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Australian, Brisbane based boat builder "Sea Quest" Boat Review

- new design from the CMCS, certainly more fuel efficient at a more competitive price.

Sea Quest

New Wave Catamarans have again impressed the owners of their latest ferry, 'Sea Quest'. Designed by Paul Birgan of Commercial Marine Consulting Services, 'Sea Quest' will be used to shuttle divers to and from the Great Barrier Reef off Australia's east coast.

This aluminium ferry is 23.5 metres in length, has a beam of 7.5 metres and is powered by a pair of MTU diesel engines coupled to conventional Rogers and Lough propellers. With a top speed of 31.5 knots, "Sea Quest" has a spacious deck layout where divers can sit comfortably in "Waverider" high back seats supplied by Transport Seating Technologies. 'Sea Quest' is a new design from the CMCS stable, and the first to incorporate Paul Birgan's new winged foil keel systems. CMCS developed their mini-keel design eight years ago to add protection to the stern gear and allow for slipping or beaching, and has been utilised in over 20 high-speed catamarans. It was observed that the vessel performance was increased by the additional lift in the stem from the mini-keel bottom section, The addition of the fixed foil is an extension to this. The owner of 'Sea Quest' is the Deep Sea Divers Den (DSDD) of Cairns. DSHD has a fleet of lour passenger/dive vessels with 'Sea Quest' being their latest acquisition. Although 'Sea Quest' is surveyed for up to 130 divers, DSDD restricts this number to a maximum of 60 divers in order to make the experience more personalised. Each day trip will offer passengers a choice between either of the outer Great Barrier reefs of Norman or Saxon Reef.

Speaking with Tony Phisic of Deep Sea Divers Den in Cairns, it is obvious from his enthusiasm that his company is more than delighted with their latest vessel. "When we bought "Sea Quest" up from Brisbane, we had to battle 30 knot winds and up to three metre seas almost the whole way and she handled the conditions very well. In fact, our skipper was impressed with how straight the steering was in the heavy conditions and put I his down to the mini keel that Birgan incorporated into the design. "We have four vessels in our fleet and this ferry has a better finish, both from a mechanical and welding point ol view than any other of our vessels, this despite the fact that we priced this vessel with local Cairns based boat builders and found that New Wave Catamarans had a more competitive price. "We were initially nervous about using Paul Birgan's new foil design but thought that we would try it and are very happy that we did. Once the vessel is full with divers and their equipment, our vessels become very heavy and we thought that the foil systems would help lift the vessel in heavier seas and up to date our hunch has proved to be correct."

"Our vessels are relatively similar in size, but Sea Quest is certainly more fuel efficient. "We are gelling an extra four knots of speed trom this vessel even though there is less horse power on board and most importantly we are saving around 30 per cent in fuel costs." Tony puts this performance improvement down to the new hull design, foils and mini keels.

One underlying pattern emerges when you speak with owners of NWC vessels and that is of the high levels of service that is provided by this Brisbane based boat builder. "Birgan was very, very accommodating on this project. We asked for one of our engineers to be based with NWC during the fit out period, so that we could ennsure that our fleet would remain standardised in terms of deck layout and the installation of our Bauer Compressor and compressed storage banks. Paul was more than accommodating and we will certainly deal with them again in the future."

for further information contact:

New Wave Catamarans, Australia.

PH: +617 3862 9988, FX: +61 73862 9488,

Email: [email protected],

Web: www.newwavecats.com

published: Work Boat World | January 2005