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Finning provides propulsion solution for Thunder Child’s world record-breaking attempt

Finning has supplied two Cat® C12.9 propulsion engines to a new vessel designed and built by Safehaven Marine, which is looking to set a new world record for circumnavigating Ireland, including the islet Rockall.

Designed for naval, law enforcement and offshore patrol applications, the engines provide Thunder Child with a rating of 1,000 hp each, delivering the high speeds required to undertake the extreme 2,000 km journey around Ireland and Rockall, an islet 500 km off the Irish coast.

With Thunder Child capable of reaching a top speed of 60 knots and expecting to average at approximately 40-45 knots, the vessel’s route is through one of the world’s roughest and most unpredictable oceans. While the route’s demands rule out very lightweight race boats, the Thunder Child’s hull – combined with the high performance of the C12.9 propulsion engines – are ideally suited.

Installed by Safehaven Marine with on-site support from the local Finning team, the C12.9 engines use electronically controlled superchargers, delivering industry-leading torque and throttle response at low engine speeds, which also eliminates turbocharger lag. A twin turbocharger arrangement ensures high power density, while delivering improved fuel efficiency at high speeds.

Paul Hoban, Account Manager at Finning, explains: “We are delighted to play such a key role in this unique vessel’s build and its world record attempt. Following our successful involvement with other key projects, such as the Barracuda vessels, Safehaven Marine approached us to see if we could help with Thunder Child.

“The C12.9 engines perfectly matched Safehaven Marine’s criteria for the vessel, offering unrivalled power density and engine reliability for the challenge ahead. Given the route will take Thunder Child more than 500 km away from land at times – beyond the range of most rescue services’ capabilities – the reliability of the engines has to be assured.”

Frank Kowalski, Managing Director at Safehaven Marine, adds: “Having previously supplied Cat engines for a range of vessels we have developed over the years, we had every confidence in Finning’s ability to provide a propulsion solution tailored to this project. The C12.9 engines have already proved themselves on sea trials, achieving the desired speed of 60 knots, and we are looking forward to demonstrating Thunder Child’s capabilities during the world record attempt.”

The date for the world record attempt is weather dependent, with two days’ notice given in advance. Safehaven Marine is currently considering a date between the 18th June and 18th July.