|The Incat-built 98 metre Evolution 10B class Wave Piercing Catamaran The Cat (hull number 059) has been delivered to her new owner, Canada’s Bay Ferries.
Having completed sea trials The Cat, already affectionately nicknamed “Blue Cat” thanks to her eye catching livery, departed Hobart at 2305 hrs 14 April. The new ship will start service on the international route between Yarmouth in Canada and Bar Harbor in the United States in May.
Bay Ferries President, Mr Mitchell McLean said, “I am impressed with the increased carrying capacity achieved with the 98 metre ship. It will allow us to carry heavy freight, more coaches and recreational vehicles than we were able to with our earlier Incat vessel. The new ship offers our passengers a luxurious and comfortable ride. That combination means we will be able to broaden our customer base for increased revenue.
The acquisition is a confirmed vote of confidence in the Incat product considering last season we operated with 98% on time and 84% total customer satisfaction.”
With its distinctive “Blue Cat” livery The Cat will carry 900 passengers, and 267 cars or a lesser number of cars plus heavy freight vehicles; an increase of 11% in car capacity and a huge increase in freight capacity over the previous 91 metre craft on the route.
Incat Chairman Robert Clifford said “All customers are good customers, but a repeat customer really makes us smile as it is proof positive we build the best and most reliable fast ships in the world. Incat has been built on a history of selling multiple numbers of vessels to a small but growing list of quality customers.”
The Evolution 10B
The craft extends Incat’s history in the production of high speed Wave Piercing ferries and delivers proven technology in a vessel capable of carrying a mix of passengers and freight at speeds of 40 knots. With The Cat Bay Ferries has the flexibility to configure the vessel to suit seasonal fluctuations whilst maximizing revenue. During the high volume, tourist season, Bay Ferries will opt for maximum car capacity with minimum heavy vehicles, by utilising the optional mezzanine vehicle decks. To maximise flexibility during shoulder seasons or to provide a dedicated freight service, the mezzanine decks can be easily lifted to allow a high concentration of heavy highway vehicles.
Designed to accommodate up to 900 persons, the passenger area on The Cat is on one deck. The passenger cabin has three lounge areas along its length. Each lounge features its own style of seating, colour scheme and facilities. The Midships Lounge is the focal point for many onboard activities being surrounded by the shop, kiosk and outboard seating areas. The most striking feature of the Midships Lounge is the ceiling skylight. Passengers can sit in tub style seats in clusters around circular tables or outboard of planter boxes in recliner style lounge seating.
The Shop, opening onto the Midships Lounge, with large expanses of glass, is set up to provide the standard selection of souvenirs, newspapers, books and magazines. The Midships Kiosk, where passengers can purchase a wide variety of refreshments and food, adds to the elegance of this central lounge.
Popular on Incat vessels, the Forward Lounge on The Cat provides a panoramic 300º view of the horizon via sweeping tinted windows. The lounge, featuring a service centre equipped with facilities to serve a wide variety of food and beverages, is sure to attract many patrons.
The outboard raised seating areas in the Forward Lounge enable passengers to relax in recliner style seating while taking in the vast and spectacular views over the ships bows. Aft and outboard of the central lower wheelhouse/crew accommodation and passenger toilet block are two casual lounges where passengers may sit in tub style seats surrounded by Incat’s innovative ‘skylight’ windows (floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows).
A disability access ramp from the forward vehicle decks plus a left at the aft end of the ship, makes The Cat truly “disability friendly”.
Passengers with disabilities can park adjacent to the vehicle deck access door, away from the general movement of cars on the main vehicle deck and move in safety to the passenger cabin. Passengers travelling without cars enter the ship through large side entry doors into the Forward Lounge.
Passengers travelling with cars enter The Cat from the vehicle deck via port and starboard internal stairs featuring overhead skylight windows and tiled motif flooring or by the external aft stairs into the Aft Lounge. A lift from the vehicle deck to the external observation deck is also available.
The spacious lounge contains a mix of tub style seats with tables and recliner style seats surrounding the Mizzen Bar which provides facilities to serve a wide variety of food and beverages. Forward of the bar is the main amenity block containing male and females toilets, unisex disability toilet/baby change room and a staff area. Large windows facing onto the aft observation deck continues the vista of wide ocean views throughout the vessel allowing passengers a spectacular view of the waterjets in operation.
Air conditioning onboard The Cat is provided by Sanyo reverse cycle head pump units throughout, capable of maintaining between 20-22 deg C and 50% RH with a full passenger loads and ambient temperature of 32 deg C and 50% RH
Window Wash System
Designed to keep the large panoramic forward and side windows clear of salt build up, the window wash system feeds a series of pipes located over each row of windows with washer outlets to spray each window as required. Thus the crew is able to wash all windows on the vessel from the one location. The system, fed from the ship’s domestic fresh water supply, ensures the passenger windows remain clean during a voyage and valuable operator/crew time can be spent on ships maintenance rather than cleaning windows.
The Cat reinforces the Incat’s intention to dominate the niche fast ferry market for fast freight. Consequently the vessel’s vehicle decks offer a total of 380 truck lane metres at 3.1m wide x 4.3m clear height and 360 car lane metres at 2.3m wide x 2.1m high. Suitable for heavy road transport vehicles the main vehicle deck also benefits from unrestricted height for 6 metres and an unobstructed width of 18 metres at the stern.
The fitting of nine hoistable mezzanine vehicle decks gives the operator the flexibility to carry 267 cars and no heavy vehicles, or 12 road freight trailers with 180 cars, or 24 road freight trailers with 90 cars while offering the headroom demanded by oversize freight vehicles when raised. The vehicle decks, with clear lane markings painted on the deck, ensure fast vehicle loading and unloading with the flexibility to alter the configuration on a voyage to voyage basis.
In addition to the disability access ramp at the forward end of the craft a new easy stow hydraulically operated passenger lift provides swift access from the aft end of the vehicle deck to the external observation deck. When in the upper position the ability to fold the lift enclosure ensures unhindered movement of vehicles.
The raised control station (wheelhouse) onboard The Cat is small for a vessel its size. Its large windows provide 360-degree visibility for the officers over the aerodynamic superstructure, while an aft-facing docking console and CCTV monitors negate the need for bridge wings with their associated windage. Consistent with all Incat vessels, the control station is fitted with the latest in electronic, navigation and communication equipment to comply with High Speed Craft Code Sea Area A2.
The Cat is powered by four Ruston 20RK270 medium speed diesels developing in excess of 28,000 kW. The engines drive transom-mounted steerable Lips 120E waterjets via Reintjes VLJ6831 gearboxes. All four waterjets are configured for steering and reversing, while an independent hydraulic system in each hull covers the steering and reverse functions.
Ride Control / Sea Keeping
The Maritime Dynamics/Incat Ride Control System consisting of transom mounted trim tabs and a retractable bow T-foil (see below) further improves the 98-metre vessel’s excellent sea keeping qualities. These, combined with a new hull form featuring longer outer bows, fuller midship sections, stern skeglets and improved centrebow clearances, means Motion Sickness Incidence has been reduced by up to 40% in higher sea states by reducing pitch, roll and heave, the major contributors to passenger discomfort.
The Cat features the revolutionary retractable T-foil located at the aft end of the centre bow. Developed jointly by Incat and Maritime Dynamics Inc, the foil retracts out of the water and behind the centre bow when not in use.
When sea conditions are calm, the foil is retracted increasing vessel speed and reducing the possibility of damage by submerged objects. In the event of an object strike while the foil is in use, it will retract immediately. All mechanical and hydraulic components are above the water allowing servicing to take place while the vessel is afloat.
The Cat is fitted with six evacuation stations; two on each side of the vessel contain an IMO approved MES (Marine Evacuation System) supplied by Liferaft Systems Australia, with an additional liferaft access station on each aft mooring deck. An MES consists of an inflatable slide, which connects with multiple 100-person liferafts. The evacuation arrangement has proved capable of evacuating the full vessel’s complement in times much faster than the IMO requirements. In additional the vessel is designed and built with high levels of reserve buoyancy, fire detection/protection and safety systems redundancy.
Hobart-based company Colbeck & Gunton supply the lightweight structural fire protection system aboard The Cat, including fire doors and dampers. The ‘Rapid Access’ (deckhead) and ‘Lightweight’ (bulkhead) fire protection system meets all the demands for lighter weight and faster installation/removal for this type of craft. An addressable fire detection system, CCTV cameras, zoned fire sprinkler systems and hydrants protect engine rooms, vehicle decks and passenger areas. The Cat is also fitted with portable fire extinguishers, fire-protection suits and equipment, water fog applicators, breathing apparatus, international connections and fire control plans to meet IMO requirements.