Published on August 22, 2016
French-based yacht designer, Platypus Craft, has just released renders of its new improved submarine dive craft aptly named the ‘Platypus’
The Duck Billed Platypus is a bizarre mish-mash of a creature that is perfectly at home above and below the water. When French entrepreneur François-Alexandre Bertrand spotted one while he was holidaying in Australia he knew immediately that he’d hit upon the perfect name for his mish-mash of a boat – and the Platypus Craft was born.
But what a long and difficult birth it’s been, and the Platypus still hasn’t quite arrived after its five-year gestation. The first renders were produced in 2011, the prototype launched in 2013 and this summer the renders of the new improved Platypus have just been released.
Although the core of the idea remains the same, there have been some quite significant changes in the design over the last five years.
The original prototype, let’s call it Platypus V1, is a two-man electric catamaran powered by two Torqeedo electric motors. Positioned between the catamaran’s two hulls is a small pod suspended above the water with two seats – the skipper drives from the front and the passenger rides pillion at the back. The pod can be lowered below the water using hydraulic arms. The idea is that a couple of divers can navigate to a dive site, using the Platypus as a normal electric boat, then once they have reached their destination they can lower themselves under the water. No scuba tanks are necessary as full-face masks are worn which are attached to hoses with air supplied by the onboard compressor.
The plan seemed fine, but once the prototype was completed there were a fair few tweaks needed. The first snag in the prototype was the lack of range of the electric motors. On calm seas and lakes they were just fantastic, but in a chop or swell the range reduced significantly which meant the vessel couldn’t stay out long enough for a decent dive excursion. This was easily fixed and Bertrand swapped out the electric motors for two 9.9hp Mercury diesels, which not only increased the range but also increased the surface mode speed to 14 knots.
After talking to potential clients Bertrand realised that the vessel needed to carry more passengers to make it financially viable and so, with the concept proven in V1, he needed to have a serious rethink about Platypus V2.
The renders for V2 have just been released and the first of the production models should be waddling off the production line at the end of the year.
The new Platypus will be a trimaran, with the central pod of the prototype lowered into the water to create a third hull thus significantly increasing stability both above and below the water.
The steering system has been redesigned and the vessel will be controlled via a handlebar and throttle system, similar to jet-skis, which will be located at the back of the vessel. This gives the added advantage of the skipper being at the back and being able to keep an eye on the passengers when they are submerged
Bertrand revealed that production in France is set to start towards the end of 2016, though exactly when is currently an unknown. ”We are going to be able to produce ten Platypus next year, and we already have seven orders,” he confirmed.
MarinaLive! looks forward to seeing the completed Platypus, it’s been a long time coming but good things come to those who wait.
Source : Marina Live