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Travelling on water usually means taking the slow and steady path to your destination, unless of course, you're a slick moneymaker with a speedboat available wherever you go or part of the military.
However, for the purveyors of speedy mass transportation on water, a twin-hulled catamaran doing the run from Buenos Aires Argentina to Montevideo, Uruguay across the Rio de La Plata in around two hours is the perfect cure for the itch. Called the Francisco after Pope Francis, this ride-on ride-off ferry between the capital cities of Argentina and Uruguay can carry over 1,000 passengers and 150 cars at a top speed of 107.4kph (67 knots).
Built by Australian shipbuilders Incat in 2013, the Uruguayan-flagged Francisco is a twin-hull catamaran that skims across the surface of the water. The Francisco is 99m long, 26.94m wide has a waterline length of 90.54 metres, a draft of 2.98 metres, and a deadweight capacity of 500 tonnes.
The Francisco features twin aluminium hulls connected by a bridging section with centre bow structure at the forward end. Both hulls are divided into nine vented, watertight compartments divided by transverse bulkheads, two of which are used to store fuel while yet another section is used as a long range fuel tank.
Giving the Francisco its phenomenal speed on water are two LM2500 marine gas turbine engine by General Electric(GE) Aviation, which are derived from the GE CF6 jet engine that powers the Boeing 747. The LM2500 turbines on the Francisco have been modified to run on either natural gas or Marine distillate and produce 29,815bhp each. The LM2500 engines (one on each hull) are connected via ZF 7:1 reduction gearboxes to Wärtsilä LJX 1720SR axial waterjet which push the Francisco in either forwards or reverse direction on the water.
While there are speedboats that can travel at these speeds, the Francisco does it while carrying over 1,000 people and 150 cars in luxury across the Rio de la Plata. The ship also plays host to a 1,100 square feet duty-free shop, bars and VIP areas as well.
DriveSpark's Thoughts On The World's Fastest Ship
The Francisco shows that mass transportation across water doesn't have to be slow. While wouldn't mind riding the waves in the catamaran named after the Pope, especially if it means having luxuries like a duty-free shop on board, but the thought of being seasick at such speeds makes our stomachs a bit queasy.