Meet SHADOWLARK: The $10M Personal Vessel Plus Submarine Package
SHADOWCAT and Triton Submarines have collaborated to develop and introduce a new Launch and Recovery Craft (LARC) dubbed SHADOWLARK. Designed by Incat Crowther, SHADOWLARK is a package priced under $10m for delivery in less than 14 months, a package that includes a 24-m LARC designed to carry a Triton 3300/3 MKII submersible, a submersible designed to comfortably seats three people (pilot and two guests) and dive to depths as great as 1,000m (3,300 ft.) for up to 12 hours.
“The submersible market targeting yachting was essentially created by Triton. (At the outset it was) difficult to be taken seriously. People were skeptical for many years … we would go to boat shows and people would laugh,” said Patrick J. Lahey, president and co-founder of Triton Submarines. “I think it was an inspired idea; I think it was just an idea that people weren’t ready for.” According to Lahey, the narrative started to change once the early adopters started sharing their unique experience.
The aim for the new SHADOWLARK package is to broaden the audience.
“Not everyone can afford a $50m, $100m, of $500m yacht, but maybe could make a $10m investment to own both a very capable support vessel and the submarine,” said Lahey. “To me, it’s a great way for Triton to target a much broader audience; submersibles are a product which universally create interest and advocacy for our oceans. I’m passionately interested in increasing the number of people who care about our oceans, and one of the best ways that you can do that is to take someone put them in submersible, take them on a dive, and I guarantee you that their perspective on the oceans will be changed forever."
“We’re opening a whole new client base, its not just yacht owners, there are many new commercial avenues. Diving outfits, hotels, charterers and individual owners,” said SHADOWCAT founder Robert Smith “Yachting's not about having a smoking room and cocktails in the aft deck. It's about exploring and enjoying the water, and to do that, you need the toys. We’ve been supplying that for the last five to six years, and we've had two vessels built and delivered. The catamaran is a perfect platform to safely launch and retrieve,” a wide range of on and underwater toys.
SHADOWLARK was developed as a scalable solution to the logistical challenges associated with launching, recovering, and supporting a submersible weighing up to 26,400 lbs.
The LARC is designed to provide a stable, protective, efficient and spacious at-sea platform, suited to applications in both the private and commercial sectors, including:
- Operating independently,
- Supporting an existing private, research-focused or chartered yacht fleet,
- Serving as a multi-function package for marine research institutes, documentary film-makers underwater archaeology and surveying missions or
- Adding new underwater options to luxury resort excursion packages around the world.
With an 8.5-m beam, and a draft of 1.5. -m, SHADOWLARK includes a dive center, lounge, galley, bar and storage over three decks. “I think the challenge with this, and the reason we've done a completely custom design, is because we need to be able to safely store and launch the submarine, and that takes up a lot of the real estate of the boat,” said Dan Mace, technical manager Incat Crowther. “We don't want that to dominate the whole boat.
Everything has to be really space-efficient so that you can have a lounge off the aft deck for when you come back in, a galley, a mess, accommodations, and you might want to carry some other (things like) jet skis or a RIB on the back deck. By the time you put all this in, it starts to take up a lot of space, so we have to think quite creatively about making it space-efficient. So the greatest technical feature is the safe launch and recovery of the submarine; doing that and keeping it in an affordable, simple, safe platform.”
Incat Crowther designs are more than 600 vessels, with 80% being commercial vessels. “What we bring to the table are a proven platform and commercial experience,” said Mace.The 24m platform has about 50 build references: we know what works; we know what doesn’t work. Our mission is to do the mission in the most simple and safe way.
“Because all SHADOWCAT vessels are fully bespoke, this highly capable concept can be constructed as is or can serve as a starting point for a more customized option. For example, we can enlarge SHADOWLARK to house bigger submarines or to make room for additional leisure and entertainment areas,” said Smith. “As evidenced by award-winning Hodorand recently delivered Wayfinder, SHADOWCATs are designed to carry the best toys in the world.”
The Triton Submarine
“We’ve established ourselves as a pioneer in this space, and we’ve developed submarines that carry a few as two people to as many as 24 people, from as shallow as 100m or as deep as full ocean depth,” said Lahey. “For the longest time we’ve needed a capable and affordable vessel to launch, recover and support a submersible. This will open a huge potential market for both companies.”
Triton Submarines’ submersible is built with the industry’s clearest acrylic pressure hulls; nearly 360-degree views; and ergonomic, beautiful and comfortable interiors. Weighing 8,000 kg (17,640 lbs.), the Triton 3300/3 MKII submersible is 4 x 3 x 2.6m (13.1 x 9.8 x 8.5 ft.) and has a payload of 800 kg (1,760 lbs). The submarine features a speed of three knots, a single-lift point and is largely customizable to an owner’s tastes.
As the flagship submersible of the Triton model range, and with the tenth unit currently under construction, the Triton 3300/3 MKII submersible is delivered with full third-party classification society certification (DNV) and exceeds the most stringent safety regulations. The Triton 3300/3 MKII gained fame for its starring role in a number of recent international documentary hits, notably including Will Smith’s Welcome to Earth and the BBC’s Blue Planet II, the latter of which included over 500-hours diving time.
In addition to selling the SHADOWLARK to private customers, Lahey is excited too by the new platforms ability to help Triton expand its submersible business further, faster. “One of my frustrations in being unable to accommodate the many requests we get (for demonstration dives), because we don't currently have a demonstration sub or the capacity to take people easily,” said Lahey. “It will be a distinct advantage for Triton to own its own submarine and support vessel to take potential clients, to take journalists on demonstration dives. This platform opens up a massive potential market for us.”
“I've been in the underwater business for 40 years, and I've been working with submarines since I was 21, working with a broad range of submersibles in many different disciplines, from oil and gas, to salvage to research science, tourism, and now, private yachts and private recreational users,” said Lahey. “It's an exciting time for anyone who loves human-occupied vehicles. They almost vanished from the landscape because they were being replaced by remotely-operated vehicles, AUVs, and things of that nature, all of which are wonderful. But to me, nothing replaces a human presence underwater.”