Autumn 2020

A helping hand for new Windermere vessel

When Windermere Lake Cruises decided to supplement its existing fleet with a modern new vessel to help showcase the beauty of the English Lake District to visitors from all around the world, it picked James Fisher Shipping Services (JFSSas a partner to oversee the entire project. 

The JFSS team has been involved at every stage of the vessel procurement process and initially advised on commercial aspects, such as specification writingshipyard selection and contract negotiation. Windermere Lake Cruises (WLC) had hoped that the contract for the new vessel could be awarded to a UK yard but when that didn’t seem practical, JFSS’s global expertise helped to broaden the tender list and a contract was awarded to Damen ShipyardGorinchem BV in September 2018. 

Since then, JFSS has provided technical advice and assistance, which included specification review plus input intdesignengineeringand plan approval. Once the build started, JFSS acted as the owner’s representative, offering technical support and guidance, on-site supervision for the construction of the hull and machinery, overseeing other building works, organising tests and trials, and checking every detail right up to the vessel’s handover in early October 2020. 

Nigel Wilkinson, managing director of Windermere Lake Cruises says:

‘Involving JFSS from the outset was a very good decision and its support has been invaluable from projection conception to delivery.’ 

Project engineer Iain Salter says:

James Fisher has supported WLC for more than 20 years offering naval architectural services and assistance with refits to its existing fleet. However, it is more than eighty years since a large vessel was delivered onto the lake, and WLC recognised that it needed external support to supplement its own knowledge. We have considerable in-house expertise in overseeing newbuild projects, for our own vessels and for customers, so we were delighted to work on this prestigious project. This is one Cumbrian based business supporting another.  

The MV Swift, which has a passenger capacity of 300, has been designed to look like the traditional steamers which have carried passengers around Windermere since the mid-nineteenth century,’ Iain explains, ‘but she is slightly shorter in length so she can call in at some of the smaller piers and jetties on the lakeAs WLC runs services 364 days each year, Swift has been specifically designed for all year round use with an upper deck that can be operated as either an open or closed” cabin depending on the weather, to improve visitor experience. The vessel is also equipped with automatically demisted main cabin windows, as it does occasionally rain in the Lake District,’ says Iain, who lives locally. 

Swift is equipped with facilities that scrupulous visitors to the Lake District now expect as standard, together with twenty first century levels of accessibility,’ Iain adds. 

Work on the project stopped during lockdown but recommenced at the end of May 2020.

‘It has been quite a rush to meet the handover deadline,’ says Iain, ‘and timings have been complicated by much of the supply chain being outside of the UK. However, everyone has risen to that challenge and WLC has received a very high-quality vessel, finished in difficult times. 

Nigel explained:

Ware delighted with the support that we have received from JFSS during the three-year vessel procurement process. This is a major project for a business such as ours, and has had to run alongside our day-to-day operations. We have received a high-quality vessel that we are really proud of and, importantly, she was delivered within budget and will be available to improve the visitor experience from the coming autumn. 

‘Our oldest vessel, MV Tern, has been operating continuously since 1891, and we expecSwift to operate for at least as long! Having seen the quality of the finished vessel, we are very confident that she will do so, and we are grateful to JFSS for helping us to deliver this exciting project.  

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