Thunder Child

A circumnavigation of Ireland via ‘Rockall’, a desolate Islet located 500 kilometers off the coast of Ireland is an extreme route. It involves a 2,000 kilometer journey and a 1,000 kilometer open ocean crossing across the North Atlantic, one of the roughest and most notorious seas on the planet, an area where even during summer months there is likely to be an ocean swell running, and due to its high northern latitude, sea states that will prove challenging when attempting to maintain high speeds for an extended period non–stop. So, what is the record time they are going after? Well, for obvious reasons this has never being attempted before and therefore no such record exists.

The right vessel for the job

The route will effectively rule out very high speed race boats, due to the long-range fuel requirement. However any boat attempting this route will need to be capable of respectably high speeds of 50-60kts, speeds that can be utilized in the calmer sections, but also possess very high levels of sea keeping enabling it to maintain high speeds when the inevitable rough seas are encountered. Any such boat will also have to be exceptionally strongly built and mechanically engineered for total reliability, as at times the route will take the craft over 300 miles from land, at the edge of the range of most rescue services.


The Thunder Child is constructed from advanced lightweight FRP cored composites. XSV has an innovative and unique hull form that allows it to operate in two distinct modes, fully planing and wave-piercing. The hull design combines a constant dead rise deep V hull form incorporating twin chines capable of 60kts with a wave-piercing bow form. A 24 degree dead rise at the transom transitions to a wave piercing bow, with a super fine wave cutting waterline entry designed to run clear of the water at very high speeds, but which can be bought into dramatic effect with adjustable trim control to very effectively minimizes vertical accelerations at speed in waves, thereby maximizing crew endurance.

The hull provides exceptionally high levels of sea keeping abilities on all courses with its twin chine arrangements providing for high levels of both static and dynamic stability. The design is fully self-righting, capable of recovering after capsize by a large breaking sea and is survivable up to sea state 8, capable of operating effectively in up to sea state 6, and maintain operational speed in sea state 3-4. A unique feature is the bow buoyancy control fins used to increase buoyancy in following seas preventing excessive submersion, the fins are adjustable for wave height and craft speed.


Thunder Child is powered by a pair of Cat® C12.9 turbocharged, supercharged and intercooler diesel engines producing 1,000hp each. XSV17 is capable of a maximum speed of 60kts. A crew of 10 can be comfortably seated, 6 on high tech wave breaker shock mitigation seats and 4 on fixed seats in her main cabin. She also is fitted with long-range fuel tanks of 5,000+L allowing a range of over 750NM.


Thunder Child is an ‘XSV 17’ designed and built by Safehaven Marine. The design is a 17m very high speed, wave-piercing, low RCS Interceptor, designed for Naval, law enforcement and offshore patrol applications, as well as being capable of high speed S.A.R. operations offering fast emergency response times.

Safehaven Marine was established in 1998, they build high speed commercial and naval craft with a renowned global reputation for strength, engineering and their exceptional sea-keeping capabilities and strength. They have built over 120 vessels in their factory in Cork, and have supplied to over 26 countries worldwide.

Several hours of navigation will be carried out in the dark, necessitating HD radar and high spec thermal night vision cameras to mitigate the risk and allow maximum speed to be maintained.

Rough conditions will impose high levels of stress on both the vessel and especially the crew, the vessels design will have to maximize their endurance and minimize risk of injury.

The trip will include an open ocean crossing across the North Atlantic.

The crew will have to be experienced in nighttime transits at speed.

Range will have to be over 1100 km allowing for only two fuel stops.

Mitigation against catastrophe arising from impacting debris, the vessel will need to incorporate a high degree of survivability for crew safety.

Strong as a bolt
Here's a video of 'Thunder Child' undergoing rough weather trials in the recent storms. We managed to get some really great footage of her in 50kt winds and 6m waves, during which she handled fabulously. Happy to say her Caterpillar engines have run faultlessly since launch, essential in these extreme conditions.

Thunder Child's' sea trials in storm force conditions.

Cat C12.9 Engines

The electronically-controlled C12.9 is offered in two power ratings: 850 mhp at 2300 rpm and 1000 mhp at 2300 rpm


Pleasure Craft Marine Engines

Cat® marine engines set the standard for quality, performance and reliability. An extensive power range and decades of experience result in a single source for total power solutions on board, providing electronic marine engines, generator sets, motors and vessel controls.



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