Groundbreaking boat builder hands over another UK-first vessel to local port

Kingfisher has been officially handed over to the Port of Lowestoft at Seawork by boat builders Goodchild Marine.

One of the latest advances in the boatbuilding industry has strengthened a long-term collaboration between two East Anglian businesses.

Goodchild Marine, the Great Yarmouth-based boat builder has constructed a 12-metre (ORC 121) pilot cutter for Associated British Ports (ABP) to be based at the neighbouring town of Lowestoft.

Kingfisher is the first of its size for the UK and benefits from all the features of the company’s flagship ORC range, making the boat faster and more fuel effective than previous models.

The deal has brought with it continued industry prosperity, safeguarding existing local jobs throughout all stages of construction, maintenance and operation.

The vessel will transport pilots to and from boats in the North Sea and comes nearly 20 years after Goodchild Marine built Osprey, ABP Lowestoft’s previous pilot boat.

Designed by Pantocarene and adapted by the Great Yarmouth-based business for the UK market, the craft is lauded for its excellent sea-keeping and high transit speeds, even in demanding conditions.

Steve Pierce, General Manager for Goodchild Marine said: “We are fortunate to have forged a strong local working relationship with ABP. Our knowledge of the piloting area has helped us to create a vessel that we believe should stand the test of time.

“Our ORC range is renowned for its fuel saving capacity of up to 40pc compared to similar sizes vessels, which also means a financial benefit for our eastern economy. This vessel should achieve the highest standards of quality and strength, in turn making a serious dent in the carbon footprint, while reaching speeds of up to 26 knots.

Mike McCartain, Director – Marine & Compliance, ABP said: “We are delighted at ABP to be taking this vessel today from Goodchild Marine, it is really important for us as a prominent employer and part of East Anglia, to be able to work with Norfolk boat builder Goodchild Marine.  This is a fantastic opportunity for us to take what is a really innovative boat, with modern design and are looking forward to the future.  Given where we are with concerns about fuel consumption and the environment, we want to be at the leading edge of technology and this boat and this company is exactly where it should be at the leading edge”.

Alan Goodchild, Managing Director, Goodchild Marine, commented, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to build a second pilot boat for the Port of Lowestoft, the first was put in service 24 years ago.  The ORC design delivers amazing fuel efficiencies to the port operators as well as a safe passage, which is very important. A prominent operator like ABP adopting this ORC design is fantastic for the yard.”

In picture from left to right: Mike McCartain, Director – Marine & Compliance, ABP; Capt Gary Horton, Harbour Master / Pilot Lowestoft; Alan Goodchild, Managing Director, Goodchild Marine; Capt Richard Musgrove, Project Manager, ABP East Anglia; Steve Pierce, Manager, Goodchild Marine.

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