Mallorca by Land, Air and Sea

Isle of Man shipyard converts naval vessel into all electric megayacht

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

At high tide at 1301 on Monday, 31-metre Wisting re-entered her natural element after a two and half year metamorphosis transformed her from the Norwegian Naval vessel HM5 into a gleaming “all-electric” expedition yacht.

And for a small shipyard lately known more for more overhauling fishing and work vessels, Wisting is a quantum leap for the Isle of Man shipyard Booth W Kelly (“BWK).  Since its 2003 employee buyout, the company, which is still owned by those employees, has seen increasing sales and a broadening customer base in its traditional markets.

“The Wisting project has been a special challenge, raising the bar in all areas.” says BWK’s Managing Director, Chris Baker, “She’s the biggest project for the yard in 40 years, certainly the most sophisticated, we didn’t just provide space on the slipway.” 

Baker, a naval architect and one of the four who bought the yard in 2003, has been responsible for virtually all of the technical design of the new Wisting which retained only her original hull and main deck.

Built in steel to Ice Class Rules 1978 she was decommissioned in 2004, sold to her present owner and delivered to the Isle of Man where she was hauled on BWK’s No. 1 slipway. Once her hull was assessed in detail and the ultimate design finalized, her conversion began.

BWK started by removing Wisting’s superstructure along with fifty percent of her deck and her transom stern. She was then gutted her of all mechanical with the exception of her rudder and steering gear. One watertight bulkhead was then moved and new double bottom tanks were fabricated.  Her stern was replaced with a canoe stern which had been modelled by BWK and fabricated on site by BWK. Wisting’s new superstructure was also designed also by BWK, then fabricated in aluminium alloy and welded in place by using Tri-plate joining strip.  

Wisting’s new funnel not only provides an outlet for machinery space ventilation but also houses a wet bar.  It was designed and fabricated by BWK as was the galley and virtually all stainless steel in the vessel. BWK installed two Caterpillar Diesel engines providing power to the 400 KW electric motor, which drives the new 1.5 metre single-screw via a new 100mm shaft.

A unique 360-degree 100KW HRP electric bow-thruster was installed by BWK which reduces space required inside the vessel compared to a tunnel or retractable. “Because she’s still single-screw, we chose a 360-degree thruster over to provide propulsion redundancy.” Baker comments, “This gives Wisting a ‘get-home’ capability and also enables her to take the ground.”

Auxiliary electric power is generated by a new Northern Lights 100KW Diesel GenSet and Niad zero-speed stabilizers provide stabilisation.  Fresh water is produced by a Seafresh Desalinator reverse osmosis unit. In the style of many modern cruise ships, Wisting’s main engine generators, main engine, auxiliary generator and bow thruster are connected by a single bus.    

The hull is finished with AwlGrip on International epoxy fairing.

Wisting will be classed by Lloyds and registered in the Isle of Man. Until now, the yard was most famous for building the oldest still sailing ship, Star of India, the centerpiece of the San Diego Maritime Museum.  Commissioned as EUTERPE in 1863 she slid down ways not far from the slipway that bore Wisting, until Monday.

“We’ve shown that BWK has moved a long way past building just rugged working vessels,” says Baker, “Now that Wisting is launched, we’re looking to do another.”

Wisting Particulars

Length Overall                   31.00 metre
Beam                                 6.70 metre
Depth                                3.55 metre
Draft                                  2.50 metre
Lightship displacement         165 tonne
Frame Spacing                  400 millimetres

Hull and Deck Construction welded steel
Superstructure Construction welded aluminium alloy
Main propulsion – Diesel-electric 2 C9 CAT gen sets driving a 400kW electric motor

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 July 2007 )