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In June 2012, the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II was celebrated, and the focus of the festivities was the Thames Diamond Jubilee River Pageant – the largest collection of vessels to ever be assembled on the River Thames and the biggest parade of boats in history.
Although more than 1,000 different vessels participated in the flotilla, the centre of attention was the royal barge, which carried the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal Family (including the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry).
Clearly, it has to be a very special vessel that is selected for such an honour. And, in late 2011, the organisers of the pageant chose The Spirit of Chartwell, a luxurious hotel barge owned and operated by the Magna Carta Steamship company.
The ship began life on the Rhine as the Van Gogh, and was originally designed to sail the waterways of Europe and venture into coastal waters. In 2009, she was acquired by her current owners, given a sumptuous £7 million refit and re-named as The Spirit of Chartwell. At this stage, she was meticulously designed to evoke the timeless grandeur of the 1929 Cote d’Azur Pullman railway carriage. Several original pieces from this famous carriage can be found on board, along with fixtures and fittings from some of the great ocean liners of yesteryear.
For the pageant, the Spirit of Chartwell was lavishly decorated in red, gold and purple, reminiscent of royal barges of the 17 and 18th century. Among the additions were thousands of flowers, an ornate gilded prow sculpture of Old Father Thames, and a large red velvet banner with a royal coat of arms made of more than half a million gold-coloured buttons.
With a vessel of this type, the quality and attention to detail extends well beyond the public spaces and the cabins. The Spirit of Chartwell therefore exceeds all of the latest UK Marine Coastguard Agency codes on safety and navigation, including the provision of Hi fog sprinklers and waste treatment plant. The vessel is also highly manoeuvrable in being equipped with twin Schottel propulsion (propellers being able to turn in 360 degrees) and two types of bow thrusters.
Constant, reliable controllable power is, of course, a necessity. ComAp engine management systems therefore monitor and control the power and propulsion systems. And ComAp standby generation solutions guarantee that emergency power is always available – and critical navigational systems keep on functioning.
Components include a high-end ComAp Gen-Set controller (InteliGen NT Marine running a MINT 2.4 software), a ComAp voltage regulator interface module (IG-AVRi Marine), and ComAp power management dongles for enabling automatic synchronisation and load sharing (IGS-NT-LSM+PMS), all of which were supplied and commissioned by IPU Group, ComAp distributor for UK and Ireland.
Source of pictures: www.thamesdiamondjubileepageant.org