YARMOUTH - Heads were turning along the Eastern seaboard during the Leeway Striker’s voyage home from Tampa to Halifax.
With its distinctive camouflage paint job and sleek profile, the 74-foot patrol boat generated lots of conversation, including in Yarmouth, where it docked for fuel and to clear customs on Aug. 26.
It cost close to $10 million to build the Leeway Striker. Sangster won’t disclose how much he paid for the vessel, one they’ve been working nearly a year to acquire.“It’s an interesting boat,” said captain Jamie Sangster, who is also CEO of Leeway Marine in Halifax, which operates in a number of different sectors, but mostly hydrographic survey.
“There was no expense spared in the development of this boat at all,” he said.
He and his team aspire to enter into a few other sectors in the market with it – ocean technology-related and defence-related.
The mid-shore surveillance and patrol vessel was built by RiverHawk Fast Sea Frames for a military application in a military competition several years ago. The prototype vessel never went into use because competitors won the bid.
“It worked out well for us,” said Sangster. “We were the lucky Nova Scotians that were digging hard to find an appropriate, unique vessel and we’ve certainly found it in this one.”
The unique camouflage exterior is difficult to see, especially in colder ocean waters as it tends to blend in with the waves.
There are also very few 90-degree angles on the vessel so the radar cross-section is a lot smaller.
“For a defence application, having a small radar cross-section certainly makes you much more difficult to detect. So that’s a nice advantage for some of the clients we hope to attract,” said Sangster.
The interior features shock absorbing seats, small galley and six bunks.
Sangster says it took a little while to learn the technical components of the vessel during the trip as it didn’t come with a user manual.
“We’re new to the boat and there are so many things you have to learn. It’s all monitored remotely through the computers,” he said.
“It feels good to almost have it home. It’s been kind of a long journey since last June, when we started working on the process to get this vessel. The team left Tampa in mid-August and stopped in a few places on the way up to work out the kinks.”
The vessel will be docked at the COVE – the Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship – in Halifax.
The ocean tech park is a collaborative space for ocean technology businesses, start-ups, researchers and marine-based and service businesses. Direct access to the ocean, testing facilities and post-secondary and government research centres is provided.
More on the Leeway Striker
Length: 74 feet with 6.5 feet beam
Speed: 58.5 knots
Range: 510 NM
Engines: Three x V12MAN diesels; 2 Kamewa 45 S3 w/1 x Kamewa 45 B3 Booster waterjet
Other features: removable shock-mitigating seating for crew and mission personnel, stern ramp to accommodate a five-metre interceptor or unmanned scout boat.