Powerboat goes for the record

A hull design first introduced in Victorian times is being used for a powered vessel setting out to be the first to circumnavigate the globe in under 80 days. The hull forms the basis of Cable & Wireless, the 115ft stabilised monohull being built in Southampton by Vosper Thornycroft. It is powered by two Cummins Marine 8.3 litre ‘350C’ diesel engines, each developing 350hp.

The vessel is characterised by a long slender hull with stabilising wings to ensure an ideal combination of low drag on the hull and good stability. Designer Nigel Irens based the main hull design on the Turbinia, a boat designed by the Victorian Newcastle marine engineer, Sir Charles Parsons. It combines the theory behind Turbinia’s efficient hull design with today’s technologies and materials to provide the performance required for the record attempt. With its introduction 100 years ago the revolutionary turbine engine Turbinia achieved a speed of 34.5 knots.

Although the hull was very efficient because of its low ‘drag’, it was notoriously uncomfortable at sea due to its lack of stability and low freeboard. Since then further development of ‘extreme single slender hull’ technology had been put aside and forgotten in favour of more exotic high speed designs. Irens has taken this design and developed it with the application of technology and materials not available to Sir Charles.

sponsored by Cable & Wireless, the vessel is due to leave Gibraltar for its challenge in April and during its 26,000 mile journey call at 15 ports.