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Working together - it takes a supply chain to build a vessel

Seawork exhibitors show importance of innovation, experience and trusted relationships in making things happen.

Twenty-three Seawork exhibitors brought their expertise to bear to design, build, fitout, and launch the latest builds from Wight Shipyard - two 37m fast ferries for Mexico’s largest ferry operator Ultramar.  Destined to operate between Cancun and Isla Mujeres primarily, Both vessels have the capacity to accommodate 459 passengers over 3 decks, including a top deck with seating for 122 passengers.

By chance

It was a chance conversation on a shuttle bus leading to a formal meeting between Wight Shipyard’s Peter Morton and client Ultramar’s Mauricio Orozco that started the ball rolling.  Ultramar’s previous vessels had been built in the USA but timely delivery seemed to be becoming a recurring problem for the company. After visiting a selection of previously completed builds, Orozco placed the order with Wight Shipyard  stating one of the main reasons for choosing the yard was its reputation for delivering on time.

By design

Designed by fellow Seawork exhibitor Incat Crowther, a leading naval architect and engineering service that specialises in catamaran and monohull designs, other critical issues for the new builds were efficiency and a challenging weight-saving target. The vessels are 20,000 kg lighter than comparable models and 3,000 kg lighter than design with weight savings achieved by using new construction techniques developed by Wight Shipyard and the sourcing of the lightest most efficient parts and materials.


Power and propulsion requirements were met by a trio of Seawork exhibitors; MTU, ZF and CJR Propulsion. MTU supplied each vessel with two MTU 12V4000 M63 engines (output at 2 x 1500 kW (2012 hp) @ 1800 rpm) and gearboxes are ZF 7600’s. A full stern gear package, including two fixed pitch propellers, also saw new curved hydrodynamic-designed rudders from CJR Propulsion. Traditionally, conventionally-designed rudders are positioned directly behind the propeller, with the rudder’s profile aligned symmetrically to the rudder’s vertical plane. However, this approach does not take into account the uneven rotational flow which impacts on the rudder blade, thereby reducing speed and performance whilst increasing fuel consumption. Using simulations visualised through computational fluid dynamics, CJR designed a rudder with a ‘‘twisted profile’ to perfectly align with the propeller flow angles along the entire rudder span, reducing the rudder drag adding a potential two knots to top speed and reducing engine load by up to 3%.  The faster, more fuel-efficient vessels are able to achieve a service speed of 24 knots @75% MCR.

Wight Shipyard called on its well-established supply chain, many members of whom are fellow Seawork exhibitors, for a wide range of components and equipment including bespoke windows from Seaglaze Marine Windows and off the shelf and custom items from Aalco, Barden, Halyard and Stauff amongst others.

Exceeding expectation

“Working with Ultramar is a good match for WSC, our standards and attention to detail are of paramount importance to produce not only an on-time build, but one of superior quality. Ultramar provide both commuter and holiday destination vessels and the level of fitout is far higher than normal commuter boats. Stages for lives bands, multi coloured LED lighting above and below the waterline and very powerful sound systems were a first for us,” said Peter Morton, CEO WSC.

“WSC has exceeded our expectations in both finish and performance,” said Orozco. “The whole team are a delight to work with. They are such a professional team with each manager an expert in their field. There is a need for more vessels and there is no question that WSC will be building them. Previously all our boats were built in the USA”.

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