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‪Seacor Lynx

Oct 24, 2013 02:37 PM

Another big cat from Gulf Craft is on the prowl

Courtesy Seacor Marine

(page 1 of 2)

Capt. Ron Rainey has driven high-speed cats for Seacor Marine in Angola, the Congo and the Caspian Sea. But as he takes Seacor Lynx down the Houma Navigation Canal for sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico, it feels like crew boat heaven.

The 192-by-41-foot speedster is the third CrewZer class cat designed by the Australian firm Incat Crowther and built for Seacor by Gulf Craft, which has set a high standard for aluminum crew boats. It’s the first boat out of Gulf Craft’s new yard in Franklin, La.

Rainey brought out the first of the cats, Seacor Cheetah, in January 2008. After two years on the bridge in Angola and the Congo, he transferred to the second, Seacor Cougar, working out of Baku, Azerbaijan.

Brian Gauvin photo

Some of the key players in the team behind the new crew boat: from left, Kevin Tibbs, president of Gulf Craft; Joe McCall, project manager for Seacor Marine, and Gippy Lacoste, yard supervisor for Gulf Craft’s new facility in Franklin, La.

“I’ve been connected to the two boats for the past five years, and I love it,” said Rainey. “Now I’m bringing out the Lynx.” A fourth cat, Seacor Leopard, is taking shape for an early fall delivery.

Lynx can seat 150 passengers in first-class-style seats facing three 42-inch flat-screen televisions in a passenger cabin insulated against engine room noise and vibration. The aft deck has 2,810 square feet of clear cargo space with a capacity of 150 long tons rated at 615 pounds per square foot.

Seacor’s project manager is Joe McCall, who worked with his father, Norman McCall, at McCall Boat Rentals until it became part of Seacor Marine. “When we merged with Seacor in 1996 we brought 48 boats with us,” said McCall.

Brian Gauvin photo

The FFS 1200 fire monitors are mounted port and starboard just aft of the bridge.

The main impetus for the evolution of the crew boat was the development of deepwater oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, Africa and Brazil. The McCalls had pioneered a hybrid vessel that combined more passenger space with an aft-deck cargo capacity comparable with that offered by a small offshore supply vessel.

Their original boats were monohulls capable of 25 to 30 knots or faster. The CrewZer class is considerably faster; top speed is 42 knots. The passenger and cargo capacity make the high-speed cats cost-competitive with helicopter crew transport, especially overseas, where the custom is to transport crews by boat rather than chopper.

Seacor’s catamarans not only travel fast, they look fast, with a sci-fi edge.

“These new ones are basically the same as the Cheetah and Cougar but are a little bit bigger and faster,” said McCall. “We added 11 feet to the length and four feet of beam to the Lynx and Leopard. And the bigger jets and higher-horsepower MTUs make the boat faster and more efficient.”

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