Any millionaire can buy themselves a fancy yacht, but if you want a conversation piece ... well, it helps if it has a story behind it, and the Lockheed Martin-built Sea Slice certainly does. Launched in 1996 by the US Navy as a military support vessel, the experimental watercraft features a unique hull design that reportedly allows it to remain as stable as a conventional ship three times its size. It cost US$15 million to design and build, but you can have it now for the low, low price of just $180,000.
The Sea Slice utilizes a variation on the SWATH (Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull) design.
A regular SWATH boat has two hulls, kind of like a catamaran. Whereas a catamaran's hulls resemble skinnier versions of a conventional single hull, however, a SWATH's are more like cylindrical pontoons that sit completely below the surface. The struts that connect those hulls to the rest of the boat are quite narrow, thus minimizing volume at the sea's surface, where all the wave energy is located. Because the hulls themselves sit deeper in the water, they're not affected much by the waves.
In the case of the Sea Slice, there are four shorter teardrop-shaped hulls – two on each side, one behind the other. Apparently this modification reduces waves caused by the boat, along with hydrodynamic drag. That drag reduction allows it to travel at higher speeds for a given amount of horsepower, as compared to other SWATH boats of a similar size and displacement.
The 105-ft (32-m) long, 55-ft (17-m) wide, 180-ton (163-tonne) watercraft features two 3,480 hp diesel engines, two 180-kW Caterpillar diesel electric generators, and (if its specs are still the same as they were when it was first built) a top speed of 30 knots (56 km/h, or 35 mph). There's no word on how many people it can accommodate, although judging by the photos, there are at least six bunks. It also has a full galley, shower-equipped bathroom, plus a washer and dryer.
... and it's now up for sale, in its current home port of San Diego. If you have an extra 180 grand lying around and are interested in acquiring a piece of naval history, just check out the link below.
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning