Ask MBY

Motorboat & Yachting - - Contents -

FLAR­ING UP

I am a sail­ing club res­cue of­fi­cer and pre­par­ing for our an­nual RYA in­spec­tion. The py­rotech­nic flares on board our three ribs are al­most out of date and need to be safely dis­posed of and re­placed. Py­rotech­nic flares seem un­nec­es­sary and dan­ger­ous to be stored and used on board a RIB, es­pe­cially within such a small, de­fined op­er­a­tional sail­ing area of around 6nm.

The cur­rent RYA rules for in­spec­tion still in­di­cate that py­rotech­nic flares are to be car­ried in all res­cue RIBS. We had, how­ever, hoped to see a change to the much safer and more mod­ern and prac­ti­cal LED flares.

Have there been any re­cent de­vel­op­ments that may lead to the RYA agree­ing to ac­cept LED fares in res­cue RIBS in the near fu­ture? Ron War­wick We con­tacted the RYA on your be­half and re­ceived the fol­low­ing re­sponse from its di­rec­tor of train­ing and qual­i­fi­ca­tion, Richard Falk: ‘The RYA has for more than five years been lob­by­ing hard and work­ing with a num­ber of dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions in the UK to urge the MCA to agree to a suit­able al­ter­na­tive to py­rotech­nics. In this day and age of laser flares, EPIRBS, PLBS and nu­mer­ous other means of more mod­ern emer­gency dis­tress sig­nalling op­tions, we agree that re­quir­ing ves­sels to carry py­rotech­nics is se­ri­ously ques­tion­able. With re­gards to the re­quire­ments for safety equip­ment to be car­ried by ves­sels ap­proved for Rya-recog­nised train­ing cen­tres, this is sub­ject to agree­ment by the MCA. At present, the MCA will not ac­cept any al­ter­na­tive to py­rotech­nics for ves­sels sub­ject to the Small Com­mer­cial Ves­sel codes of prac­tice or to those that fall within the agreed frame­work of RYA Train­ing recog­ni­tion.’

SELL UP OR SPRUCE UP?

I have a 1992 Sun­seeker Mus­tang which I use for day trips around the south coast. It drives well and to my eye, the ex­te­rior lines still look as sweet as ever, but the cock­pit and in­te­rior are get­ting a bit shabby and def­i­nitely date the boat. I can’t de­cide whether I should sell up and buy a new boat or spend the money on spruc­ing up my cur­rent one. What would you rec­om­mend? Alan Craner There’s an ar­gu­ment for both sides of that de­bate but if the hull and en­gines are in good nick, I’d be tempted to go for a re­fit. I’ve al­ways ad­mired the lines of the Mus­tang and un­less you’re think­ing of up­grad­ing to a Windy, XO or Ax­opar, you’ll strug­gle to find a bet­ter hull at that size.

I’ve re­cently had the cock­pit of my 22ft Kar­nic re-up­hol­stered in Sil­ver­tex fab­ric by Cre­ative Up­hol­stery in Poole (keep an eye out for the full story in a fu­ture is­sue), which has com­pletely trans­formed both the look and us­abil­ity of it. The style and tex­ture of the fab­ric gives it a much more mod­ern ap­pear­ance, while new closed-cell foam cush­ions mean no more soggy bums every time you sit down! If you’ve got enough left over for a hull wrap too, it will look and feel like a brand new boat. Hugo

as pos­si­ble early lo­ca­tions, but Paris is the hot favourite to pi­o­neer the new trans­port ser­vice af­ter Se­abub­bles re­ceived the back­ing of the mayor.

Like the pods, the dock­ing sta­tions are de­signed to be as eco friendly as pos­si­ble, gen­er­at­ing their own elec­tri­cal power from so­lar canopies over­head and tidal tur­bines un­der­neath. The Bub­bles will au­to­mat­i­cally start to recharge as soon as they dock, while bat­ter­ies mounted in the Bub­ble’s hull store enough en­ergy to power them from dock to dock.

Each Bub­ble is 13ft 9in long (4.2m) and 8ft 10in wide (2.7m). The cur­rent de­sign sees four pas­sen­gers seated fore and aft fac­ing each other with a soli­tary helm po­si­tion up front, but ul­ti­mately the idea is to make each Bub­ble a self-driv­ing au­tonomous craft. The main hull has an M-shaped cathe­dral de­sign sim­i­lar to an old Dell Quay Dory for max­i­mum sta­bil­ity at rest, while the fixed foils form a con­tin­u­ous loop un­der­neath. The rear foil is also the mount­ing point for the twin elec­tric pods which stick out sev­eral inches be­low on slen­der legs to keep them sub­mersed at all times.

The foils work like an aero­plane’s wings cre­at­ing low pres­sure on the up­per sur­face and high pres­sure be­neath, gen­er­at­ing suf­fi­cient lift to raise the main hull com­pletely out of the water. This dra­mat­i­cally re­duces drag, one of the crit­i­cal fac­tors lim­it­ing the speed and range of elec­tric craft, and al­lows the craft to ‘fly’ above the sur­face chop.

In some city lo­ca­tions, the speed will be ar­ti­fi­cially re­stricted to around 10 knots for rea­sons of safety. At the mo­ment, the Bub­bles are only suit­able for use in rel­a­tively calm lo­ca­tions such as rivers and lakes. How­ever, the team is work­ing on a seago­ing ver­sion with a pre­dicted top speed of 30 knots.

The com­pany has al­ready se­cured a re­ported €10 mil­lion of back­ing from MAIF, a French in­sur­ance com­pany, en­abling it build the first func­tion­ing pro­to­type. This was re­vealed in the South of France at an event in June. De­tails of the bat­tery and propul­sion sys­tem have not yet been re­leased but the pod drives on the pro­to­type share some vis­ual sim­i­lar­i­ties with Ger­man com­pany Torqeedo’s elec­tric pods and out­boards. In an in­ter­view with Bloomberg, CEO An­ders Bring­dal re­ferred to a bat­tery ca­pac­ity of around 200kwh.

Although the pro­to­type is a fairly ba­sic open craft, the ren­der­ings of the pro­duc­tion ver­sion show a more so­phis­ti­cated-look­ing de­sign with open­ing doors and a fixed canopy that draws its in­spi­ra­tion from lux­ury cars.

It isn’t yet clear whether Se­abub­bles will be made avail­able for sale to pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als but it’s a project we will be watch­ing closely. Even if it re­mains purely a public trans­port ini­tia­tive, it could in­tro­duce a whole new gen­er­a­tion of peo­ple to the joys of mo­tor boats and help ac­cel­er­ate the de­vel­op­ment of foil­ing elec­tric craft.

Con­tact www.se­abub­bles.fr

If Alan’s Sun­seeker Mus­tang looks half as good as this one, it’s worth spend­ing money on new cock­pit up­hol­stery

The team have al­ready se­cured a ru­moured €10mil­lion of fund­ing to help de­velop the con­cept

Founders Alain Thébault and An­ders Bring­dal hope Se­abub­ble will be­come the eco-friendly Uber of the boat world

A com­puter ren­der­ing of how the pro­duc­tion Se­abub­ble may look

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