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Detroit Diesel Computer System To Control Engines On Gladding-Hearn Built Research Vessel

Somerset, Mass.-based Gladding- Hearn Shipbuilding, The Duclos Corp., has begun construction of a research vessel for the University of New Hampshire (UNH).

The 50-foot, all-aluminum vessel, which measures 16 feet abeam and draws five feet, is the shipyard's first research boat for the Jackson Esuarine Laboratory.

According to the vessel's designer, Roger Long, the new boat is designed to operate anywhere in the Gulf of Maine. It will replace a much slower wooden boat that is limited to 20 miles offshore. Powered by twin Detroit Diesel 8V-92 turbocharged engines, each rated at 600 bhp, the vessel's 20 knot-plus top speed will ensure faster trips within 100 miles of the New England coast and allow the laboratory's staff to devote more time to underwater studies and less time simply riding the boat.

Because the vessel, like other research boats, will operate frequently at low speeds, the engine's performance will be controlled by Detroit Diesel's DDEC computer system. In addition to constantly monitoring engines and transmission performance, the electronic operating system will enable the engines to idle longer at slow speeds and run cleaner. The DDEC system will improve the engine's fuel economy at all speeds, but particularly at low speeds, Mr. Long noted.

The aluminum planing hull is strengthened for operating in icy waters. According to the designer, to be certified for carrying passengers and with four watertight compartments, the vessel exceeds Coast Guard safety requirements for a typical 50-footer.

Onboard accommodations include a small laboratory, pipe berths, bunks, galley and a large head with shower to support a captain, deckhand and eight research scientists. The flat working deck aft is equipped with an oceanographic winch and steel A-frame that can handle loads up to 8,000 pounds under certain conditions.

For additional information about Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding,




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