Safehaven Marine is known for creating high performance boats that go where few other vessels can. I profiled the company's 59 foot slender hull high-speed patrol boat Thunder Child, and before that I did a profile on Thunder Child's little cousin, the stealthy Barracuda. Barracuda is progressing through testing and has recently undergone dynamic boarding trials that pushed the multi-purpose vessel to perform under potentially real world operational scenarios—namely zooming up alongside a much larger vessel and staying there long enough to deploy a boarding team of commandos.
The black go fast used an Irish naval vessel as a target platform for the tests and Safehaven's crew steadily pushed the speed of the trials up to 20 knots, which is quite fast considering such a maneuver would likely be performed against lumbering cargo ships or rickets dhows.
Part of these type of tests are also aimed at seeing how the craft's hullform interacts with the wake of a much larger ship as well as how well the boat will stand up to the beating it gets from smashing against the target vessel's hull. When two vessels are close to one-another while underway, a suction effect can cause them to collide violently. As you can see in the video it is a dynamic affair to say the least.
We reached out to Safehaven Marine about the tests and here's what they said:
"These were trials undertaken in collaboration with the Irish Naval service to determine Barracudas ability to undertake high speed boardings of large ships underway traveling at speeds of over 20kts. The scenario envisaged was an anti-terrorism exercise such as inserting a special forces team aboard a hijacked ship. The trials demonstrated Barracudas ability to offer a stable and secure platform to undertake boardings, very much in the manner a pilot boat transfers pilots to ships, and be able to do so offshore safely in potentially much rougher sea conditions than would be possible with the typical RIB used by special forces in this scenario. The trials were very successful and clearly demonstrate Barracudas abilities in this respect."
Safehaven Marine has long claimed that the Barracuda has a reduced radar cross section, so boarding operations, especially those conducted at night, would be a key feature for special operations applications, where sneaking up on a target with dramatically reduced warning would be highly beneficial.
As for the future of Barracuda and what production units will cost, Safehaven Marine told The War Zone the following:
"We have various lines of enquiry for the barracuda range not just the 11m version. Mainly military. Price is dependent on the spec required which can differ significantly."
Barracuda's big brother, Thunder Child, is also progressing through testing. Check out these videos of the vessel's crazy storm conditions testing and capsizing trials, as well as its record setting run around Ireland:
That is one vessel that doesn't like being upside down in the water!
Thunder Child is such a gorgeous vehicle, it looks like it is just begging to go fast, and the fact that it can survive some of the toughest conditions the sea can throw at it is really an accomplishment. Clearly the innovation involved with these vessels springs from the fact that Safehaven Marine's team seems to absolutely love what they do and are totally passionate about the hardcore maritime vessels they produce.
Keep an eye Barracuda and Thunder Child, I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of them in the future.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com