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Specialist Pilot boat builders Safehaven Marine of Cork, have launched a new Interceptor 48 pilot boat for the Port of Coruna in Northern Spain.

‘Practicos Coruna Ochno’ is powered by a pair of Volvo D13 500hp continuously rated engines and ZF Gearboxes. Propulsion is by conventional stern gear turning 28” propellers giving her a 25-knots continuous operational speed. Capable of carrying seven pilots and crew all on shock mitigation seating comfortably in her spacious fully lined cabin with extremely low noise levels of 73db recorded.

Her central helm position with all-round visibilityHer central helm position with all-round visibility

She is proving very economical using just under 80 litres of fuel per hr on each engine at 25kts. She is heavily fendered all round and incorporating Safehaven’s sacrificial fender system protecting the vessel at her boarding area and softening the inevitable hard impact that can occur in poor conditions. Safehaven’s proven MOB recovery system is fitted on the transom allowing a casualty to be easily recovered in a MOB situation. A full suite of Garmin electronics is installed at her central helm position which provides excellent all-round visibility and control of the craft when undertaking alongside ship pilot transfers.

The new Interceptor 48 alongside the ‘Taccola’ dredger(Above and below) The new Interceptor 48 alongside the ‘Taccola’ dredgerDredgerDredger

Safehaven undertook extensive rough weather sea trials to fully test her and took advantage of being able to do multiple boarding trails alongside the ‘Taccola’ dredger that is operating in Cork harbour presently, demonstrating to clients how nicely she handles alongside and captured some cool photos and video.

spacious forward cabinSpacious forward cabinCapable of carrying seven pilots and crew all on shock mitigation seatingCapable of carrying seven pilots and crew all on shock mitigation seating

Over the next week, she will be prepared for yet another remote Covid forced handover, with the owners being unable to visit at all throughout her construction, which was managed through plenty of online videos and photos which proved very effective.

She is to be shipped to Coruna only a few weeks late in early October. Once in operation there Safehaven expect her to handle admirably the big ‘Bay of Biscay’ seas the port can experience this coming winter.

She is Safehaven’s fifth pilot boat supplied to Spain and 45th pilot boat built overall.

Interceptor 48 pilot boat Principle Dimensions

L.O.A. (Length overall) 14.9m
Beam overall (Including fenders) 4.4m
Draft (Depth of hull below waterline) 1.3m
Displacement Lightship 16,200kg
Fully loaded 18,800kg
Fuel capacity 1800 litres
Water capacity 110 litres
Crew capacity 7 persons
Engines Volvo D13 500hp
Gearboxes ZF500
Propellers 28” 4 blade equipoise
Seating KAB514 suspension seats
Electronics Radar, GPS, Sonar, VHF
Garmin 48nm, 15” & 12” displays, ECDS, Dual-beam graphic display
Icom VHF DSC x2
Subdivision 4 x separate watertight compartments
Classification PRS
Speed (continuous operation) 25kts

Published in Safehaven Marine
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Frank Kowalski's Safehaven Marine in County Cork set a new World powerboat record for Cork - Fastnet Rock – Cork yesterday, averaging 44.6 knots and here the Safehaven skipper reviews his record-breaking run.

As Afloat reported earlier, Safehaven Marine set a new over 50ft class Cork to the Fastnet Rock and back UIM World powerboat record in their 23m long XSV20 ‘Thunder Child II’ in a time of 2hrs 36 minutes averaging 44.6kts, recording a maximum speed of 53kts on the run. (subject to ratification by the UIM)

Thunderchild II makes her start at Weavers Point, Cork Harbour Photo: Bob BatemanThunderchild II makes a start on her successful record-breaking run at Weavers Point, Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

After a recce trip to the rock the day before, and with near-perfect conditions forecast, we made the decision to have a crack at setting the record the next day. Crossing the start line off Weavers Point at the entrance to Cork Harbour at 2 pm on Sunday the 9th of August in light winds and only a long Atlantic groundswell to contend with, we set off on the first leg heading West. Arriving at the Fastnet Rock 1hrs 21 minutes later we were surprised and delighted to see a huge flotilla of 40-50 boats waiting close by the rock to watch as we passed and wave us on. Although it was a bit stressful navigating through them as we rounded the rock it was simply fabulous to see them all set chase after Thunder Child II as she headed home. Passing the Stags Rock and Kinsale Lighthouse heading East with boats coming out to watch us as she literally thundered home, (there’s some soundtrack from her quad 650hp engines) and putting up a huge rooster tail from her surface drives we crossed the finish line to another great welcome.

Thunderchild II crew: Skipper Frank Kowalski, Ciaran Monks, Carl Randalls, Mary Power & Robert GuzikThunderchild II crew: Skipper Frank Kowalski, Ciaran Monks, Carl Randalls, Mary Power & Robert Guzik

Thunder Child II ran faultlessly during the run looking after her crew of: Skipper Frank Kowalski, Ciaran Monks, Carl Randalls, Mary Power & Robert Guzik. We were kind to her engines keeping them at just 85-90% of full power throughout, only giving her the beans for the final 10miles towards the finish line running at over 50 kts.

Published in Safehaven Marine

County Cork boat builder Safehaven Marine set a new record for an over 50ft vessel from Cork–Fastnet-Cork in its Thunder Child II vessel this afternoon.

Crossing the start line off Weavers Point Cork Harbour at 2.00 pm, skipper Frank Kowalski completed the course in two hours and 36 minutes (subject to ratification by the UIM).

Thunderchild II averaged 44.6 kts with a maximum speed of 53 kts.

Published in Safehaven Marine

County Cork boat builder Safehaven Marine is making a bid at the over 50ft vessel Cork–Fastnet-Cork UIM Powerboat World record in its Thunder Child II.

Crossing the start line off Weavers Point Cork Harbour at 2.00 pm, skipper Frank Kowalski is aiming to round the Fastnet before 3.30 pm this afternoon.

Track live here

Published in Safehaven Marine

Cork Harbour Boat manufacturer Safehaven Marine undertook an 800nm four-day cruise in Thunder Child II to Scotland, living off the boat to visit a place called the Gulf of Corryvreckan. A pretty wild yet beautiful place writes Thunderchild's skipper, Frank Kowalski

The Corryvreckan whirlpool, or ‘Maelstrom’, as would be a more appropriate description, is formed as the tide enters the narrow stretch of water between the Islands of Jura and Scarba that is the Gulf of Corryvreckan. Here the tidal flow speeds up to 8.5kts as it is squeezed between the islands, and there it encounters a variety of underwater seabed features. On the western entrance, a basalt pinnacle rises up from depths of 70m to 29m, and lying to East, directly in front of the pinnacle is a deep hole in the seabed, with a depth of 219m.

Thunderchild II heading into the standing waves at the Corryvreckan WhirlpoolThunderchild II heading into the standing waves at the Corryvreckan Whirlpool

As the water flows through the gulf it falls into this hole, and then encounters the steep face of the pinnacle, causing a massive upwelling surge of water to rise to the surface. On a flood tide this surge meets swells entering the Gulf from the west, and creates standing waves that can reach heights of 9m.

Sstationary at 6kts with the waves breaking behind Thunderchild IIStationary at 6kts with the waves breaking behind the boat

These ‘standing waves’ are not like normal waves as they form directly over the pinnacle, standing still and breaking heavily on the spot. Whirlpools are also formed over the pinnacle as well as throughout the Gulf, as opposing water columns sheer, and these can be up to 50m wide.

Submarine topography of the Gulf of CorryvreckanSubmarine topography of the Gulf of Corryvreckan

During a storm on spring tides, it is said that the angry roar from the seething waters of the maelstrom, with its standing waves and whirlpools, can be heard up to 10 miles away, and local mythology refers to this as the voice of ‘Cailleach’ (The Hag) of the Whirlpool.

In a well-found boat, the gulf can be safely navigated in fair conditions, or at slack water, but I can imagine that in a Westerly gale on a flood tide, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near the place, as it would truly be described as ‘Unnavigable’. Indeed it was once classified as such by the Royal Navy.

On the day we visited with Thunder Child we had westerly winds of Force 5 gusting 6, and a 3.9m tide which enabled us to experience the standing waves on the flood and the whirlpools on the ebb.

The word Corryvreckan translates to ‘Cauldron’ and that perfectly describes the seething sea state around the whirlpools, and it was quite an experience to have the throttles set for 6kts, holding station just ahead of the standing waves that were breaking behind the boat, and not be moving at all!

There is an Old Irish text known as Cormac’s Glossary written by the King and Bishop of Cashel, Cormac mac Cuilennáin who died in the year 908: “There is a great whirlpool which is between Ireland and Scotland to the north, in the meeting of various seas, its thunderous eructation and its bursting and its roaring are heard among the clouds, like the steam boiling of a cauldron of fire.”

I felt that was a pretty cool description of the place as how the place might have appeared of old during a storm.

Coryvreckan is reputed to produce the third largest whirlpools after the Saltstraumen and Moskstraumen Maelstroms in Norway, however the unique submarine topography of the gulf of Corryvreckan and its capability to produce dangerous standing waves means that in storm conditions, it is potentially one of the most violent stretches of water in the world.

The Voyage North from Cork Harbour to Corryvreckan

Corryvreckan at Ardbeg Marina with a rainbow as a symbol of hope for a successful tripCorryvreckan at Ardbeg Marina with a rainbow as a symbol of hope for a successful trip

As Afloat previously reported, Casting off at Cobh in the afternoon on Saturday 18th July 2020 Thunder Child II arrived at Bangor marina at 9.30pm for refuelling after averaging 32kts over the 275nm run. Overnighting on aboard we set sail early Sunday morning heading up the Northern Ireland coast to Rathlin Island, itself a place notorious for producing challenging seas with its tidal strong race and overfalls, before a lumpy crossing to Scotland to enjoying two days taking Thunder Child II through the standing waves and whirlpools in the Gulf of Corryvreckan, and capturing some cool Ariel drone video.

Thunderchild II alongside at Bangor Marina in County Down(Above and below) Thunderchild II alongside at Bangor Marina in County Down

Thunderchild II at Bangor Marina

Whilst we were there It was also nice to see one of our old Interceptor 42 passenger boats ‘Venturer’ for the first time since we built her 15 years ago, and still looking good. Operated by Craignish Cruises running boat tours in the Gulf, they guided us on a tour around the islands visiting the notorious ‘Grey Dogs’ tidal race and seeing the Sea Eagles nesting nearby.

Thunderchild on her 800nm odyssey to Corryvreckan off the Scottish West CoastThunderchild on her 800nm odyssey to Corryvreckan off the Scottish West Coast

Spending Sunday night isolated on the breakwater at Ardfern marina we headed to Belfast late afternoon on Monday. Next day we were onwards to Dun Laoghaire for lunch and down the East coast of Ireland where we were buzzed overhead by Rescue 117 of the Irish Coastguard, which was great to experience and gave us the excuse to give Thunder Child the beans, and although heavy with fuel we still managed to hit over 50kts.

Thunderchild II propellorsIn the amazingly clear waters of the North, Thunder Child II’s quad propellers quite clearly over the transom

Thunderchild II Leaves Bangor MarinaThunderchild II Leaves Bangor Marina, her golden colour glistening in the sun and below

We arrived home to East Ferry Marina, Cobh late Tuesday evening after an enjoyable voyage for her crew comprising: Skipper Frank Kowalski and crew: Carl Randalls (Drone pilot) Ciaran Monks, Mary Power and Kenny Carrol. During the voyage, Thunder Child II ran faultlessly and proved her capabilities of averaging high speeds for long distances.

Thunderchild II crew: Skipper Frank Kowalski and crew: Carl Randalls (Drone pilot) Ciaran Monks, Mary Power and Kenny CarrollThunderchild II crew: Skipper Frank Kowalski and crew: Carl Randalls (Drone pilot) Ciaran Monks, Mary Power and Kenny Carrol

Thunder Child II Specification

  • L.O.A. 23m
  • Beam 5.4m
  • Displacment 25,000kg ( lightship)
  • Fuel capacity 8,000L
  • Range 750nm
  • Propulsion 4x Caterpillar C8.7 650hp engines, 4x France Helices SD23L Surface drives
  • Speed Max 54kts, Cruise 32-40kts
Published in Cork Harbour

Safehaven Marine's Frank Kowalski has announced that his planned Trans-Atlantic record attempt this year in Thunder Child II has been postponed.

Speculation mounted this week when the asymmetrical catamaran was lifted out of the water in Cork Harbour that it might be the start of record bid preparations.

Kowalski told Afloat 'Regretfully Safehaven Marine have had to postpone our planned Trans-Atlantic record attempt this year in Thunder Child II. This is due to the COVID 19 crisis and the global logistical and travel restrictions in place'.

It had previously been indicated that between July and August 2020 the same five-member crew that set a record time Round Ireland also aboard Thunder Child II, would attempt an unprecedented 4,500 km transatlantic route from Killybegs to Newfoundland via refuelling stops at Greenland and Iceland.

Kowalski also told Afloat via social media: "Due to the very small Greenland sea ice and North Atlantic weather window that existed for us to make the attempt, sadly it is not going to be possible for us to undertake the voyage this year".

Published in Safehaven Marine

The fully refurbished Thunderchild II was on the hoist at Crosshaven Boatyard in Cork Harbour yesterday, fuelling speculation that she is preparing for a new world record transatlantic crossing?

As regular Afloat readers will know, the record bid for the innovative Irish craft was postponed from 2019 until this summer.

The North Atlantic Challenge by Safehaven Marine of Youghal’s new 70ft XSV20 Thunder Child II was originally scheduled to be underway in mid-July 2019. But although the boat had her preliminary launch that February, pressure of work on other craft in the company’s internationally successful pilot and patrol boat ranges at the busy factory saw a postponement of the Challenge until 2020. And while the preferred strategy is still in favour of the northern route, the plan now is to do it west to east.

Designed and built by Youghal-based Safehaven Marine, managing director Frank Kowalski describes the super-swift craft as “a unique, hybrid hull design, asymmetrical catamaran, with a wave-piercing deep V mono-hull”.

Valued at over €1m, it is designed for high speed, with minimal turbulence.

Measuring 23 m in length, it has a 5.3 m beam and boasts a Hyuscraft hydrofoil system fitted between the two catamaran hulls.

In July 2017 the 17-metre original Thunder Child set a record in circumnavigating Ireland, anticlockwise, via Rockall, in just over 34 hours.

It was previously indicated that between July and August 2020 the same five-member crew, aboard Thunder Child II will attempt an unprecedented 4,500 km transatlantic route from Killybegs to Newfoundland via refuelling stops at Greenland and Iceland.

Published in Safehaven Marine

Safehaven Marine have launched ‘San Cibrao’, an Interceptor 42 pilot boat for the port of San Ciprian in Spain.

San Cibrao is the 14th pilot 42 model built and the 43rd Pilot vessel Safehaven Marine have delivered to ports worldwide and has proved to be a superb sea boat performing admirably in pilotage operations with all owners extolling its virtues of seakeeping, strength and stability. San Cibrao is powered by a pair of Volvo D9 engines rated at 425hp and has a maximum speed of 23.5kts. She is heavily fendered all round and incorporating Safehaven’s sacrificial fender system protecting the vessel at her boarding area and softening the inevitable hard impact that can occur in poor conditions.

Safehaven's Interceptor 42 handling winds of 50kts at the entrance to Cork Harbour with 4-metre heavily breaking seas offshore in the shoaling waters off the Daunt Rock(Above and below Safehaven's Interceptor 42 handling winds of 50kts at the entrance to Cork Harbour with 4-metre heavily breaking seas offshore in the shoaling waters off the Daunt Rock

Safehaven Marine have launched ‘San Cibrao’, an Interceptor 42 pilot boat for the port of San Ciprian in Spain

Safehaven Marine have launched ‘San Cibrao’, an Interceptor 42 pilot boat for the port of San Ciprian in Spain

Safehaven’s proven MOB recovery system is fitted on the transom allowing a casualty to be easily recovered in a MOB situation. A full suite of Furuno electronics are installed at her central helm position and she provides seating for 4 pilots on CAB suspension seats in her very highly fitted out the main cabin, which provides a comfortable relaxed environment for pilots and crew during transfers with additional accommodation in her f/wd cabin incorporating seating and berths, a separate heads compartment, dedicated electrical room and galley area.

With the Covid-19 travel restrictions in place and the Pilots from San Ciprian unable to fly here at present, so Safehaven is having to do a remote ‘on-line handover’. So Safehaven produced a video to give them every confidence that she is performing well, as she handled comfortably the stormy conditions prevailing on the South Coast of Ireland during trials, with winds of 50kts at the entrance to Cork Harbour, and over 4m heavily breaking seas offshore in the shoaling waters off the Daunt Rock, presenting the exact heavy weather conditions she was designed and built for:

As the pilots in San Ciprian have to deal with the challenging seas of the Bay of Biscay in wintertime, Safehaven wanted to ensure she was up to the task. She is due to be shipped overland shortly where she is needed urgently to ensure essential pilotage to ships entering and departing the Port in Northern Spain.

Safehaven currently has in build pilot boats for the Ports of: Coruna Spain, Gdynia, Poland, Montevideo, Uruguay and Tangier, Morocco and have this month, May 2020 signed contracts with the Faroe Islands Rescue service to supply a second Interceptor 48 S.A.R. craft.

Published in Marine Trade
Tagged under

Safehaven Marine has emerged from ‘lockdown’ with the launch of its new pilot boat for the Port of San Ciprian in Spain.

The Cork-based performance boat specialists put production on pause at the end of March, following strict Government restrictions on movement against coronavirus.

Almost completed at the time was the Interceptor 42 order for the fishing port in north-western Spain.

But as Safehaven tweeted yesterday, the boat is finally on the water for initial sea trials as the country begins its gradual reopening.

Safehaven Marine made the deal with the Spanish port — along with orders for Coruna, and Leixoes in Portugal — over a year ago, and more news is expected from the boatyard in the coming weeks.

Another recent delivery delayed by Covid-19 restrictions is an Interceptor 38 to the Port of Berbera in Somaliland, which was received in mid April.

Published in Safehaven Marine

New restrictions prompted by Covid-19 require new ways of working for Irish businesses, and until the most recent measures announced by the Government, Safehaven Marine in Cork was among those rising to the challenge.

The performance boatbuilder spread out its production over two large factories, with staff divided into split morning and evening shifts, so that physical distancing was maintained as work continued.

Other measures included limiting staff to no more than three inside a boat at any one time, split meal breaks to rule out social grouping, and regular and rigorous disinfection of more highly trafficked areas on the workshop floor, as well as daily temperature readings for all staff.

“Everybody’s positive and banding together supporting each other’s efforts in making Safehaven Marine a little safe haven,” said the company in a recent social media post. “What a great workforce we have. Hopefully we’ll get through it OK.”

Safehaven also recently bade farewell to two pilot boat commissions on their respective journeys to Berbera in Somaliland, and San Juan in Puerto Rico.

The latter Interceptor 48 was featured by Safehaven Marine two months ago after undergoing sea trials alongside Thunder Child II off a stormy Cork coast.

Update Tuesday 7 April: An earlier version of this story inferred incorrectly that work was continuing at Safehaven Marine after the most recent extension of Covid-19 restrictions. Afloat.ie would like to make clear that Safehaven Marine is of the understanding that it is not an essential business and has since paused its workshop operations in the interest of employee and public safety.

Published in Safehaven Marine
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About Safehaven Marine 

Safehaven Marine are designers and builders of FRP Pilot boats, Patrol boats, Crew transfer vessels, Hydrographic survey catamarans, Naval & Military craft and unique custom private motor yachts. All our vessels are built to the highest standards of strength & engineering and are renowned worldwide for their exceptional sea-keeping abilities, we set a new World long-range speed record in 2017 with our own vessel and crew. Established in 1996 we have built over 138 vessels supplied to 27 countries worldwide with over 40 pilot vessels in operation globally, and have become leaders in our field.

Based in Youghal, Co Cork Ireland, Safehaven manufacture our vessels from two modern factories, with all design work carried out in house, and built with our own experienced team of engineers, carpenters, electricians, shipwrights and laminators.

Always at the forefront of new technology and designs we continuously develop our range and push the frontiers of design: In 2020 we aim to set a UIM Transatlantic World record with our unique (patent applied for) new 22m high-speed vessel XSV20

Interceptor 42 pilot boat

The Pilot 42 model built by Safehaven Marine has been delivered to ports worldwide and has proved to be a superb sea boat performing admirably in pilotage operations with all owners extolling its virtues of seakeeping, strength and stability.

L.O.A. (Length overall) 13.2m

L.W.L. (Length along waterline) 11.5m

Length moulded (GRP hull only) 12.7

Beam Moulded (GRP only ex fender) 4.0m

Beam overall (Including fenders) 4.4m

Draft (Depth of hull below waterline) 1.35m

Displacement Lightship 14,500kg

Fully loaded 16,000kg

Fuel capacity 1600 litres

Water capacity 110 litres

Crew capacity 5 persons

Engines Volvo D9 425hp

Gearboxes ZF325

Subdivision 4 x separate watertight compartments

Crew capacity 1-2 crew plus 3- 4 pilots

Classification PRS

Speed 23.5kts fully loaded

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