A school project which has taken 10 years and the input of 1,000 students from Bolton School has finally taken to the water in the form of a 48ft ocean-going boat made mostly from concrete. The 20-tonne vessel named ‘Tenacity of Bolton’ has completed successful sea trials and is now being used by students for training and educational purposes. Onboard, their comfort and safety is being ensured thanks to local company Exide Technologies, which has provided the batteries for the onboard electrical systems.
The ambitious £400,000 project was the idea of former Head of Technology Mike Whitmarsh and started in 1998. The 12-berth boat is now fully registered as a commercial vessel and is moored at Glasson Dock in Lancaster. For its construction, a purpose-built construction yard and garage was erected at the school. Mike comments, “Concrete boats became popular at the turn of the last century but following the end of WWII, the popularity died out and although a number of smaller recreational boats are still made from concrete, very few ships of this size are made from concrete. The advantage of this method is that materials costs are lower than wood and steel and few specialist tools are needed.”
Although old technology is employed in its construction, it is thoroughly modern in all other respects. The batteries are the same type that would be used in fork lift trucks and electric boats/barges. They are very robust and efficient – especially when they are used in conjunction with renewable energy sources. An onboard wind generator harnesses wind power when at sea and in the dock. Although the batteries can also be hooked up to the mains when in dock, they are even recharged via an alternator from the engines.
Tenacity’s skipper Colin Wright comments, “Although the batteries are out of sight, they are certainly not out of mind; we need to rely 100% on the performance of the batteries as they power the on-board navigation equipment and if that were to fail, it would make life very ‘interesting’ for us out in the middle of the Irish Sea.”