North Star’s new UK built hybrid powered daughter craft, the first of its type 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 honour 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 travelling 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. A RNLI museum to mark her life was established in Bamburgh, Northumberland, in 1938.

The event was attended by a number of the UK’s leading offshore wind developers, after 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 programme on the daughter craft, as well as crew familiarisation.

Grace Darling is the first of four hybrid craft being built by Alicat Workboats for the leading 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 to reflect the firm’s first offshore wind projects being supported out of the region, as well as its ongoing commitment to hiring locally and investing in the area’s supply chain companies.

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.

The new hybrid propulsion daughter craft deploys research and development conducted as part of the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator programme with the aim of reducing carbon emissions and improving performance.

The vessel has been extensively tank tested for enhanced sea state operability and safe transfer, providing improved comfort and operational safety for technicians.

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