During a recent visit to the Damen Shipyards, Amels, the exclusive yacht-building member of the Dutch Damen Shipyards Group, announced to SuperYachtTimes.com a new concept to meet the growing demand for support vessels among large-yacht owners. Damen Shipyard has adapted its exclusive axe bow Concept, already applied commercially to Fast Crew Supply Vessels, to a new Sea Axe Fast Yacht Support Vessel.
The axe bow is a proprietary design created jointly by Damen and the Ship Hydromechanics Department of Technical University of Delft under the direction of Prof. J. A. Keuning. Significant input was contributed by captains and chief engineers of Amels yachts, in a recent conference held in Amsterdam.
Damen has delivered about 15 such vessels, 33 and 50 meters LOA, and has about as many on order, for use in patrol, oil-rig supply, and other offshore duties where speed, easy motion, heavy weather reliability, and economy are prime.
The day we visited the Damen yard, we were fortunate enough to be invited along to a high speed 'sea-trial' on the Boven Merwede river, on one of the soon to be delivered commercial Fast Crew Supply Vessels. We were highly impressed by the ship's performance, and engineering. It delivers speeds up to 28 knots, depending on payload.
Damen is already building two Sea Axe Fast Yacht Support vessels, one of which is set for delivery to an owner in December 2009.
Unlike many support vessels, the Sea Axe is a purpose-built high speed vessel, instead of a (much slower) converted ship. The 50-meter hull is identical to that of Damen working boats, but with finer finish and interior.
As with all supply vessels, the 50-meter Sea Axe relieves the mother ship of space-consuming stowage. On the 30-meter open aft deck and 250 tonnes of deck-cargo capacity, she can carry a helicopter, large tenders, water toys and their specialized fuels. The Sea Axe can be fitted with a dive center, extra refrigerator/freezer capacity, dry stores room, and quarters for extra crew, pilots, the owner’s staff, security, or a dive instructor. With transatlantic range at 18 knots, it can handle the mother ship’s pre- and post-cruise logistics, scout anchorages, shuttle guests, take fishing or diving excursions. It also keeps the mother yacht “clean and green” by disposing of grey/ black water and trash.
The Sea Axe is a fully classed vessel requiring a crew of just six, so it is ideal in the charter trade to accompany the primary yacht. It can also be a handy support vessel for very large sailboats such as J-Class yachts, whose capacity for sail inventory, crew, and supplies is severely limited.
Sea Axe development began in 1995 with TU Delft studies of the effect of hull lengthening on efficiency, operability, and operating costs. Tank tests of bows with fine sections and a deep forefoot resulted in the axe bow, which reduces vertical acceleration and slamming in heavy weather, causes of seasickness and crews having to slow down. The axe bow is also more efficient in smooth water, has better seakeeping in large waves, and resists broaching. The Sea Axe has a true axe bow, and should not be confused with yachts that merely have fine bows.
The Sea Axe and the Limited Editions Amels 199 will be introduced at Amels’ “TCentral” stand during the Monaco Yacht Show in September 2009.