Project Pecan: A tough nut to top

Friday, September 24, 1999
An innovative high speed car and passenger ferry is currently under development by Nigel Gee & Associates and is sponsored by Norasia Services. The project, dubbed Project Pecan, is based on the patented Pentamaran hull form (Int. Pat App PCT/GB96/02313). The vessel design, like others in the same classification, is designed for the best possible combination of low resistance and good seakeeping capabilities. Project Pecan deviates from traditional designs through the use of two pairs of slender sponsons, which are designed to provide the vessel required stability with little effect on resistance and powering. The result, according to the designer is a vessel able to be propelled at high speed using significantly less power than other vessel forms. In fact, the power and resultant fuel savings - which is a major initial and life-cycle cost of the vessel - are quite staggering, based on the designer's calculations. The designers say a Pecan vessel would require only 75 percent of the installed power (using aluminum construction and high speed diesels) of an equivalent new generation fast monohull and catamaran car ferry. Alternatively, if built in steel and using medium speed diesel engines, vessel powering is roughly equal to the current generation of monohull and catamaran vessels. Considering owners hesitations regarding the use of lightweight materials and high power-to-weight prime movers, the Pecan concept uses steel construction thoughout the hulls and car decks, with only a limited amount of aluminum in the passenger and control spaces, powered by a pair of Wärtsilä 20V380 medium speed diesel engines. The designer says this combination provides a potential new customer with the benefits of a high-speed vessel combined with a similar maintenance approach to existing fleets. The first Pecan ferry designed measures 436 x 92 ft., and is designed to carry 1,000 passengers and 200 cars at 40 knots utilizing Kamewa steerable waterjets.

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