Introducing Wetwheels Jersey: Can we always improve a great design?

Besides excellent stability, and superb sea handling qualities which both give rise to a very safe craft, Cheetah Marine's core strength remains the capability to design and build every boat to each customer's exact requirement. This is a key selling point for many of our customers and whilst we proudly boast about our 350 unique builds, from time to time a customer comes along who is so impressed by another Cheetah, an identical one is requested.

In 2012 Geoff Holt dreamt up the idea of Wetwheels. Having had a serious accident in the 1980s he had since been‘restricted’ to a wheelchair, which with time proved not a hindrance to Geoff’s achievements. With acclaimed titles such as first solo handed Atlantic crossing and first quadriplegic sailor to sail solo around the UK, Geoff decided to turn his hand to powerboating. After some investigation Geoff decided a Cheetah seemed the only option and placed an order in 2011.

Wetwheels was delivered later that year and debuted at the PSP Southampton Boatshow. Her role was to serve as Geoff’s fishing boat which he could helm himself and double up as a boat for taking out disabled children, adults and family. In short, giving everyone access to the water. Wetwheels was an instant success and hit the major headlines.

The following year Cheetah Marine and the Wetwheels Team visited the Jersey Boatshow. Wetwheels was guest of honor for charity Le Tournoi and ran continuous trips taking out many of the Island’s disabled children and carers. A new project was conceived ‘Wetwheels Jersey’ an identical Cheetah with an identical role for the people of Jersey. In the space of just over 1 year spearheading charity Le Tournoi conceived the project,raised the funds and collected the Cheetah.

Andrew Le Seelleurs MBE, Chairman Le Tournoi comments "We took delivery of Wetwheels Jersey, a 9 metre Cheetah, in September. Following a successful day of trials, we headed south to her new home in Jersey where she will be used to take disabled and disadvantaged passengers out to sea for educational and experiential voyages.The passage was quite rough but she handled the conditions comfortably and showed us exactly why Cheetahs are renowned for their rough weather performance.

The build quality is faultless and Cheetah went mor ethan the extra mile to turn our design requirements into reality, including abespoke hydraulic ramp which enables wheelchair users to be elevated to the optimum height required for them to helm.

Following her formal commissioning in late-September,numerous trips have been organised and our passengers and crew have been extremely impressed by her handling, stability and ease of use. I have no hesitation in recommending Cheetah Marine for their build quality, value for money and fantastic relationship management during and after build."

The specification:

  • Cheetah’s popular 9.2mcatamaran with a beam of 3.7m
  • Power: twin 250hp Suzuki outboards provide top speeds in excess of 40 knots. The Cheetah is ideal for the rough, tidal waters experienced in the Channel Islands and will enable passengers to travel to France and neighbouring islands within an hour.
  • In addition to enabling boating experiences for all, Wetwheels Jersey will be used for fishing, navigation training and hosting social events.

Design Features:

  • Wheelchair and general passenger access is via a port side 850mm wide side door.
  • The open style wheelhouse ramps forward to a hydraulic platform which can be lifted and lowered according to the height required by the helmsman.
  • The helm position is installed with a Q straint locking down mechanism. Four ‘D’ rings are positioned so that a wheelchair without Q Straint can be racheted down.
  • The dash has been redesigned so that the helmsman in the wheelchair can tuck his legs underneath and have a comfortable steering position. Power assisted hydraulic steering is used with a joystick override option. All the primary electrical functions, wipers, horn and anchor windlass are positioned within easy reach of the helmsman as is the Simrad NSS 12” touch screen.
  • Wetwheels Jersey is MCA coded to Category 2, 60 miles from a safe haven with 12 persons onboard.
  • 20 stainless steel tie down points for wheelchairs are located in the deck with twin seat boxes and stainless steel handrails behind the two outer wheelchairs which allow the carers to sit either behind the wheelchair or to the side.
  • A1m high central console divides the wheelhouse, bow to stern, providing a location for the engine controls position which can be used by both the wheelchair user at the helm and, if necessary, an able bodied crew member on the starboard side.
  • The throttle and gear change are all fly by wire for easy use. The Isolators and circuit breakers are housed at waist height on this console.

Follow the Wetwheels story go to: https://www.facebook.com/WetwheelsJersey

Statistics
Length overall including engine pods 9.2m
Beam 3.7m
Draught (hull only) 0.4m (min)
Gunwale height 0.7m
Engine Power 2 x 250hp Suzuki outboards
Wheelhouse size L2.5m x W3m
Deck space L3m x W3.5m
Transom style Open, between pods
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