Carbon Fibre Brings Competitive Edge to Passenger Ferry

22 September 2003

Brødrene Aa, based in Hyen, in western Norway has made a brave breakthrough in the use of carbon fibre fabrics in commercial passenger ferries for use in the Norwegian fjords.

The company has a great deal of experience in the construction of high speed boats manufactured using composites such as the Moonraker (115’), the world’s fastest luxury yacht with a top speed of 67.6 knots. In recent months the company has turned its attention to the producing a cost effective carbon composite vessel.

Using multiaxial fabrics produced by Devold AMT AS, Langevåg, Norway, over a core material Brødrene Aa have produced the ‘Rygerkatt’. This boat is designed as a harbour passenger ferry, which will make an average of 200 stops a day carrying up to 62 passengers. Industrial design company Hareide Designmill has given the boat its distinctive look and combines form and function. Carbon fibre is used to lower the mass of the boat and to help save fuel and the environment. The design has achieved cost efficiency through use of materials; previously the exclusive territory of luxury yachts, racing boats and military ships. In sum a breakthrough in passenger ferries.

At 18.5 meters (60 feet) length, 7.5 meters (24ft 6 inches) width and weighing just 27 metric tons, the use of carbon fibre materials has resulted in a structural weight reduction of 40% over traditional composite materials that would have been employed in the boat’s construction. With the increased strength and reduced weight achieved by using these fabrics the boat has a top speed of 29 knots and an operational speed of 24.9 knots. At normal operating speeds the ferry requires 5.90 litres of fuel per nautical mile.

The Rygerkatt is number two in a commercial series that was launched with the ‘Ryger Doktoren’ a hig performance ambulance boat with a top speed of 44 knots. The design criteria behind this model were the same as for the Rygerkatt, but the weight savings were used to achieve higher speed.

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