A rare sight on the Thames, DAMEN’s new 70-metre GAME CHANGER (227 ft) has spent three days in London to promote the Yacht Support range of vessels. Visitors enjoyed a full array of tenders, toys and a submersible, but GAME CHANGER also prompted many serious discussions about safe helicopter operations.
“GAME CHANGER made a big impression on the owners, captains, brokers and designers who joined us on board, particularly with its helicopter capability and all-weather protected hangar,” comments AMELS Commercial Director Rose Damen, who is also responsible for DAMEN’s yachting portfolio. “When it comes to superyacht helipad design and operation, many in the industry are re-examining accepted practice and rethinking the level of risk that we are asking owners to accept for their family and friends. GAME CHANGER really offers the ultimate yachting solution for professional helicopter operations.”
GAME CHANGER features a fully certified LY3 helideck suitable for charter/commercial use and based on DAMEN’s long experience building to stringent offshore regulations. GAME CHANGER’s owner can operate larger helicopters with 5-tonne maximum take-off weight and D14 rotor diameter. These long-range aircraft can land safely night and day in a wider weather window. Lowering the helicopter into the hangar protects it from the elements so it can be refuelled and made available for take-off without causing hassle, disruption and noise on the mother yacht. The hangar and refuelling systems – including Jet A-1 fuel tanks holding 10,000 litres – are built to high safety and fire-fighting standards.
In addition to the helicopter capability, visitors on board also appreciated GAME CHANGER’s purpose-built yachting features and quality finish, explains DAMEN Product Director Mark Vermeulen.
“This was a great opportunity to offer a closer look at the Yacht Support concept – which is still a relatively new phenomenon in the industry,” he notes. “A Yacht Support vessel is a massive leap forward in capability for the growing number of owners who want to do more with more equipment, more toys and more staff. Our vessels are perfectly equipped to support wide-ranging superyacht operations, but with a significantly lower Total Cost of Ownership than acquiring a larger yacht. Plus, owners get all the benefits of flexible operations and privacy. That’s why we call it the Smart Stretch.”
GAME CHANGER is the fourth Yacht Support vessel in the 70-metre segment following the delivery of INTREPID, ‘6711’ and GARÇON. With its Yacht Support range, DAMEN is now the established leader in this rapidly developing niche. In total 11 DAMEN Yacht Support vessels have been delivered or are in build (see our Fleet). The Yacht Support range is based on DAMEN’s patented and proven SEA AXE range of offshore vessels – DAMEN has sold more than 200 of these vessels. GAME CHANGER is now returning to the AMELS yard in Vlissingen the Netherlands where it is available for immediate delivery.
“Being so close to London – Tower Bridge is just 150 miles from AMELS – makes visiting the city very easy,” Rose continues. “London is an important superyacht centre in its own right with a large number of clients as well as the brokerage community. We really noticed that when visitors came on board to judge the solution for themselves, they left very enthusiastic about all the possibilities that a Yacht Support vessel opens up. Last year we successfully exhibited a Yacht Support vessel in Fort Lauderdale and we hope to bring another vessel to Monaco later this year.”
Captain and Yacht Manager’s Checklist – what will you take with you?
- Certified helideck for night and day long range transfers
- Hangar to protect aircraft from the elements
- Big limo tender for shore trips
- Large open top tender / chase boat
- Dive support tender with enclosed cabin
- Dive centre and decompression chamber
- Sport fishing boat
- Jet skis, zodiacs, motorcycles, vehicles, sport sailing, windsurfing
- Ultra-fast security RHIB
- Accommodation for helicopter pilots, submersible pilots, dive guide and security officers
- Cabins for owner staff and a fully equipped staff office
- Extra provisions and stores
- Heli fuel, tender fuel and diesel
- A hospital set up