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Laurent Giles unveils universal expedition boat

British studio Laurent Giles has unveiled a new 51-metre (167-foot) explorer concept, Challenger 55, which can serve as both a commercial vessel and a research charter yacht thanks to advanced technical capabilities and on-board amenities.

Developed in collaboration with Dr Ian Hudson and Captain Craig Murray, the 55 will be powered by a diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system, allowing her to achieve a range of up to 6,000 nautical miles at the economic speed of 10 knots. As such she can cruise for up to 25 days without refuelling or shore support, allowing her to reach some of the world’s most remote cruising destinations where her electrical power systems ensure the smallest environmental footprint possible.

Zero-speed stabilisers ensure a smooth ride, and smart dynamic positioning permits access to eco-sensitive areas without needing to drop the anchor and disturb the seabed. 

As an explorer vessel her notable features include an aft-deck helipad, A-frames for launching and recovering submarines and a large tender-storage garage. 

According to Laurent Giles, the Challenger was informed by Dr Hudson and Captain Murray’s experience working on expeditions for the likes of the BBC, and is easily adaptable for use as a commercial oil and gas-survey vessel, science and research charter vessel, or a media-production platform. She also has the ability to collect plastic from the world’s oceans.

Her interiors total 1,300GT, accommodating 12 guests and 16 crew in maximum comfort, including guides and security staff. Cabin configuration includes a full-beam owner’s suite on the upper deck with its own private deck, and five en-suite double cabins on the main deck. The lower deck is then split between crew quarters, workshops, technical spaces and an on-board laboratory.

For more information, visit Laurent Giles.

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