DISCOVER Magazine #7

Evolution in action. Fast Crew Supplier 2710

Published in category: Offshore Wind

Damen’s renowned Twin Axe is back! And this time it’s bigger than ever. When Damen unleashed the Fast Crew Supplier (FCS) 2610 back in 2011, it took the offshore wind industry by storm. In next to no time, the 2610 was to be found plying its trade to countless North Sea wind farms. It’s no exaggeration to say that this overnight success story became the new industry benchmark.

A chopper for choppy seas

The performance of the 2610 seemed to provide an answer to everything – it was quick, it was stable, it offered considerable deck space and – most crucially of all for a vessel transporting non-maritime personnel to work in oft-choppy waters – it was comfortable.

Comfortable courtesy of its Axe Bow. This deliverer of seakeeping credentials is a Damen innovation that, until that point, had graced only mono-hull vessels. Named for the way its keel lines slope forwards as the sheer lines slope up, the bow’s resemblance to an axe is unmistakable. The Axe Bow is so much more than simple good looks, however. Where conventional vessels slam in waves, a Sea Axe vessel glides effortlessly through. And what better way to celebrate such fine features than twinning them to deliver the world’s first large wind farm support ship?

Spirit of progress

Never one to rest on its laurels, however, Damen has taken this step forward one step further, with the successor vessel – the FCS 2710. Product Manager at Damen’s High Speed Craft product group Wim Boerma says, “The 2610 really was the first vessel of its kind. It’s an excellent boat, but of course there are always lessons to be learned. If the 2610 was a revolution, the 2710 is evolution in action.”

Fast Crew Supplier 2710 sailing into sunset

The spirit of progressive development is to be found throughout the entirety of the vessel, Wim states. “We’ve taken the very best of the 2610 in all its fundamental characteristics and brought it forward. What this vessel delivers is more flexibility, more tank capacity, greater deck space, increased comfort and more accommodation. It really is improved in all areas. Think of it as a wind farm support vessel 2.0.”

If the 2610 was a revolution, the 2710 is evolution in action.

Bigger boat, increased uptime

One key way in which the new FCS delivers improved comfort is via increased height. Wim: “The 2710 has an extra metre in height compared to the 2610. The extra clearance from the water makes a considerable difference.”

“When we designed the 2610, the industry standard was for operations in 1 metre wave height, which the vessel was able to comfortably meet. With the increase in height, however, the 2710 is able to operate above 2 metres wave height, raising the uptime of the vessel significantly.”

Another feature of the FCS 2710 is a specially designed fender that Damen has been working on for some time.

The 2710 is just one metre longer than its predecessor, but can transport more than twice as many passengers. Wim: “The industry has changed. In 2011, regulations meant that such vessels were transporting up to 12 persons. Now with changes in the legislation, vessels can transport up to 60 persons. The 2710 in standard configuration can carry 26 passengers. ”

“Damen is also developing a larger vessel – the FCS 3410, which can also carry up to 60 passengers. The simple elongation of the vessel is a good way to increase capacity, whilst adhering to the strict requirements of safety and comfort required by the North Sea standards.”

Coming to a wind farm near you

The sharp rise in passenger capacity comes from optimising the available deck space, as Wim explains. “The 2610 features a stepped foredeck. In the 2710 we’ve made the deck flush, delivering a more efficient space. What this means is, we can increase the size of the wheelhouse, more than double the capacity of the accommodation – at the same time upgrading the quality of it – and still end up with 90 m2 deck space available for cargo transportation.” The first FCS 2710 has already been purchased by UK-based High Speed Transfers and will soon be gracing North Sea wind farms with its presence.

The first FCS 2710 has already been purchased

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