|Austhai Marine launches its AT1500 Samui power catamaran|
Following the success of Austhai Marine's AT1500 series catamarans already operating in Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, Austhai Marine recently launched the first of its new long awaited AT1500 Samui catamarans. The boat is a variation of Austhai Marine's successful AT1500 series catamarans designed by Dr Albert Nazarov from Albatross Marine Design and based on the same fuel efficient hull form. The project was started in 2014, driven by the changing needs of the local Thai market for a boat that is somewhat more elegant, but yet retains the robust functionality that is expected of commercially operating vessels.
The selection of layout, materials and onboard systems were all carefully thought through in order to withstand daily commercial use and keep the level of maintenance required by the operator and crew to a minimum. In order to meet the specific operating requirements of the first AT1500 Samui, Austhai Marine has installed a high power MPPT solar charging system which will keep the batteries charged even during overcast days. Such a system will pay for itself over time as a proportion of the energy required to charge the batteries is provided by solar panels instead of only the engine alternators doing all the charging, thereby resulting in fuel savings over the long term.
Another notable technical feature on the AT1500 Samui is the balanced hydraulic steering system, which makes the steering wheel extremely easy to turn, without the need for costly and maintenance prone power hydraulics. The AT1500 Samui has been designed with flexibility in mind and is available in several different layout configurations including diving and charter versions with several customization options available.
The boat features a spacious saloon and galley area that is able to cater comfortably to a large number of guests. The addition of a bowseating area creates a very "open" feeling when standing inside the saloon and adds to the overall feeling of comfort experienced onboard. Having two bathrooms, which are far more spacious than one would expect on a vessel of equivalent size, allows guests to easily change into and out of their wetsuits if the boat is to be operated as a dive boat.
A large composite roof structure provides shelter from the sun for those seated in the AFT deck seating area and also doubles as a very large sunbathing platform for guests on the flybridge who prefer to relax in the sun. The stability offered by the catamaran hulls drastically enhances the level of comfort experienced by those onboard and opens up many options for the operator to offer additional value added and/or complimentary services while underway.
The market for operating boats in holiday destinations such as Thailand is becoming increasingly competitive as guests are increasingly making use of social media platforms such as TripAdvisor to rate their experience and new customers often base their buying decision on reviews posted by others on these online platforms. The AT1500 Samui is designed to keep up with these changing market needs for a more value oriented experience.
Both the owner and Austhai Marine were very satisfied with the performance of the AT1500 Samui during sea trials, which met or exceeded the design specifications. The highly efficient AT1500 hull form propelled by twin Yanmar 440HP inboard diesel shaft drives managed to achieve a maximum speed of 26.5 knots during sea trials with exceptional fuel economy.
Sea trials were successfully completed on the 13th of May and the boat was then handed over to its owner, Calypso Diving, who sailed the boat from Ocean Marina Yacht Club to Koh Samui the following day. Calypso Diving, based on Koh Samui, is one of Austhai Marine's many longstanding repeat customers and the new AT1500 Samui is the second AT1500 series catamaran delivered to the company within the past 12 months. Overall, the AT1500 Samui represents the fourth boat that Austhai Marine has built for this company.
Austhai Marine currently has another AT1500 Samui under construction that will be launched in the near future. Updates and pictures will be posted on the company's Facebook page.