North Star’s new UK-built hybrid-powered daughter craft, specifically designed for the offshore wind market, has been launched at a naming ceremony held at the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht club in Lowestoft, adjacent to the firm’s regional operations hub.
The vessel was christened ‘Grace Darling’ in honor of a famous lighthouse keeper’s daughter from the North East of England who risked her life in 1838 to save the stranded survivors of a wrecked merchant ship traveling from Hull to Dundee.
Her life changed dramatically after her feat of bravery made the front pages of the national press and was reportedly read by Queen Victoria, North Star said. A RNLI museum to mark her life was established in Bamburgh, Northumberland, in 1938.
According to North Star, the daughter craft was delivered ahead of schedule to further performance and field operations readiness, prior to the firm receiving the planned early delivery of its service operations vessel (SOV) mothership to the Port of Tyneearly next year. This will include a performance analysis and enhancements program on the daughter craft, as well as crew familiarisation.
The Grace Darling is the first of four hybrid craft being built by Alicat Workboats for the offshore infrastructure support vessel operator.
The full fleet, developed by sustainable naval architect specialist Chartwell Marine, will all carry the names of iconic women from The North East of England’s past.
Daughter craft support the safe transfer of in-field wind farm technicians between the SOV, where they live while working offshore, to the wind turbines to undertake routine or remedial maintenance. They are also used for trips to and from shore with deliveries.
Matthew Gordon, North Star CEO said: “We are very pleased to have officially launched the Grace Darling and bring the world's first offshore wind hybrid propulsion daughter craft to market. There is a long history of iconic women hailing from the region, and we wanted to enhance their legacy by naming our new green fleet in their memory as well as commemorate our local roots. "