As Record Attempt Draws Closer, Thunder Child Gets Slick New Look

Cork shipbuilder’s Safehaven Marine are planning a record-breaking attempt this Summer circumnavigating the entire island of Ireland including Rockall which lies about 460km north west of Malin Head.

They’re doing it in their newest vessel the 60ft high-speed boat Thunder Child and we caught up with Safehaven Marine MD Frank Kowalski to find out everything thats been happening as they build toward the record attempt.

Record Attempt Thunder Child New Look

Thunder Child 45 knots+ cruise speed and long range fuel tanks provide a range of 700nm+

Hi Frank, when we chatted in January you were carrying out extreme weather testing on Thunder Child in Cork, how are things going now?

Everything is progressing nicely – she was re-launched in her new colours last Tuesday and she is looking fantastic. The intention with the new look was to have her looking like a silver bullet and I think we have certainly achieved that. The sponsors stickers have also gone on at this point which look well on the new colour.

Whilst she was out of the water, most of the final fitout was carried out and we are currently finishing same including the final electrical work, tracking software, infrared camera systems etc.

Record Attempt Thunder Child New Look

What sort of testing has been going on in the last few months?

In March we carried out the self-righting tests down in the Port of Cork, one unmanned and the second manned with three crew members on board.

The purpose of this was to test her ability to recover if hit by a large breaking wave. She performed perfectly and we were very pleased with the results.

Record Attempt Thunder Child New Look

Silver Bullet Powered by a pair of Caterpillar C12.9 1,000hp engines

We did our first high speed long run trip to Dublin the week after the self-righting. It went really well. We had the full 6 person crew on board and we did Roche’s Point to Poolbeg in 3 hours 45 mins, a journey of 150 nautical miles at an average speed of 43 kts. Again we were delighted with her performance and we had no issues or cause for concern.

What have you got lined up in the next few weeks as you get closer to the record attempt?

We plan to carry out more sea trials over the coming week to test all of the upgrades. We’re planning a short night trip – This is to simulate what the night time portion of the trip at speed will be like, and to see what challenges that presents. That will happen this month and again the plan is for all 6 of us to be on board for same.

We are also doing a recon run from Cork to Galway probably towards the end of the month, again with the full crew.

Record Attempt Thunder Child New Look

Have you zeroed in on a date for the record attempt yet?

As regards the trip itself we don’t have a definite date as that will be weather dependant but we do have an optimum window which is late June and first three 3 weeks of July. We will be watching the weather conditions closely during that period and will pick the optimum time, probably at quite short notice.

Great stuff, thanks for chatting with us Frank – we’re really looking forward to seeing Thunder Child getting this record!

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Daniel Farrell
Interested in all things on the Irish coast and sharing the best of it. // Email: // Follow on Twitter: @DanielsSeaViews