive airfares and accommodation in Thailand, the regatta is a superb way to experience the region and its breathtaking cruising grounds. Participating multihulls in the 2015 regatta will include a range of Fountaine Pajot catamarans, which continue to be Multihull Solutions' most successful brand due to their superior performance, quality of construction and value for money.
The Multihull Solutions Regatta – Phuket 2014 is open to all multihulls (catamarans and trimarans) with an overall length greater than six metres that are acceptable to the race committee. Private and charter multihulls are welcome to enter, and the regatta is expected to comprise the following classes: Racing Multihulls with valid OMR ratings; Firefly 850 Sports One Design Class; Cruising Multihulls without OMR ratings; and Classic Multihulls.
Multihull Solutions Asia general manager Andrew de Bruin said the 2015 regatta is set to be a huge success. "We are thrilled to be onboard as a major sponsor for a second year, and are looking forward to working again with the ACYC to make the 2015 regatta one that sets a new benchmark for regional marine events," Andrew said. Following Multihull Solutions' success in Australia and New Zealand, the company officially expanded its operations to southeast Asia in early 2014 with its Thailand office based in Phuket's Boat Lagoon. The company is the exclusive distributor of Fountaine Pajot and Catana Catamarans in southeast Asia and also represents TAG Yachts, NEEL Trimarans and Privilège Catamarans in the region. The Multihull Solutions Asian team works closely with the Australian and New Zealand teams to ensure new and existing clients are comprehensively serviced throughout the entire Australasian region. This network also expands the company's pre-owned multihull brokerage, making it the largest in the Asia Pacific. Further information about the Multihull Solutions Regatta – Phuket 2015 can be obtained by contacting +66 8 1894 1530, emailing
or visiting the website at