Project name: Super Yacht Sea Anchor with Integrated Rescue System
Fabric Supplied by: W . Wiggins Ltd
Components supplied by: QCD, Webbings & Tape, Gale Pacific, Hampijdan NZ Ltd
What did the client request?
The client requested product designed to withstand storm conditions, but with an easy-to-deploy rescue system, for sale to owners of ocean-going vessels. It also needed to be light and compact. An effective system should prevent loss of lives and damage to yachts in these areas. It should avoid pollution and damage to other property in the event of a gear failure, extreme weather incident or other mishap too. It should provide for easy rescue, by coast guard or tug, and meet a requirement under an international convention for large ocean-going yachts used commercially to have effective, well-documented safety and emergency procedures. A quicker, safer rescue system would also reduce or avoid repair and salvage costs, and insurance company claims. Our proposal was seen as a way of meeting and going beyond such requirements.
What is unique or complex about the project?
We wanted to design and incorporate several new features to achieve the client’s objective and our own goals. The key was an integrated pickup towline, 250m in total length, with the specially-strengthened sea anchor itself forming part of the towline. This means that a rescue vessel needs only to get within about 200m of the stricken vessel, rather than within about 40m with existing rescue methods. The outcome would be to speed up the rescue time, to ensure success on the first rescue attempt, and to avoid damage, injury or death. The recovery line had to be kept easily visible and in a straight line, floating on the surface, for easy pickup with a grappling hook from the rescue vessel.
Also a sure-fire deployment system was needed: the product had to be ready to launch straight into the sea, with deployment able to be triggered as soon as the unit is completely clear of the stricken vessel. This trigger comprises a release cord running through the core of a web attached to a deployment bag; the cord is pulled to open specially-designed snap shackles to release the sea anchor. None of these features had been incorporated in any super-yacht PSA previously manufactured. Finally, lighter and stronger materials were used to achieve weight-reduction targets.
What were the results of the project?
The major benefits are firstly, quick and fail-safe deployment, rapidly stabilising a disabled yacht, turning its bow into the weather, slowing drift and preventing a collision with rocks or other vessels, results one would expect from an effective PSA.
The second major advantage is the speed, safety and avoidance of loss available with a rescue system that can be used at some distance from the stricken yacht, allowing it to be towed to calmer waters or safe harbour. Hitherto the common method of securing a disabled vessel involved shooting ropes at close range from a gun on the rescue vessel or getting close enough to throw them, and hoping these could be attached to a suitable point on the yacht and to the rescuer’s towing system. There is a significant risk of failure with this, and of damage to the yacht by the steel cables commonly used by rescue vessels. The new product allows the complete system to be set up in advance for a quicker, safer rescue.
As well as protection from disaster, the client promotes our product as the perfect defense against environmental law suites and clean-up liabilities following an incident at sea.
The client has expressed strong satisfaction with this product and its fully-integrated emergency towline, and has signed a distribution agreement and appointed a marketing contractor for this product. The client has budgeted €100,000 for its promotion in the super-yacht world, with the model supplied being used as its flagship product. Ongoing sales are assured.
Is there any other relevant information?
Further to the above, the product includes a new and unique system for packing and compressing the PSA, either before sailing or after deployment and recovery, which can be operated by one person alone with no extra equipment. This means that the product requires less space and can be easily stowed, so is more likely to be carried on a super-yacht with limited space. The system involves packing the anchor loosely into the deployment bag, with the half-inflated buoy strapped into the top of the bag. The buoy is then inflated, achieving a degree and evenness of compression that would not be possible even with hydraulic press (it would be impractical anyway to carry the bulky framework needed for such a press on a yacht). Straps on the unit are then tightened and the buoy deflated. This new development will certainly have further applications in other products, for compressing fabrics or other materials.