Next generation VSV

Multimarine launch latest Adrian Thompson-designed 'Very Slim Vessel'

Friday March 30th 2007, Author: Stuart Elford, Location: United Kingdom
The latest of the Adrian Thompson-designed VSVs (Very Slender Vessel) wave-piercing motor boat , created and crafted by Multimarine Composites Limited, will be unveiled tonight at Plymouth’s historic Royal William Yard.

The £1.5 million, 22.5m VSV MarySlimwill enable the bold and intrepid to explore the globe - quickly, safely and with the maximum fun-factor to boot. The pioneering powerboat features wave-piercing technology that allows it to plough through storms no other vessel would dare to tackle. Her revolutionary design makes the MarySlim ideal for cruising the globe and adventuring in the most adverse of conditions and with minimal crew.

The stylish and ultra-sleek boat can cut through waves in any conditions thanks to the extremely sharp line of her bow. The hull and windscreen have been constructed to submerge several metres and withstand the pressure of 50 tons of water - so when bad weather is turning regular mariners back to port, the MarySlim will be heading confidently out to sea.

The new design allows for improved performance under power thanks to the ground-breaking shape of her hull. Traditional thinkers say that hull forms should be either displacement or planing. However, a displacement boat will give range but not speed, and a planing boat will give speed but lack range. The VSV uses a combination of the two for the best of both; its long thin hull runs in displacement while it planes on the hull chines. A conventional planing boat rides the surface of the water so it bounces off the top of each wave making for a very bumpy ride, and once the swell becomes too large it has to reduce speed to the same as the displacement vessel. The VSV pierces the waves, smoothing the ride and enabling it to travel quickly - making her perfect for fast long distance exploration and adventure.

A select audience has been invited to the launch of the MarySlim, to view the inspirational and innovative craft as she makes her first public appearance after 18 months being built in Multimarine’s modest boatyard, on the beach at Millbrook, near Torpoint. But the unremarkable shed beside the estuary belies the quality of the build and cutting-edge design, which has only previously been seen in military vessels used for stealth missions. In fact, the new vessel’s owners travelled the World looking at boatyards to turn their dream into reality before finally choosing Multimarine Composites. The firm is one of the few remaining independent boatyards in the UK with a reputation for building spectacular, one-off performance boats to the exacting specifications of owners.

The patent for the VSV hull design is held by Adrian Thompson of Paragon Mann, and the military concept was taken to the private sector by Nic Bailey, a renowned designer and architect who designed the London Eye pods and Multimarine Composites’ 18m catamaran Impossible Dream, which was built for solo sailing by a wheelchair user.

A fuel capacity of 12 tonnes gives the VSV a range of 1800 miles. Combined with a cruising speed of 25 knots and a respectable top speed of 32 knots, she will be able to travel further, faster, and be more fun, than any other pleasure boat in the World. Multimarine is investigating the feasibility of running her on bio-diesel, which would also make her considerably cleaner and greener to run.

In keeping with her design heritage the interior of the boat is minimalist and very clean, with no superficial or unnecessary linings that add weight or are unable to take a severe pounding offshore. MarySlim has been painstakingly hand crafted, painted and finished to the highest quality.

She has been built for exploring in all weathers, so lavish accommodation was not high on the owners’ wish list. But the deluxe owners’ cabin in the bow is comfortable, with a wide double berth, hanging lockers and en suite head and shower.

There are also four single berths with separate heads; these bunks are more likely to be used in extreme conditions and have cargo netting fronts to protect the occupants. The saloon has a large table with an octopus-featured end matching the door hinges, all of which the owners made themselves. The style is modern, with molded stone counters, light paint finishes and bamboo flooring. MarySlim does not follow old-fashioned nautical styles and is a breath of fresh air, balancing style and practicality with strength and performance.

Propulsion is provided by a 1750 hp V12 32-litre twin turbocharged Caterpillar engine, combined with a Rolls Royce KaMeWa water jet. Stability will be maintained by Mercury K-Plane trim tabs. An additional and distinctive feature is her auxiliary power system; a 90m² kite supplied by KiteShip, which will turn her into a sail boat in the event of fuel running out, engine malfunction, favourable winds or just for fun. Multimarine is so taken with the idea it is designing the feature into its other powerboat projects.

The owners and builders were keen to keep as many aspects of the project as green as possible. With the boat being vastly more fuel efficient than its competitors they wanted to explore other ways of reducing its overall impact. Antifouling was one of these areas; Multimarine resourced a new product called Ecospeed, which coats the bottom of the boat with a layer of resin and platelets of glass that inhibit the growth of algae and barnacles by preventing them from finding purchase on the hull, rather than by poisoning them. They have yet to see how it will work but if it is successful it will become the standard for future vessels built by Multimarine.

Multimarine Composites hopes that with the success of Impossible Dream, the VSV and its Dazcat range of cruising and racing catamarans, the company can expand, building bigger premises and securing more jobs in the maritime sector.

Managing Director of Multimarine Composites, Darren Newton, says they are proud to have built such a unique boat in Cornwall: "This area has a fine tradition of boat-building excellence and heritage. But we are not stuck in the past; we have the skills and resources here to build cutting-edge and innovative craft like the VSV. We are able to turn ideas, contemporary designs and complex build projects like Impossible Dream and MarySlim into successful World-class boats. We hope to expand our operations and deliver more show-case projects of marine excellence."

The owners of MarySlim have said it was a delight to work with Multimarine Composites: "The company has delivered an incredible feat of engineering and it was great to be able to be as involved as we wished in producing a boat that is going to give me hours of pleasure powering through the waves. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel."

Bring on the waves!

Boat specifications

Length overall: 22.5m
Length waterline: 20m
Beam overall: 4.2m
Draft: 1m
Weight lightship: 15 tonnes
Berths: 8
Berth cabins: 3
Engine: V12, 32 litre, 1650hp C32 Caterpillar
Propulsion: Rolls Royce KaMeWa FF 550 water jet
Auxiliary power: KiteShip kite
Top speed: 43 knots
Cruise speed: 30 knots
Range: 1,800 nm
Fuel capacity: 12 tonnes
RCD cat: A

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