For Quark Expeditions’ brand new Ultramarine ship, speed is everything. The cruise line promises its passengers to “get off the ship and deeper into the polar wilderness faster than ever before.”
Part of that experience is having the right zodiac boats and related infrastructure.
With its 22 zodiac Mark 5 boats, the Mallorca-based EYOS Tenders ensured just that for Quark. Creating these boats was a special experience for the company’s founder and director, John Apps.
“I used to work for Quark 20 years ago, I was a ship operations manager from 1997 to 2003,” he told Cruise Industry News. “I guess it was my personal history with Quark – having been an employee with them, I had an emotional attachment to making this project special. But also, I think, where we really push the boundaries a little bit is that we have collaborated with them to make specific items for their boats on a custom-made basis.”
The zodiac boats – built to show off Quark’s corporate colors and logos – are loaded with new and innovative features that have been developed specifically to work for Quark.
“It’s the first time that we’ve actually made zodiacs, which are in any other color apart from black. They have the yellow stripes down them, which we’ve worked on. They’ve asked for specific types of a bow box so that they store their equipment and all of their fuel tanks in the same place… We’ve done rubber flooring for shock absorption and a lot of things that are custom made,” Apps said.
A big part of the project was the lifting system that EYOS Tenders built for the zodiacs
“The garage on the Ultramarine does not have a lot of height, so we built a design of a lifting system by incorporating longitudinal bars in the boat to enable the lifting hook to remain inside the level of the tubes ensuring that the boats can be double stacked inside. This was a vital part of the project,” Apps said. “There was quite a lot of technical management involved with that.”
According to him, the whole project took 18 months to complete.
“We started talking to Quark in July of 2019. So, it’s taken a while to get everything together and right and the delivery times. But then a lot of that is because there is a long waiting order for zodiacs out of the factory. So, we had to move in advance to make sure that we got the boats delivered at the right time,” he said.
The 22 boats were delivered to Quark in December 2020. The Ultramarine is currently on sea trials in the waters of Split, Croatia, where two of EYOS Tenders’ zodiacs are involved.
“We produced two boats specifically for the sea trials, so that they have those boats onboard; and the other boats are just about to go onboard now,” Apps said.