Designed in collaboration with Bannenberg & Rowell, Incat Crowther naval architects and Triton submersibles, the new 495-gt concept draws on the catamaran hull configuration of 46m Charley, launched earlier this year as a support veesel to the 84m trimaran White Rabbit Golf in build at the shipyard in Perth, Western Australia.
Drawing on the expertise of Incat Crowther and Echo Yachts in multihull design and construction, Project Echo is conceived for offshore use in heavy seas to provide efficient fuel efficiency, superior cargo space and stability, long-range safety and redundancy for submarine launch and retrieval operations. Unlike Charley, the largest composite resin-infused vessel built to date in Australia, it would be constructed in aluminium.
"Since Echo Yachts’ successful delivery of our 46m catamaran project M/Y Charley at the beginning of 2017, we’ve received significant interest in the large living spaces, inherent stability, superior cargo carrying capacity and operational efficiency advantages of the catamaran platform, compared to the alternative monohull vessels on the market,” says Chris Blackwell, sales representative at Echo Yachts. “Many owners, captains and brokers have expressed to us a common desire to see these characteristics complemented with an upgraded yacht aesthetic, plus a comprehensive submarine and cargo handling capacity to provide a very stylish and charter-ready Adventure Yacht in it’s own right, and alternatively, as an extremely versatile Yacht Support Vessel to a larger mother ship."
With mini-sub operations in mind, the concept features a Caley A-frame submarine Launch and Recovery System (LARS). UK-based Caley Ocean Systems specialises in designing and manufacturing offshore handling systems for the energy, oceanographic, seismic and naval defence industries. The A-frame for Project Echo was developed to fold and stow flat into the cargo deck to allow helicopter landing operations, or additional cargo deck space. Back-up submarine launch and retrieval capability, along with deployment of tenders and landing craft, is provided by a 12-tonne knuckle boom crane.
Bannenberg & Rowell has created a form-follows-function exterior profile that nonetheless reflects a stylish design aesthetic more associated with superyachts than shadow vessels. The concept can be further customised to suit individual requirements in terms of technical equipment, and interior layout and design.
Meanwhile, work continues on White Rabbit Golf at Echo Yachts. When the 84m trimaran is completed in the second quarter of 2018 she will be the largest aluminium superyacht in the world and the first diesel-electric superyacht to be built in Australia.