New Concept of Ocean-Going Catamaran Is Being Tested

Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat

The story so far has an element of mystery:

The weird boat was first sighted coming out of the fog and docking at the Port of Ilwaco on the Washington State coast. Soon the first pictures began to circulate on the internet (mostly by email) with the following text:

"An entirely unheard-of, twin-hulled watercraft with no markings is photographed by a bystander in the Port of Ilwaco on the Washington State coast. Those guarding it refuse to answer questions about what it is, or where it came from."

It was suggested it may be something Boeing is working on. The pontoons appear to be made of very thick rubber and may be fuel cells. Note that each of the steel spider-like legs are jointed in three places. Perhaps the boat can be lowered in calm seas and raised when it is rough.

The boat had no name or number..."
(Source and more pics here)

Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat

Then Urban Legends site picked up the story investigating if it's a myth or not. More sightings were made of the boat (in San Francisco Bay and around Anacortes), and their conclusion was:

"The pictures are authentic and reveal the prototype of an inflatable power catamaran designed by Antrim Associates based on a concept by oceanographer Ugo Conti.

According to Yachting Monthly, the experimental vessel is 100 feet long and 50 feet wide and powered by twin diesel engines mounted to the rear of the inflatable pontoon hulls. The cabin is suspended on flexible legs about 15 feet above and between the hulls, allowing them to glide independently over the service of the water. It is capable of crossing oceans with as much, if not more, stability than a normal catamaran."

Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat

If this concept proves worthy, then we may witness the evolution of conventional boat shape into something entirely different (think along the "War of the Worlds" spidery lines). US Navy has explored catamaran shape before. Below are the pictures of a huge ship, "HSV 2 Swift", a high-speed catamaran used today for mine countermeasures and as a sea-based test platform. It proved to be really fast and reliable vessel.

Ocean Boat
Ocean Boat

Also check out the previous creation from the company which built this "spider boat"
- "Tahiti Cat"
Ocean Boat

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weird. At first sight it seems like an over-sized catamaran. But it also looks military in nature, so I don't understand why they'd need to make it so wide and tall. The cabin, where the pilot sits, is actually pretty small, so the payload of this ship couldn't be too big. I wonder what the heck it's used for.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This thing either looks seriously awesome, or like a joke.

I'm torn, but it IS interesting.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The payload box is about the right size for the SEALs small submarine. The height of the catamaran is enough to cruise over a nuclear powered submarine then lower the payload down onto the deck.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting, Mr. Bond.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

an extra pair of legs, airfoil in shape, and the dang thing could fly as well

Anonymous Anonymous said...

NEAT!! I want one!

Blogger Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

Perhaps it's really an arthropod parasite of the Krupps giant earth-moving machine.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I was out boating and that thing came out of the fog i would think we had been invaded by aliens. That has to be the wildest thing I have ever seen. What a lucky catch. Would love to learn more about the craft.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems to me such a design would be used as small-high-density goods transport for the military. Such a design would allow easy attachment to submarines aand small ships, and, given that this is a prototype, a larger version would have the room to load even larger goods on even larger vessels.

Perhaps it is a sea-crane? Such an idea might be useful, for submarines can only easily reload their larger missiles at ports. Having the ability to do this out of sight of any ground-based surviellance would certainly be handy.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at this cool trimaran, operating as car/passenger ferry between the canary islands. Build in aluminum and specially coated, rather fast and efficient. see http://www.austal.com/go/news-and-images/photo-galleries?DELID=6955E09C%2DA0CC%2D3C8C%2DD9FD2E4C71CE8F0E

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's key is the flexible legs that react to waves so the craft can simply glide on top of the water rather than pushing its way through. No other crafts have that ability to adapt and so must move through and sometimes against the waves. In other words, this innovation can probably allow for added speed (due to reduce friction) and more mileage on a single tank of gas.

Anonymous phlux said...

there is no way the "spider cat"could survive heavy seas. period. the ocean would devour this spindly craft.it could only be used in intercoastal waters ate best.
if the pilot house could submerge and have only the pontoons afloat might be stealthy enough for insertions.
otherwise cute, intersting, nice to have one, but ultimately fail.

Anonymous phlux said...

20 feet over the water is nowhere near the clearance required to stradle a submarine. and the pontoon seperation needs to be at least doubled but more likely tripled. again this is a test vehicle but if submarine tendering was the vessiles mission it would fail worse at the required dimensions due to extreme frailty at sea.
would i love to have this vessel ?..oh yeah baby..but again this craft is too vulnerable to be of any advantage.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I first seen this awesome catamaran
back in Italy it was a great sight to see.

Blogger gerard frederick said...

Way back, probably 35 years ago, I saw a craft very similar to this one at the boat show in Long Beach Ca. It was a privately built sail powered cat using fiberglass. The workship was appallingly rough and amateurish, even though I found the idea great.


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