It didn’t quite have the opulence of the launch of the Titanic, but there were still plenty of claps and cheers as a monster of a boat set sail from a Canvey, England boatyard. The 60-foot prototype catamaran – the first of its kind ever produced by the Canvey-based boat building firm Blyth – has been finished after two years of painstaking work.
The catamaran, worth just over $1 million, has been built to transport technicians and personnel to offshore windfarms along the British coastline. Ray Chuter, 65, director of Blyth, drew the plans for the vessel by hand after coming up with the idea.
Chuter said, “We are really proud of the boat. “It’s the first prototype of its kind and is the first commercial windfarm catamaran we’ve ever built. It will be used by big energy companies to take their technicians and people out to the wind turbines along the coast. It could be used all the way up to Scotland.”
The catamaran is so big Ray had to apply for a police escort to transfer it down to Dauntless Boatyard, in Canvey Road, where it was launched. The boat measures exactly 57 feet in length, and another three feet are taken up with a fender on the front of the vessel. The catamaran, made of fiberglass, took Ray two years to get from the drawing board to the launch ramp. The plug – the model base for the boat – had to be made in Dubai and was shipped all the way back to Canvey.
Ray, who is due to retire soon, says he has enjoyed his career. “The boatbuilding business has changed a lot obviously over the years – so much is done by computers now. It makes it easier in a way, but I like the old fashioned way.”
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