Luxury Vessel: Innespace's SeaBreacher Dolphin is the second dolphin-shaped submersible vessel produced by Innespace. The Sweet Virgin Angel, which is a one-seat model, was the first porpoise-inspired design by Rob Innes and Dan Piazza. Powered by a supercharged 240 horsepower Atkins' rotary engine, the two-seat SeaBreacher Dolphin skips across the water at 30 mph, and goes 20 mph when submerged. Joystick controllers and foot pedals operate the mechanical fins and the tail. The large see-through canopy provides passengers a very scenic view. The mammal-look-alike craft leaps, dives, and barrel rolls just like its namesake. It can remain underwater (hold its breath) for up to 15 seconds.
Albeit providing adrenaline-pumping pleasure is definitely a top priority of the SeaBreacher, safety issues were equally important. The cabin and the engine bay are sealed watertight with pneumatic aircraft seals, and there are three bilge pumps to ensure the hull stays afloat if water floods the interior when the canopy is open. However, even if the boat is flooded, there is enough flotation within the hull to keep it from sinking. Both seats feature four-point harnesses, and the canopy, which is strike-resistant, is made of the same materials as canopies on aircrafts.
The prototypes were made from vinylester-reinforced fiberglass. Vinylesters are an alternative to polyester and epoxy materials. Homebuilt airplanes, such as the Glasair and Glastar, are made of similar materials. The SeaBreacher's mechanical hardware is made from Teflon, stainless steel, and aluminum.
The SeaBreacher Dolphin is expected to be ready for
demonstrations and races by summer 2007. The firm's long-term goal is to license the production of its vessels for mass production. Corporate sponsorship opportunities are currently available. Innespace's vessels have been featured on numerous television shows, including NBC's Today Show, and as the Bionic Dolphin in the Austin Powers' Goldmember flick.
For LxM James Rothaar
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