Taking On The Challenge

Any heavy industry in today’s modern world is usually seen as dated, and “agricultural” rather than “cutting edge” or “high tech” and certainly not fast moving, this view in itself, seems to be fuelled by the constant demands through life in general, for newer, faster or just more fashionable designs, to demonstrate the advance of technology and satisfy an ever increasing consumer appetite.

Vessel design has historically been the preserve of function and practicality, because the capital cost of vessels in almost any culture of civilisation has always been high, and this remains unchanged. For smaller vessels and particularly patrol boats, the driving force has always been efficiency, meaning compact, small, and in most cases the bare minimum required to carry out the role, in the current climate this is no exception.

However, in today’s world, with increasing demands for pleasing aesthetics and the visually appealing, this soaks through into every industry and walk of life. The real challenge therefore, in today’s boat building market is not only to deliver budget conscious vessels, highly integrated to perform a multitude of tasks and roles, engineered to ever higher and exacting standards of seaworthiness, performance and efficiency, with concepts drawn and design and engineering functions delivered in record times, but now they need to look good too!

Ares Shipyard Ltd, cut their teeth, like many before them, initially working in the leisure sector. Originally making small boats for individual and private customers, working as third party contractors for hull construction only, and carrying out series production runs for more retail oriented sellers. Ares have learned their lessons well, moving on, to build their own vessels for Navies, Police and civil enforcement agencies globally, as well as building work boats for the oil & gas sector. They have built vessels from 12m in FRP, and aluminium, up to 47m in steel, ranging in type from fast patrol craft, workboats, supply vessels and even private leisure yachts.

Indeed, Ares are adept at building in steel and aluminium, though they actually specialise in the construction of vessels using advanced composite materials, they have gained experience, key personnel and a variety of highly prized partnerships and working relationships with global leaders in design and engineering, along the way.

In 2012, Ares became involved in a tender proposal to supply 10 units of 12m fast patrol boats to the Turkish Coast Guard, this was as a first tier supplier directly to Dearsan Shipyard, who were the successful bidding company in this project. The specification as published was demanding at the outset, requiring very high levels of quality, engineering, function and delivery of performance, with many details not being out of place on a large ocean going vessel, instead of a small patrol boat, including seating and facilities for a crew of up to 12 persons. The biggest surprise of the specification was the Turkish Coast Guards insistence on aluminium, instead of GRP, based on their own assertion that their existing GRP boats do not give enough availability. The most demanding requirement of all was a 240 day lead time from contract signing, to boat delivery, which included a design phase, since this was only a concept proposal at the time! However, some of the most challenging aspects to this contract with a now 13 tonne boat, were the combination of a limited 1.0m maximum draft and a minimum top speed of 35 knots with conventional fixed pitch propellers, and all of this according to classification of High Speed Craft (Naval) rules! Ares accepted the challenge, and brought not only world-class engineering to the project, but also style and design, which was much needed, because with the enormous level of specification and functionality being squeezed into this very “compact” vessel, looks had not been high on the list! In parallel with the engineering development of the vessel, the superstructure and exterior look of the boat was worked on, bringing together functionality and quite stunning, rugged good looks, in record time. Against the odds, Ares completed the demanding terms of the contract, with all the requirements for specification of components and performance both met and exceeded, save one! Unfortunately, the vessels did not fully meet the contractual speed requirements on first launch! Principally this was a cause of having such a limited (maximum) draft of 1.0m, requiring the propellers to be inserted in tunnels, and set-up into the hull form, creating more drag and magnifying hydrodynamic effects around the propellers and stern-line! This did not shake, or deter Ares however, and as a company that puts reputation above all else, they set about refining the hull form and shaft-line arrangement, honing and perfecting the hydrodynamic profile and performance of the hull below the waterline, to overcome the difficulties of such deep propeller tunnels by virtue of the 1.0m draft. With the help of premier naval architects at BMT-Nigel Gee Ltd, from the UK, Ares Shipyard have diligently sought answers and made changes to overcome the issues, determined not to leave a contract unsatisfied. This work has paid dividends, with the trial vessel now reaching a speed of 35.5 knots. The work continues regardless, in refining the performance of this vessel to ensure complete customer satisfaction, and this is now being replicated over the remaining 9 vessels before final acceptance and delivery. Ares believe in the integrity of delivering what is promised. Similarly later in 2012, Ares were approached, late in the tender process to supply vessels to the Bahrain Coast Guard. Even though they were a last minute entrant to the process, with many other competitors before them, their innovative design, bold and impressive styling won through. Ares Shipyard, have been awarded the contract to build 12 fast patrol boats from advanced composites, for the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Contractually the vessel was specified at 16m in length, but very quickly Ares realised that with the engines stated in the contract, this would not do the project justice, certainly not for comfort, practicality, function or performance!

Without impacting on the customers own cost, Ares have had the original hull form, re-designed, lengthened, made wider and changed the superstructure to make the design more user friendly, and increasing the size of accommodation inside, while still holding to the original operational requirements of the client. This constant improvement and refinement process continues, working with a resident team from the Bahrain Coast Guard for the duration of the project, Ares Shipyard are intent on delivering a boat, that every crew wants to work on.

It is always easier to give the client only what is asked for, sticking to the contract or the existing design, but this is not how Ares chose to behave. For them every client should be pleased with the vessel that is built, not just with the contract price, the delivery time or the functionality, every specification should be met, if not exceeded and most importantly each vessel that Ares produce is bespoke for the client and the operational role intended.

Ares continues to accept the challenges laid before them, whether this is a short delivery time, a demanding specification or a requirement for high performance. Ares Shipyard, have just begun a new contract to build two 30m patrol boats for the Nigerian Customs service to make 30 knots. The vessels are being built in aluminium, and to ensure the best drive system for the boat and the customer, Ares are installing Rolls Royce, Kamewa waterjets. Like most of Ares contracts, this installation is over and above the contractual requirement, but for Ares, delivering the best, is never too much!

This approach is serving Ares Shipyard well, having filled up their order books, Ares have now expanded their premises, to increase capacity and capability. This is much needed because as their reputation grows, the number of active enquiries is also increasing.

Ares Shipyard build boats that will not only meet your specifications, but they will also look, and perform to exceptional standards.

After all, every vessel built, will be seen by others and becomes an advert for the company that manufactured it!