Thunder Child’s lightning dash around Ireland ends triumphantly in Cork

6 Jul 2017

Cork-made boat Thunder Child. Image: Safehaven Marine

Boat festooned with the cream of Irish IoT technology completes journey in 34 hours, one minute and 47 seconds.

Cork speedboat Thunder Child, which circumnavigated Ireland by taking the long way round via Rockall Island, returned safely to Cobh last night (5 July) after establishing a world record for the feat.

The boat succeeded in travelling 2,069km in 34 hours, one minute and 47 seconds.

Future Human

The entire journey was tracked using an array of internet of things technologies and software based on 8 West Consulting’s SafeTrx Open Architecture, including Irish companies VT Networks and HidnSeek.

Built by Safehaven Marine in Cork, Thunder Child is a 17-metre, high-speed, wave-piercing, low-radar cross-section interceptor. It is designed for naval, law enforcement and offshore patrol applications, and is also capable of high-speed, search-and-rescue (SAR) operations; being self-righting; and offering fast, emergency-response times.

The exact route, taking in Rockall, which lies 500km north-west of Ireland, was never attempted before and therefore no such previous record exists. The entire venture was sanctioned by the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM).

The boat stopped twice for fuelling at Portrush in Northern Ireland and at Broadhaven in northwest Mayo.

The boat travelled at an average speed of 32 knots and achieved a top speed of 52 knots while making the journey.

It was crewed by Safehaven’s managing director Frank Kowalski, Ciaran Monks, Ian Brownlee, Mary Power and Carl Randalls.

An exemplar for Irish internet of things start-ups

Festooned with all kinds of technology, Thunder Child was an exemplar for the best of Irish technology

For example, it used the SafeTrx Open Architecture created by 8 West Consulting, an Irish company that was part of an Irish-led MBO from DeCare Systems last year. This included the use of a new SafeTrx-compatible, wearable distress device that is similar to a dive watch. It is fully integrated with SafeTrx technology to transmit emergency alerts should the user experience distress at sea.

8 West has also integrated a man overboard (MOB) Bluetooth LE wearable with Dutch partner PanPan.

It featured Sigfox connectivity to the VT Networks all-Ireland network, using signals from HidnSeek trackers created by former Intel Leixlip engineer Xavier Torres-Tuset.

The SafeTrx technology also integrated with autonomous drone dispatch with SafeTrx through Donegal-based partner DroneSAR to accelerate the SAR process. The system is also integrated with Dublin company D4H’s live emergency operations platform.

Other technology partners in the project are Thuraya TelecomCapturs and YB Tracking.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years