First commercial boats incorporating Nauti-Craft Tech underway

Wallaby boats in Germany, who are Nauti-Craft’s launching customer in the windfarm supply vessel space, have made an important step in getting the first commercial boat incorporating our technology built.

Deutschland baut Hightech-Crew-Tender
Katamaran von Wallaby Boats und Hitzler Werft mit Federbeinen soll 2022 auf der Workboat gezeigt werden.

Medium-sized companies join forces in innovative shipbuilding

World first made in Schleswig-Holstein

The world’s first commercial ship with boating suspension is currently being built in northern Germany. 

Wallaby Boats GmbH from Kappeln has chosen a production partner for the construction of its WB-18 prototype: a Schleswig-Holstein partnership.

The principle of the Wallaby Boats is as simple as it is amazingly effective: the hulls of the catamaran are separated from the bridge deck, the so-called chassis, and connected to it via four spring strut constructions. 

The model for the design was off-road vehicles from the automotive industry. 

Thanks to this technology (sic) created by Nauti-Craft, it is possible to reduce the influence of the swell on the people on board by at least 40 percent, which on the one hand significantly reduces the risk of seasickness and on the other hand it is much safer for technicians to climb on offshore wind turbines or for pilots on freighters power. 

A welcome side effect is the significant reduction in the resources required for the construction and operation of the relatively small vehicles, which paves the way for the desired climate-neutral “net zero ship”.z

The cooperation agreement was signed yesterday by the managing directors Eike Kristian Höper, Wallaby Boats GmbH, as well as Marek and Kai Klimenko for the Hitzler shipyard on the shipyard site in Lauenburg under the eyes of Schleswig-Holstein’s Minister of Economics, Dr. Bernd Buchholz. 

“The start-up Wallaby Boats shows once again how innovative and competitive our medium-sized companies in the real north are. 

As technology minister in particular, I am very pleased that we have succeeded in designing the world’s first commercial boat with a suspension system for crew transporters in the offshore wind industry and for worldwide piloting operations, ” said Minister of Economics Dr. Bernd Buchholz.

Marek Klimenko took over the Hitzler shipyard a few months ago, together with his son and business partner Kai Klimenko. The experienced engineer previously worked at Hitzler for over 30 years, most recently as technical operations manager. The new managing director, Marek Klimenko, sees the cooperation between the two Schleswig-Holstein companies as a promising step towards further strengthening innovative strength in the north: “Our goal is to continue the core business of the Hitzler shipyard and to expand it with innovative projects and alternative drives. We are pleased to have been selected by Wallaby Boats GmbH as a production partner. The project and the company’s philosophy fit very well with our company and our goals. “

Schleswig-Holstein’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Dr. Bernd Klaus Buchholz also represented representatives from WTSH, IB.SH and Förde Sparkasse. 

The cooperation agreement initially regulates the joint completion of the design and the construction of the WB-18 prototype. 

However, it also regulates the subsequent further collaboration in the targeted series production after the prototype has proven what the innovative technology can achieve.

“We are very grateful to Messrs. Klimenko for their valuable commitment and support, and we look forward to a good cooperation. 

The location in Lauenburg an der Elbe with its existing infrastructure offers us all possibilities to manufacture these innovative prototypes, but also to realize large numbers in a subsequent series production, “says Eike Kristian Höper, managing director of Wallaby Boats GmbH, looking to a future together for both of them Establishments.

The shipbuilding company Wallaby Boats GmbH was founded in early 2021 specifically for the development and construction of spring-loaded ships and emerged from OFFCON GmbH in Kappeln.

Innovation needs sponsors with a vision

“I started working on this project in 2015 when I tested the 8.5 meter demonstrator in Australia,” reports Harald Hübner, managing director and owner of OFFCON GmbH. 

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to operate the world’s first commercial boat with a suspension system. My entire team is committed to this project and we are convinced that we have found the best production partner in the Hitzler shipyard in Lauenburg. “

The road to this decisive step was rocky. OFFCON had tried to implement the project with industrial partners for a number of years. There was a lot of interest, but nobody wanted to get into the concept stage. After all, it was the WTSH (Economic Development and Technology Transfer Schleswig-Holstein) that made it possible, with their support, to turn the concept into a so-called “basic design”. 

With this progress, the project aroused interest from major industrial partners. The Carbon Trust, a foundation in which all major developers of renewable energies, such as RWE, e.ON, EnBW, Ørsted, Equinor, Vattenfall and others are organized, took notice. A series of project presentation and development rounds began in which Wallaby Boats advanced over two years to the final decision-making body of the Carbon Trust. While the Carbon Trust partners could not find an agreement on a joint commitment, EnBW decided to act. Energie Baden-Württemberg AG (EnBW) was looking for exactly such solutions for its wind farms in the Baltic and North Sea as well as for planned wind farms off Scotland, on the Dogger Bank and off the coasts of the USA. 

EnBW entered into a multi-year charter contract for the as yet non-existent prototype and was ready to provide part of the charter during the construction phase. The Schleswig-Holstein banks were also interested. However, a commitment from Förde Sparkasse or IBSH (Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein) required a private investor. Höper and Hübner found this in Achim Fölster. The project thus gained the catalyst that was still missing. 

The project was financed within a few weeks and work on the “detail design” began.

“I am pleased that I can make a contribution to implementing this innovative shipbuilding project in Schleswig-Holstein and placing it on the international market,” says Achim Fölster, who is an investor and member of Baltic Business Angels e. V. supports the project financially as well as with management experience.

The Baltic Business Angels unite private investors who have made it their business to support young, innovative companies. The association pursues the goal of promoting and developing the start-up and innovation culture in the state.

The development history of this project can serve as an example of successful, targeted funding in cooperation with public instruments and industrial partners. The state of Schleswig-Holstein has made a major contribution to the success. That is why it is particularly gratifying, according to the heads of Wallaby Boats GmbH, that a Schleswig-Holstein company has also found itself as a production partner.

The prototype is to be launched in Lauenburg at the beginning of the second quarter of 2022. Those interested in buying or chartering a wallaby boat can register for a test drive on the homepage. 

Caption: A special prototype is being built at the Hitzler shipyard in Lauenburg: Marek Klimenko (from left), Dr. Bernd Buchholz, Harald Hübner, Achim Fölster, Benjamin Schmoll, Eike Höper and Kai Klimenko demonstrate the mobility of the hulls on the model.

Dr. Bernd Buchholz, Eike Höper, Marek Klimenko, Harald Hübner, Achim Fölster and Benjamin Schmoll (from left) demonstrate the mobility of the hulls. The model of the innovative commercial ship WB-18 swims in an aquarium with a wave generator.

Click here for the full Schifffahart article in German.

Kappeln Kappeln (Wikipedia 2021),(DanishKappel) is a town in the district of Schleswig-Flensburg, in Schleswig-HolsteinGermany.

Lauenburg (Wikipedia 2021), or Lauenburg an der Elbe (Lauenburg/Elbe), is a town in the state of Schleswig-HolsteinGermany.

Contact Nauti-Craft

Location: Nauti-Craft Ltd. 9 Clark Street Dunsborough Western Australia 6281

p: +61 (0)8 9756 7275