West Australia-based Nauti-Craft Pty Ltd and Germany-based Offcon GmbH have entered into a development and licence agreement to introduce a novel range of multipurpose craft to the offshore wind industry
Offcon has secured exclusive rights to manufacture vessels incorporating Nauti-Craft technology in Germany with the right to sell them worldwide. This exclusivity is for a finite period and is subject to meeting certain sales performance criteria.
Nauti-Craft has developed a range of craft using a hydraulic suspension system for multi-hulled vessels. The system separates the hulls from the superstructure which allows the hulls to react rapidly to wave input and conform to the sea surface without transmitting high forces and accelerations of the hulls to the deck and superstructure. This provides increased levels of ride comfort, control and stability whether the vessel is stationary or travelling at speed. The company says this allows smaller vessels to provide seakeeping typically only found in larger vessels while having the lower operating costs of a smaller vessel.
The first of the range of boats incorporating Nauti-Craft technology aimed at the offshore wind market is an 18-m design. It is at an advanced in its development having been supported with design assistance from Nauti-Craft over the last six months.
Offcon was introduced to Nauti-Craft technology in 2014 and its founder Harald Hübner visited Nauti-Craft in 2015 and undertook an evaluation of the technology through sea trials of a development vessel. He maintained contact with Nauti-Craft and in 2019 saw an opportunity to develop a range of vessels for the offshore wind market.
After Nauti-Craft was contracted to carry out initial design work in order to present the vessel concepts to potential customers, Offcon elected to proceed with securing the licensing rights.
Offcon has established a company to build them called Wallaby Boats GmbH. Three types planned currently are the Wallaby-18, Wallaby-16 and the Wallaby-14. The smaller boats are designed to be launched from vessels using Offcon’s patented single point hoist. The larger designs are intended as crew transfer vessels.
Wallaby Boats is also based in Kappeln and uses production facilities in Bremen, Nortorf and Olpenitz for the WB-18. The WB-14 will be produced in Olpenitz and Nortorf in Germany and Fåborg in Denmark. Wallaby Boats is 98% owned by Offcon and 2% owned by employees.
In 2019, Nauti-Craft formed a strategic alliance with US boat builder Metal Shark and UK-based naval architects Incat Crowther to seek out opportunities in the US offshore wind market.