Alicat Workboats, a full service offshore wind farm workboat manufacturer and repair business, has successfully completed and launched the first of four offshore wind farm workboats for a major energy utility.

The vessel, named ‘Solway Challenger’, entered the water for the first time late last week, following a naming ceremony that took place today at the dedicated seven-acre manufacturing and full-service workboat site that has direct access to the North Sea.

The 19-metre workboat will now complete preliminary sea trials, with Alicat Workboats working closely with the energy utility throughout, before the vessel is deployed for long-term operations and maintenance work.

The bespoke aluminum hulled catamaran offers a greater loading capacity across the fore deck, a completely redesigned saloon and island wheelhouse arrangement and was envisioned by Global Marine Design. Powered by two MAN V12 engines and with jet propulsion supplied via twin Rolls Royce water jets, the vessel will be capable of 30 knots.

“As the offshore wind energy market evolves, it’s imperative that utilities, developers, operators and investors have access to the right equipment at the right time, in order to undertake scheduled operations and maintenance programmes at notoriously hard to reach sites,” said Steve Thacker, General Manager Alicat Workboats.

“For energy utilities in particular, this is Alicatespecially important, if they are to ensure the uninterrupted production, transmission and supply of electricity to the UK grid.”

“Working closely with the utility over the past six months, we’re confident that we’ve delivered a high quality product that sets the standard for future operations and activity on the site. As part of this contract, over the course of the next nine months, we’ll be manufacturing and delivering the final three workboats that together, help safeguard and protect the utilities wind energy operations in the future.”

In the first six months of 2013, Alicat Workboats has manufactured and built one class-certified vessel and a further three non class-certified vessels, for the European market at its Great Yarmouth facility.

This follows a £1.6m investment in the East coast boat yard earlier in the year that has seen the introduction of a 24-hour operational hoist designed for the fast lift out and turnaround of repairs, paint touch ups and defouling.

In 2012, Alicat Workboats acquired South Boats IOW, a class-leading workboat manufacturer, with a dedicated facility on the Isle of Wight.

Combined, the two complimentary businesses provide wind farm charter firms, developers and investors with a multi-site manufacturing, service and repair hub as well as a wide array of vessel selection and choice.

The four-workboat order underlines the long-term commitment of Alicat Workboats to the offshore wind energy market.

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