Cutting edge trimaran ferry exceeds expectations

Austal’s second generation trimaran features a straight stem designed to maximise the vessel’s waterline length Austal’s second generation trimaran features a straight stem designed to maximise the vessel’s waterline length

Austal’s next generation 102m trimaran has impressed during sea trials, achieving a speed of 39 knots at 90% MCR with 340 tonnes deadweight. The high speed passenger-vehicle ferry utilises Austal’s patented trimaran technology to deliver improved sea keeping, fuel efficiency, passenger comfort and payload capacity.

The 680 dwt newbuilding is an evolution of Austal’s landmark 2005 trimaran ferry Benchijigua Express. The vessel uses Austal’s trimaran technology, designed to combine the softer roll of monohulls with the low resistance, stability and carrying capacity of catamarans. The company believes this can open up new markets beyond existing fast ferry designs. A lower roll speed means lower accelerations experienced by passengers, claimed to reducepassenger seasickness.

The trimaran’s novel hydrodynamic hull form combined with its three engine propulsion plant, comprising three 9,100kW MTU 20V 8000 M71L high speed diesels, is intended to deliver fuel efficiency across a range of operating conditions. Passenger carrying capacity is between 950 and 1,165 depending on layout while vehicle capacity is 245 cars or 190 truck lane metres plus 145 cars.

Propulsion consists of three new-series Wartsila LJX 1300 water jets, chosen for their improved cavitation margin (greater efficiency), each driven through a ZF 53800 reduction gearbox.

Austal says that its studies show that motion sickness on the trimaran will be around 56% lower than on a 100m catamaran operating in head seas, while even larger benefits can be realised in other headings. Because the vessel was built on a speculative basis, the design of the interior and vehicle deck has been pitched at a level that permits the eventual owner to easily modify the vessel to suit their particular market.

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