Before the The Lifeboat Project

Imagine a modern spacious floating house without the need for fossil fuels for propulsion or electricity generation. No smelly exhaust, loud engines, messy oil changes, vibrations from pistons, fuel spills, CO2 emissions, transmissions, concern for explosive fuels, or the need to carry a large inventory of spare parts and a qualified mechanic to service and repair everything. These reoccurring thoughts stayed in my mind as we cruised around the Philippines on the 114′ King of Sports III trimaran.

Each time we filled up the 12,000 liter diesel fuel tanks of this one of a kind vessel it cost over $11,000 and required a special transport arrangements. Just finding and arranging delivery of quality diesel fuel in remote areas was a huge challenge and prefilter the fuel first to remove dirt and other other heavy solids was a necessity before putting it in the tanks. Once in the tank this 12 tons of fuel was susceptible to biological contaminants requiring us to annually crawl into the fuel tanks and scrub out the muck by hand.

The boat had already begun its transformation with solar panels, solar hot water heater and energy efficient LED lighting and appliances but we wanted a complete transformation. A boat that could run at slow speeds and power house loads from solar and wind. In the following

From the debris of the King of Sports III, and dreams of its owner, comes the King of Sports IV solar catamaran (KOSIV20). The Coral Triangle Conservancy (CTC) worked in collaboration with Sunpower (USA) , SMA (Germany), and CeNeg solar systems (Philippines) to develop a first of type, renewable energy power catamaran to support coral reef building activities. The vessel has been designed from the keel up using primarily recycled materials to perform six key roles; Live-aboard Dive Support, Geophysical 3D underwater Survey, Cargo Transport, Online data and Communication hub, and a renewable energy power source for Biorock coral reefs and coral transplanting activities.

With such a varied array of operational roles, unique solutions were required not only in the allocation of spaces, but also with the specification of a flexible, high-efficient propulsion system. Design-wise, the KOSIV20 is a modern-looking, streamlined vessel with a wedge roof design that makes her look like a truly modern motoryacht. The interior design is light and minimalist with modular furniture on the main deck and a spacious flybridge allowing many configurations. The very slender hulls have ample storage while minimizing displacement. Large deck acrylic windows will let in plenty of natural light, perfectly to the modern design, and have dual purpose as back lit projection screens.



The result is an advanced propulsion and powering package that will integrate a pair of Thoosa 9000 brushless DC electric drives. She ia fitted with peak solar power capacity of 9Kw from 30 Sunpower 305 monocrystalline panels, a 8kw silent 230VAC generator for back up , and an integrated system of SMA inverters and power management systems for both propulsion and house loads. This advanced power management system automatically prioritizes use of renewable energy stored in the 2000ah 48v battery bank before genset power is required. The battery bank will store enough power to cruise for periods of up to 10 hours at 6knts without an external power source or directly only from solar power when condition are favourable. For periods up to two hour the vessel should have a top speed of 9.5 knots when wind and sea conditions require more thrust.

The innovative system lends itself to the shallow draft dive operations the vessel will specialize in for coral reef rehabilitation and surveillance activity. Further positioning capability is provided by an acoustic positioning system, which allows the vessel to maintain stationary relative to undersea reference points. In addition, the vessel will be fitted with a four-point mooring system featuring four deck winches and diagonally-oriented fairleads to rotate the vessel as the sun tracks across the sky.

Unlike any other vessel of its size and type, this vessel will have compressed air tethered dive equipment for up to 6 divers at a time in water depths up to 20m. Two dedicated digital video editing workstations will be positioned mid-ship directly connected to shallow water ROVs capable of transmitting HD video data 24/7. A launch and recovery systems for trays of coral fragments is likely to be fitted to stern, whilst the sides of the main deck are equipped with draw bridge extension that will expand the working area of the maindeck to 11m.

The aft main deck’s 40m2 in total of cargo space is supplemented by a multitude of purpose-fitted deck equipment, including launch and recovery systems, tow pins, stern roller, waterwall video display screen, A-Frame and equipment securing lugs.

Accommodation cabins for a complement of 4-6 guest and 1 captain 1 crew are situated in the hull and the forward on the main deck. The hull also houses storage for 2500L of fresh water and 600L of reserve fuel for the generators and 6m Boston Whaler tender. The mid-deck features an aft-facing survey room, which is linked to the wheelhouse by wireways, allowing operational flexibility.

The flybridge steering console features complete all-round visibility, including aft-facing DP control stations. The main deck of the vessel will house service spaces including an ROV and double kayak storage; as well as crew spaces adjacent to dry and cold food storage spaces.

Inshore vessels such as the KOSIV20 Solar Catamaran Biorock Support Vessel are fine examples of the CTC’s ability to evolve new renewable energy technologies in its coral reef conservation mission.