By: Scott Way
We have found another worthy entry into our growing #WeirdBoats repertoire. For the uninitiated, #WeirdsBoats are any seafaring vessel that meets three major criteria. The boat must be 1) cool. 2) innovative. And 3) unquestionably unique. The Victa by SubSea Craft is 50% James Bond escape vessel, 50% Navy SEAL black ops infiltrator, and 100% worthy of a place on the list. We haven't figured out whether its intended for special operations or special parties, but does it matter? Let's discuss.
While still in the prototype stage, the Victa is a 40 ft (12.2m) covert speedboat with a top speed of 40 knots (46 mph), a cruising speed of 30 knots (34.5 mph), with a vague resemblance to the world's stealthiest aquatic limousine. The comapny calls it "the world's most advanced diver delivery unit." With the flick of a switch, the Victa can go subaquatic in 2 minutes and bring the crew of 8 on a wild adventure below the surface to a max depth of 98 feet (30 m).
Now, here's where the Victa gets its street (water?) cred. The six passengers and two crew wear full SCUBA gear and, once dipping below the surface, can travel at 8 knots (9 mph) with a submerged range of 25 miles. The crew could be an elite Navy SEAL team sent to infiltrate a top secret submarine base in a foreign land, or they could be a couple SCUBA divers in boardshorts looking to go whale watching below the surface. Or, if you're James Bond, it could be the ideal boat to top the legendary boat chase scene in Live and Let Die.
The Victa was built in the south of England and is currently undergoing sea trials through early 2021. Potential buyers are likely to be militaries around the world, but also has appeal for tourist companies or wealthy adventurers looking for the ultimate experience. Its primary allure is the ability to switch between surface and subsurface movement since there are currently few vessels, if any, that can achieve that range with those speeds.
According to CEO Scott Verney in an interview with Robb Report, “It’s the most advanced craft of its type. The two-minute transition time between surface and subsurface is groundbreaking. We’ve also mastered fly-by-wire sophistication to reduce pilot load."
As for potential uses, Verney added "You can enjoy transiting along gently with a school of whales. Seeing them under water is far superior than bobbing along beside on a boat.”
The company website is more direct in their description, stating that the "Victa enables the inconspicuous insertion and extraction of mission-ready capability at range and as such, it broadens the spectrum of operational options on offer to commanders of Maritime, Joint and Special Operations." Alright then.
Development on the project began five years ago amidst a meeting between military veterans and underwater pilots. The boat's technology utilizes a 'multiplex controller designed around CAN technologies' (Controller Area Networks), meaning multiple controllers work in unison to handle the ship's operation. The command system was designed by UK based technology firm SCISYS to monitor the ship's complex electronics, and was given the epically cool name of 'Human-Machine Interface.' The shape and dimensions of the hull were also cleverly designed to fit inside a shipping container or the interior hold of a cargo plane. The vessel is also light enough to be airlifted by helicopter.
Power for the Victa comes from an Italian-made 725 hp Seatek diesel with water jets from Swedish company Kamewa. Four thrusters allow the boat to hover at depth, and the 20-kW underwater electric engines generate a top speed of roughly 8 knots (9 mph). Above water it has a respectable range of 250 nautical miles. A built-in life support system holds enough air for four hours for the 8 person crew.
The pricetag on the Victa isn't entry level, but you can't really put a price on a recreational submarine/special forces stealth machine. It's a niche market. There certainly will be interested buyers, and that could include anyone from Navy admirals to the next Captain Ahab. Or, if you've got $9 million USD burning a hole in your wetsuit, the Victa may be for you.
You can check out our full catalog of epically unusual #WeirdBoats, and you can check out the Victa in all its glory below: