Real world tests new design
Windwave workboats’ first-of-class FCS 2008
Cornwall, UK-based Windwave Workboats has been providing offshore wind farm support and crew transfer services to the European Offshore Wind industry since 2008. Last year, the company’s fleet expanded with its first Damen-built vessel – a Fast Crew Supply (FCS) 2008 named Susie S. The vessel also represents a first for Damen as she is a first-of-class. As is the case for many a first-of-class vessel, Susie S’s first job was not without its teething problems – despite completing her first contract with 0% downtime.
Damen was natural progression for us – they are the Mercedes of boatbuilding
“Our clients have had a lot of success in using Damen’s FCS 2610, but for certain operations, it is just too large. We understand that bigger is not always better,” says Windwave Workboats Commercial Director Peter Scriven. The ISM-certified company performs a lot of support work for jack-up vessels carrying out wind turbine operation and maintenance contracts – tasks that suit a short, manoeuvrable vessel.
As well as smooth seakeeping behavior and fast transit times, Windwave’s requirements included two cabins, to allow for overnight accommodation, and a foredeck crane to supplement the large stern and bow cargo storage areas. “Damen’s FCS 2008 was an obvious choice for our applications,” informs Mr Scriven. “And because of their reputation, going to Damen was natural progression for us – they are the Mercedes of boatbuilding.”
After delivery from Damen’s yard in Den Helder, the Netherlands, in the summer of 2014, Windwave took the Susie S north for her first job – to the Butendiek offshore wind farm in Danish waters. There, the 20 metre vessel provided support to the project’s inter-array cable layer. Susie S’s debut into the Offshore Wind sector was not without its problems. “We discovered some weak points – some real world issues,” says Mr Scriven. “We experienced a lot of pitching while sailing directly into waves, the vessel was very susceptible to weight and there was lots of spray which resulted in a very wet foredeck.”
Despite the problems, Windwave finished the contract successfully. “We completed this job with 0% downtime – something that is excellent for any new vessel, especially a first-of-class vessel,” continues Mr Scriven. “Our client was also very happy with the load-carrying capacity of the large foredeck and the great accommodation.” On completion of the Butendiek project, Mr Scriven returned to Damen in the Netherlands with his findings from the first job. “On taking delivery of a firstof- class vessel, everybody expects to have a certain number of problems. It is ultimately a brand new design. However, we want to go on a job confident that the vessel is going to perform.”
Damen’s response to the feedback? “They carried out a number of modifications to solve our problems,” stresses Mr Scriven. To address the spray issues on the foredeck, Damen covered the grated foredeck with a reinforced lightweight composite material and welded tubing to the fore spray rails to achieve improved water run-off. Neither adaptation affected the impressive load carrying capacity of the foredeck: “The sea spray issue has undoubtedly been resolved and, if anything, the Susie S now has a larger cargo carrying area than before,” explains Mr Scriven. “There are no manual handling issues and no trip hazards and it is easier to carry bags and equipment.”
Damen raised the load-line in order to solve the weight issues: “By raising the load-line, the weight issue has also completely disappeared,” he continues. In response to the third and final problem of pitching, Damen modified the fuel tanks by positioning two air-filled bladders in the front ends of the tanks – with the aim of making the vessel more stable when sailing into the weather. “Despite this modification, we will still have a 8,000 litre fuel capacity – enough for our needs.”
Mr Scriven is also happy with Damen’s after sales support concerning spare parts lists and maintenance. “We gain certification through a proactive maintenance schedule,” he explains. “Damen’s documentation allowed us to integrate the vessel into our Planned Maintenance System.”
“In the process of sorting out the snag-list, Damen has been fantastic. They have remedied all the points we raised,” informs Mr Scriven. “When we left the yard to go to the next job, we encountered 3-4 metre seas which the Susie S handled effortlessly. The vessel already had strong points – now it doesn’t have any weak points. I can now go to clients and honestly say: ‘You are not going to get a better boat.’”