Offshore Wind: PLC2W or W2W?

Really interesting LinkedIn post from Toby Mead about where technology in Offshore Wind might be heading

In summary, suggesting an intermediate step between the small (less than 24m long) vessels which push onto the offshore turbine and rely on friction between vessel and structure to keep the vessel stable and allow the technician to step over and the much larger (80m long) monohulls that use well proven Oil field Walk to Work (W2W) system to transfer the technician

This video shows an experience that most of us who have climbed the tower will have seen. Which is why I call this the Pray Leap Climb 2 Work (PLC2W) system

In comparison, this video from Siemens extolls the virtues of the W2W system.

Having started (and sold) a company (CWind) which was the first Offshore Wind contractor to combine technicians and vessel I fully agree with Toby that the future is in moving offshore with the right vessel and the right technician combined.

I also do not believe that the W2W system is the right solution. The lack of connection means the vessel must be big to ensure the motions are slow enough that the gyro stabilised platform can work. Coupled with the power needed to keep the vessel stationary, it really is a hammer to crack a nut.

The problem is that it has to pass the Grandmother test. I took a similar, if somewhat more radical concept,(Details attached) into Siemens over 5 years ago. The Naval Architect listened politely and then explained that to move forward he had to imagine explaining this to his Grandmother and getting her approval. On that basis I had just failed the Grandmother test!

He was right. Working with the Construction team is like working with your Rugby playing friend who also happens to be Australian. Working with O&M is like working with your Grandmother… The appetite to try something new is somewhat reduced.

Hats off to Toby, Eric Mead and the best designer in the business; James Walker, for having a go at taking this challenge on. I will be watching the discussion with interest

Mother Ocean flyer_V04.pdf (413.1 KB)


I was aboard a vessel that suffered a WTW system failure. Funnily enough whilst working for Cwind a couple of years ago. Watching the incident back on the ships CCTV system was frightening. Luckily it was during the start of the days operations so nobody was any where near the platform. The walkway pulled away whilst it was still under pressure. It then shot out and smashed the gates open. If a person were to be stood behind the gates they would of been killed or at the very least been seriously injured. Apparently a servo failed and the secondary system failed to pick it up and compensate. Obviously why Ampleman have 3 independent operating systems.


Thanks @Johno4385 for taking the time to register and post your comment. Much appreciated.

Just to clarify. Was this an ampelman system or another supplier?

The Walk to Work strapline is very soothing. It conjures up the techie whistling as he strolls across the gangway, his daughter taking time out to Walk to Work with her Father. The reality is very different. A huge number of complex systems have to mesh together to deliver a stationary step over. At the other end of the Gangway, thousands of tonnes of Romanian steel pump thousands of horsepower into the water to keep the ship positioned within inches.
Multiple fail safe mechanical systems mesh together to ensure the platform remains stable.

Given the choice…my Granny says No! Give me the step over and C2W she would ask.

Morning Andy.

The system that failed was an “Uptime” unit. Very big and instills confidence in Techs because they cant see the compensation taking place. In my opinion not actually as stable as Ampleman. Personally I would always chose a CTV and a ladder. At least I have some control over that.

1 Like

Thanks @Johno4385 I agree, C2W over W2W any day. The key, in my opinion, is to remove the Pray, Leap part of the current C2W system.

That requires the vessel to clamp onto the Boat Landing platform such that it has a solid connection and allows a traffic light system. The technician then just has to see a green light to climb over to the vessel from the ladder (Coming back onto the vessel is the most difficult part of the journey as you are facing the wrong direction)

Without this capability I suspect the O&M contracts will continue to specify “hammer to crack nut”; SOV solutions