“Spirit of the Wild” is the name given to hull number RDM072, the latest vessel launched by Richardson Devine Marine Constructions in Hobart, Tasmania and operated by Gordon River Cruises on Tasmania’s west coast.
This distinctive vessel is the culmination of years of planning, discussion and thoughtful collaboration between the client, consultants and designers. RDM were chosen to build the vessel based on their 30 years of experience and excellent craftsmanship in the construction, engineering, fitout and finish of aluminium, light weight, commercial vessels. Having built all of the commercial ferries offering cruises on the Gordon River for the past twenty years, RDM have a sound understanding of what is expected by operators in this environmentally sensitive area and worked closely with the designers, propulsion engineers and suppliers to ensure complete client satisfaction.
Spirit of the Wild has been designed with purposeful intent, specifically to provide an ‘experience’ that her passengers will appreciate and remember. Gordon River Cruises offer an awe inspiring day tour that blends spectacular scenery in one of the world’s most pristine Wilderness World Heritage areas with an interactive reminder of the hardships endured by early convicts and settlers that ventured to this remote land.
Apart from the striking angular appearance, this vessel is markedly different from any other commercial day cruise vessel. She is fitted with a hybrid propulsion system. This system encompasses MTU diesel propulsion engines, hybrid (dual input) ZF gearboxes, ABB electric motors and Kohler generators encapsulated in sound shields. Offering versatility and redundancy, the vessel can be powered by conventional diesel mode, electric propulsion mode, offering ‘quiet cruising’ or ‘boost mode’. In this mode the MTU Callosum automation system synchronises the diesel engines and electric motors into the hybrid ZF gearbox, providing maximum power to the propeller shafts.
The primary reason for this concept though, is to provide a quiet cruising experience on the Gordon River. The electric motors propelling the vessel, powered by hushed generators, provide a quiet ambience to help passengers fully appreciate the beauty, splendour and peace that prevails in this Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Departing from the Tasmanian, west coast, historic town of Strahan, the vessel crosses Macquarie Harbour in boost mode. At lower speeds, in diesel mode, she will pass through the notorious Hell’s Gates, offering a glimpse of the Southern Ocean to those on board. Turning back into the harbour, at the nearby Sarah Island, guests disembark and tour the ruins of a convict shipbuilding settlement, before heading for the tranquil waters of the Gordon River.
Upon arrival at the mouth of the river, the diesel propulsion engines are shut down and electric mode is engaged. Clad in toughened, tinted glass, offering passengers an all encompassing vista, Spirit of the Wild quietly glides through the reflective, tannin stained waters, blending to the surrounds in her dark anthracite grey hue.
With a focus on fresh, local, quality food and wines, lunch will be delivered from the chef designed galley and served from buffet units on the main deck. First class passengers’ meals are delivered to the upper deck via dumbwaiter. Played through a superb Bose sound system and a network of televisions, a geographically specific, multi-lingual commentary and video will be presented to help passengers gain an understanding and appreciation of their surroundings.
With luncheon and the river cruise complete, the diesel propulsion engines will be fired up, boost mode engaged and Spirit of the Wild will return her satiated passengers to Strahan.
RDM Have a sound reputation for building quality vessels and are proud and excited to present this outstanding example of engineering, design and quality craftsmanship.