S.A. Catamaran Manufacturer | Publications
"FIORDOS DEL SUR"
First Catamaran Tourist Ferry in the Chilean Patagonian
Built by ALWOPLAST S.A.
- Chile By Alex Wopper
published The Power of Multihulls - Fall 2005
See full text below, or click on images to view actual article.
a high-speed ferry for the notoriously rough Patagonian channels
in the south of Chile. Because of the constantly increasing flow
of international tourists into that overwhelming and exuberant wild
and untouched nature, maritime excursions, as the only means of
transport in that area, became of utmost importance. Southern Chile
is considered as one of the stormiest areas on the globe and offering
a safe and efficient water-borne transport system isachallenging
undertaking. Especially because of the required high speed if you
plan to see places in a vast and generous channel landscape plagued
with hurricane-force williwaws.
Because of fhe clear performance improvementon the 50-ff high-speed
displacement catamaran "Molly," after installation of
a set of foils designed by Profes- sor Hoppe of F. A.S.T.cc in South
Africa, the decision was made to commission Prof. Hoppe for a completely
new design for the private high-speed cruiser mar- ket. We ended
up with a 45-foot asymmetric, jet-driven planing hull, especially
developed for a tandem foil system with emphasis on seakeeping and
a projected sprint speed of 50 knots. The first hull shell was about
to be finished when a Chilean hotel group approached us regarding
Austro Hotels and ALWOPLAST S.A. came to an agreement, and the basic
design concept had to be adapted fo the new require- ments.Seakeepingand
seaworthiness were still a very high priority, but the design speed
was reduced to 35 knots for passenger comfort. F. A.S.T.cc provided
the hull lines and hydrodynamic calculations, including foil design.
ALWOPLAST S.A.. the vessel's builder, alsoconducted the overall
concept, styling and interior design, plus systems layout. Navtec
Chile Ltda. did the complete structural design, finite element analysis
and computational fluid dynamics studies.
The new hull particulars for the 60-passenger cat are now: LOA
- 54 ft. BOA - 16.8 ft, Draft 3.3 ft. Displ. fully loaded - 48500
lbs. Divinycell foam-core construction with Vectorply stitched multiaxial
fabrics and BASF Vinylester resins. Two Cummins QSM-11 with 580
hp each directly coupled toHamilton HJ362 jets. "FIORDOS DEL
SUR" based in Puerto Natales, Chile 51 °44" South,
will be the first power mullihull ferry in the Chilean Patagonian
channels and is considered as a significant milestone in the development
of the tourist industry in that part of the world. Launching was
in July and the first sea-trials in the roaring forties were conducted
in August. The same basic hull concept , but with a completely custom-built
superstructure, will be available as a private high-speed cruiser
or game fisher.
Alwoplast LTDA Valdivia, Chili Alex Wopper
Profile' published in Cruising World November 2007 issue
by Elaine Lembo
is Celebrating its 20th Birthday
Alwoplast in MULTIHUU-S Magazine | January/February 2007
As if to elevate the celebratory moment... Alwoplast S.A. (Chile)
also just received ISO 9001:2000 certification, something only very
few yards have and the entire staff is proud of that achievement!
The Gcrmanischer Lloyd certifies that Alwoplast has estab- lished
and maintains a Quality Management System relevant for compound
material craft design, engineering and manufacture of up to 80 feet,
including its me- chanical, electrical, electronic and navigation
equipment, accommodations and interior com- pletions and manufacturing
and associated facilities. Certificate No. CS-4017 HH. Beyond the
many happy owners of sail and power multihulls already plying the
worldwide seas there are nine catamarans on the premises right now,
at different stages of completion. One almost ready for delivery
is a 47- foot sailing catamaran for a US client with the world's
first com- plete OSSA hybrid diesel electric propulsion system,
based on two 25kw gensets and twin electric drive motors. All appliances
run on 220V DC. Also almost ready for delivery is a brand-new 50-foot
cruising sail cat for Patagonia.
Approximately two years ago, Alwoplast stopped building sail- ing
cats and dedicated all its efforts toward power cats, com- mercial
and private one-offs, but as things tend to go in cycles, the company
is back to sail cats, where its founder and CEO Alex Wopper started
20 years ago. "We are even building nega- tive hull molds for
a Chris White - Atlantic 57. The first one is sold to a client from
Cali- fornia (will be our third sail cat in CA). That's all epoxy
vacuum bagged with stitched fabrics and about 6000 feet of carbon
units. A real lightweight, high-performance round-the-world cruiser!"
was Wopper's proud statement. However, power cats have not been
forsaken, there is a superb
60-foot one-off high-speed dis- placement one Cayman flag ready
for delivery at Wopper's docks.
It is absolutely state-of-the-art equipped and ready to cruise
all oceans on the globe.
Part 1: Trawler Kinds Of Cats
Located in Chile, Alwoplast builds custom multihulls, both
sail and power. It focuses not on competition, but on the customer.
The company is a member of ABYC and has a highly skilled group of
German- managed engineers, project managers and craftsmen. Alwoplast
builds multihulls in the range of 35 to 80 feet and in models ranging
from a ferry-like Sea Bus to a family-oriented cruising cat. One
of the most recent power cats built has been described as a "trawler
cat" based on her performance, range and sea-keeping ability.
This boat made a great debut at the 2002 United States Powerboat
Show in Annapolis, Maryland, and seems to have influenced other
Alwoplast trawler cat designs.
A 65-foot model under development is being designed specifically
as a long- range trawler catamaran. With the ability to carry 3,160
gallons of fuel and cruise between 12 and 15 knots, this catamaran
is easily comparable to an offshore-going trawler. Bill and Shari
Henderson of Evergreen, Colorado, are eagerly awaiting the delivery
of their 50-foot sport cruiser catamaran and follow her progress
via email. By the time you read this, they will be on board their
new boat, on which they plan to spend winters in Florida and summers
cruising up north. The Hendersons were more than pleased with Alwoplast
in that they were able to truly customize their boat from the hulls
up. For the Hendersons, it was important that the two of them could
handle the boat alone and that they could spend 6 to 7 months a
year on board. They also wanted to be able to walk into their engine
rooms and get to all sides of the engines. They helped design their
boat, and ultimately, they got just what they wanted.
According to Alex Wopper of Alwoplast, the boat handled extremely
well in high winds and surf off the coast of Chile. Added buoyancy
from the bulbous bows, as well as larger rudders, allowed for easy
compensation of steering resistance. Cruising at 15 knots, the delivery
crew experienced a variety of weather conditions and had only good
things to say about the boat's performance. They also found that
the boat was quiet, with no vibration under way, and that the engine's
placement under the cockpit rcduccs noise and significantly minimizes
the level of heat transfer to the interior.
With a comfortable and spacious galley, ample saloon room (thanks
to a 20-foot beam), and high-quality engine-room gear, this boat
was designed for offshore cruising, but it can just as easily hop
from island to island off the coast of Florida. It will all depend
on the cruising desires of the Hendersons, but the custom-building
techniques and Alwoplast's attention to detail helped to guarantee
their cruising goals would be met.
published: PASSAGEMAKER Mar/Apr 2005
a Lovely Story about
Delivery of "Dalilah Sue" - 57 ft trawler
catamaran from the Roaring 40's up to Miami- Beach Marina
Delivery of Dalilah Sue From the Roaring 40's
up to Miami
published: Winter 2005 - The Power of MULTIHULLS Magaine
Finally the rwd sea buoy came into sight and the sensation of riding
a wild mustang for the last 30 hours also came to an end. The last
495 nm from Isla Mujcres, Mexico to Miami was a beating, straight
into the wind and the Gulf Stream, against 25 knots of prevailing
trade winds, that can produce a very confused sea and Dalilah Sue
had no troubles fitting into that nasty wave pattern. Being honest,
I guess the fatigued crew had more troubles to adapt to the conditions
than the catamaran, because DS took the waves like a minor discomfort.
Anyway, we were more than happy to power up into the channel. Flagler
Island to port, a last VHF call with an US Coast Guard officer and
Miami Beach Marina, the agreed meeting point was ahead of us.
What a satisfying moment! Shari and Bill, the happy owners standing
on the pier and
waving enthusiastically, and here we were. At 08 00 a.m.. exactly
as promised after a 5000-nm-long delivery trip from its birthplace
in Valdivia/Chile, 40° Fat. South in the Pacific, all the way
up north to Miami. What a compensation for all the suffering and
efforts put into thai trip. The joyful eyes and the warm hug we
received made us forget the last four weeks and a deep feeling of
accomplishment settled into us. Mission successfully completed!
What made us really proud was the fact that after a thorough wash-down,
the custom-built 50ft powerhouse was absolutely ready for more adventures.
After having cleared all arrival procedures, we lired up the two
trustworthy caterpillars and moved DS to her final destination in
Ft. Lauderdale. What a welcome difference to the rough open ocean
passages during the last month. Traveling the ICW at a leisurely
pace, but... let's start from the beginning.
Alwoplast S. A. hadavery seaworthy and proven
57 ft trawler catamaran, Barbara Mae at the 2002 Annapolis Powerboat
Show and her owners Barbara and Hob made ex- actly the same trip
from the building yard hometotheUS (see Power of MULTIHULLS Mag
Vol.2 No.3). For them, the 8000 nm trip (in total) up to Massachusetts
was the trip of their lifetime and the purpose was to enjoy and
see places, not just a plain delivery trip on a tight schedule.
Shari and Bill met BM's owners at the show, talked about their building
experi- ence and asa result, signed a contract with the ya rd for
a not her serious one-off trawler catamaran (see POM, Spring '03
After the cat was finished, Alwoplast had to face the task of delivery
because the owners couldn't do it due to time constraints. Costs
and logistics for shipping the vessel as deck freight were prohibitive,
and inquiries regarding profes- sional delivery crews proved fruitless.
We were faced with the challenge of a brand-new vessel, during winter
in the Southern Hemisphere, espe- cially since the boatyard is located
at the entrance to the "roaring 40s" and it was still
a very active hurricane season in the Caribbean. We had a big ad
vant age. We knew the eat very well and what kind of product we
deliver. After building only catamarans for over 15 years with a
very personal, diligent and pro- fessional staff, we knew we could
handle what surprises Mother Nature had to offer and we fell prepared
to take on the task. Of course, we were also very keen to get the
feedback of a one-month trip aboard one of our own constructions
and as the three of us considered ourselves seasoned sailors withacombined
experience of about 150.000 tun. we accepted the challenge. Because
of nasty latewinter weather with lots of northerly storms, we had
to delay departure several times. We expected that the approaching
spring weather would bring the trustworthy high-pressure system
in the South Pacific more to the south. That system is normally
nourished by cold air coming up from the Antarctic and that means
reliable southerly winds along the Chilean coast. That truth turns
into a nerve-wracking one for the sailors trying to come down from
Panama, because they have to beat into constant 20+ knots of southerly
winds. But, as the book "Ocean Passages of the World"
says on its lirst page, "the prevailing wind is the wind in
your nose" and that is where we started.
Buoy weather reported 25knots westerly windsand seas from 14-17
feet. DS did 15 knots at 2200 rptn with quite some banging on the
underwing. Waves were very confused because of the still active
wind/seas from the dying southerly wind and that lured us out of
the harbor. But we couldn't slow down because of an approaching
front and the building northerly sea was not a good sign at all.
We had to try to maintain speed and gel under the protective cover
of the high pressure system farther north with the much desired
southerlies. We all paid our tribute to Neptune and the developing
conditions were not really supportive to our efforts. The first
night out at sea could be best described as confidence building,
and provided avery positive attitude towards ouradaptation process
and growing sea legs again. The following sunrise rewarded us with
more and more southerly windsand it looked as though the weather
gods were on our side. From the same direction, a steady 25 knots
of wind and building seas provided us with some thrilling surfs
and the log often showed 25-26 knots with only 2000 rpm. We agreed
that a really seagoing cat should have solid footrestson the dashboard,
be- cause that was the only way to brace ourselves into the captain's
chair with our legs against the instrument panel. There was no need
for a windshield washer as the breaking waves were doing the job.
but the windshield wipers were in constant use. The engine start
keys were definitely close to the wiper switches and it took a lot
of concentration and acrobatic effort to hit the right buttons.
Whenever a following sea picked lis up, DS lifted her sterns, her
foredeek almost down to water level, and the speedometer warned
us of another building acceleration. Our bulbous bows made us feel
very comfortable and the extra buoyancy around the nose was very
much appreciated. Every couple of minutes the spec- tacle repeated:
sterns up, nose down, riding the wave, reaching 10 knots above average
speed and then, when the wave collapsed, there was an enormous hole
in front of the boat. Looked as though somebody pulled the plug
and there was no more water! Who lalks about flipping catamarans
side- ways? It takes good judgement and the right speed to stay
on top of things. Shooting over waves like that or losing steering
could be a very bad experience. But isn't good judgement the result
of experience and experience the result of bad judgement? I cannot
imagine driving a similar size monohull in the same conditions with
the same speed. Next day in the morning wo reached Coquimbo. our
first fuel stop, and I he log showed that wc averaged 15.5 knots
in adverse conditions with a fuel burn of 1.17gal/nin.
As we had no system failures or breakdowns during the first 059
nm leg, we thought that we had reached the end of the shake-down
cruise and now we were into the more enjoyable part. Big mistake.
The next goal was Arica, the northernmost Chilean port and close
to the border of Peru. The high-pressure system was very protective
and gave us perfect sailing weather. We were really missing a mast
and some sails and the 15-IS knots from the south assured good progress.
After hours powering north and parallel to The Chilean desert, on
a routine check we dis covered an inflated hydraulic steering hose.
There was not enough spare hose on board to change an entire 15ft-longhydrauliccircuitand
had to look for the next available harbor. The Chilean coast doesn't
offer too many options and the old mining town of Iquique. 20rgadus
Lat. South was the logical choice.
The little "Club de Yates" is not really prepared for
a 50ft catamaran. but we managed to convince the sea lions to move
a little bit from the beach and with the bows almost touching sand
we could get the aft starboard rear swimming platform next to a
The inner core of the hose was somehow punctured in one spot and
the hydraulic fluid leaked into the outer hose liner. That made
the hose look like an overly stuffed sausage, a scary sight.
As we were slill in Chile, we managed to get spares from the yard
and fixed the problem wit hout greater difficulties. Later it turned
out that this was the first and last technical problem over the
5000 nm. I had to fly back home to the yard because of all the other
new constructions taking place at Alwoplast for the US market and
Wolfgang and Ron i had to takeover the remaining trip to Panama
on their own.
Because of unfavorable reports from different sailing vessels,
the intention was to power directly to Salinas in Kcuador, leaving
Peru on starboard. That was a 1300nm + trip and PS was running almost
1) knots with 1230 rpm, burning 0.7gal/nm. The constant southerly
winds around 10-12 knots and calm seas made for excellent sailing
conditions. Doesn't get any better, and the crew had time to adapt
to constantly rising temperatures. Thelogbook really had nothingexciting
to offer.Alittledinghy trip on the open ocean, a nice Dorade on
the trolling line ami a dive to check the underwater appendages
A friendly, but not very efficient reception from port authorities
marked again the difference to Chilean habits. It always surprises
the sailing folks when they enter Chile. Nothing to do with the
rest of South America. Friendly, efficient and no charges. Very
professional. The950gal. of fuel had to be replaced, also some fresh
food, and wc were out to sea again. Sea conditions were st ill perfect
and DS purred along again at 15 knots, far away from the Colombian
coast, just to play it safe. Water and air temperatures were constantly
rising and the next morning found us in the middle of a small outboard-powered
fishing fleet way out at sea. The tropical convergence zone was
up to her reputation. Rain showers out of nowhere, constantly changing
winds and sudden squalls up to 40 knots.
Two nights before reaching Panama we had strong winds right on
the nose, a very short-but-steep sea and barely tolerable heal.
The fatigued and very tired crew called the yard via SAT. phone
and asked (tongue-in-cheek) for a Taxi to bring her back home! Speed
was down to 1050 rpm, averaging 7.5 knots. Landfall before Panama
was at "Isla San Jose" in the group of "Las Perlas"
islands. The perfect anchorage was at 08 l.VN. 79 "06' W. over
18 feet of crystal-clear water and what a temptation to stay for
a while, but this was not a holiday cruise. The cat and crew were
supposed to be in Panama the next day in order for me to rejoin
them for the remaining trip. The name of the game is "delivery."
FlamencoMarinain Panama had usforthreedays.toprepare for the transit
to the Atlantic.
As it was the weekend, we enjoyed the busy life around the restaurant
at the club house. It looked I ike we found the absolute in-place
in Panama, where the rich and beautiful had created their hide-out.
Some club members looked at us in disbelief when they heard that
DS had just come up from 40° South, doing over 3500 nm in just
two and a half weeks and basically we did only general maintenance
work like washing the salt off and polishing the stainless. It seems
that a good agent is the way to go, regarding the transit documentation
and lirst time measurement. On Tuesday. November 16"', thanks
to the agent we got two extra line handlers antl were right on time
at the lirst Miraflores lock with our "canal transit advisor."
The transit was an enjoyable experience (alongside a small cruise
vessel going up and ahead of a big ship and along side going down).
I lowever. t he Atlantic welcomed us wit h lousy and very windy
weather conditions for the next leg up north.
Anchored that night at the flats in Colon and as the town had nothing
special to offer, the next morning we headed out to sea again. After
rounding the breakwaters, the reality of a push, push delivery trip
sneaked back into our thoughts. A caulions sailor would never have
left harbor undergiven climatic conditions, but as we had to meet
a deadline in Miami and our confidence in DS'seagoing capabilities
were now really sky high, so we decided to continue. For the first
two clays we had to deal with trade winds against us, between 25-30
knots and rain squalls with 35 knots. Seas were extremely nasty
and the heat did the rest to the crew. During twodaysnobody took
in any food and we basically tried to find a place somewhere aft
and low in the boat to get some rest bet ween 3 hours of watch periods
upon the helm. Theamount of floating debris and entire trees, most
likely the result of the last big hurricanes of a couple of weeksearlierwerefrightcning.
During daytime we managed to maintain about 12 knots with a sharp
lookout but, at night, we slowed down to 7 knots because of threatening
collisions with floating tree trunks.
Again we were very happy about our strongly built bulbous bows
and the protection they offer in case of a head-on collision. We
thought of all the poor souls who lost their lives during the last
hurricanes and realized how close we were to possibly becoming delayed
victims of the same terrible natural phenomena. I cannot recall
how often we checked (in our thoughts) the laminate schedulesand
our established quality-control systems, whenever a big wave crashed
under the bridge deck.
Incredible how strong and fatigue-resistant a well-built vacuum-bagged
composite panel can be (Divinycell foam core, VectorPly re- inforcements
and Vinylester resin from BASF). Again, under normal conditions,
a careful seaman would never put himself and the boat through a
test like that, but we had to and we were sure about the integrity
of the structure.
Thanks to modem electronic charts, (GPS, radar, paired with old-fashioned
seamanship, we managed to get safely around all the reefs and little
islands in that area. It was a constant gamble between angle to
the wind, speed and acceptable discomfort, but altera treacherous
884 nm, we tied up at Enrique Lima's Marina in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.
Obviously DS took all the st rain wit hout any complaints, something
that the crew cannot boast of! After the customary two-day lay-over
with cleaning, polish- ing and refueling we left Mexico for our
last leg. again against prevailing wind conditions.
Because of fuel burn considerations and avoiding too much discomfort,
we never saw engine loads over 50% and the preferred speed was around
15 knots with 1.17gal/nm. For a real long distance: cruising speed
of 9 knots burning 0.7 gal/nm seems to be perfect.
We learned a lot about how well the catamaran performed over very
long distance passages and a wide range of diverse sea and wind
conditions. We have satisfied ourselves that we arc producing the
ultimate long-distance cruisers and have nothing to change on our
structures or design, and only minor improvements to make in system
layouts. "For sure it was a hell of an adventure," as
Barbara and Bob had said two years earlier about the Barbara Mae.
See Dalilah Sue at the Miami Int'l Boat Show. Feb. 17 - 21