Wave adaptive modular vessels

The Proteus, after a Greek god of the sea, is the first of what might be a long line of wave adaptive modular vessels -- WAM-V for short -- developed by Ugo Conti, an engineer and inventor. Conti calls it "the prototype of a new class of vessel."

Using technology developed by Conti's El Cerrito Marine Advanced Research Inc., the WAM-V is "a new class of watercraft, that delivers a radically new seagoing experience." It has twin hulls, like a catamaran, connected to each other and a control cabin by four metal legs. The legs ride on titanium springs, like shock absorbers, that allow the WAM-V to adjust to the surface of the water, to flex like knees. Conventional boats cut through the waves. The WAM-V slides over them. "It is not fighting the waves," he said.

The Proteus is 100 feet long, 50 feet between the outsides of the twin hulls, and is powered by two 355 horsepower Cummins marine diesels. It displaces 12 tons fully loaded. Fuel is stored in the flexible pontoons, and the vessel, Conti says, has a range of thousands of miles.

Source: sfgate.comAdded: 10 September 2007