Ted Verret reports
that his family’s Plaquamine Louisiana shipyard will be sea trialing the new Blessey Marine push boat M/V Capt. Lance Dragon next
week with a scheduled February 1 delivery. The 76 x 30 x 10-ft. towboat will be powered by a pair of Cummins (CMI)
KTA38 M0 engines rated for 850 hp each at 1800 RPM for a total of 170 rpm. Marine gears are a pair of Reintjes WAF562 with 6:1 ratios. The busy yard already has the keel laid and bulwarks formed for a 116x32-foot towboat for the same customer.
One of the assets of the Verret yard is its full service machine shop where the lathes are busy working on shafts for the yard’s own boats and for other customers that send shafts up to 32 feet by 12 inches for repair. In early December of 2006 machinist Mike Ferguson, with 28 years of lathe work and related experience, had a pair of seven-inch by 23-ft. shafts ready for the new 76-foot Blessey towboat. Both of the new towboats will be fitted with Thordon shaft bearings.
In December he was shaping the bearing blanks to the correct dimensions for the new shafts. Because it was cold in the shop, he was working with the lowest category on a temperature chart supplied by the manufacturer that gave varied tolerances depending on the ambient temperature. Once he had set up the lathe he let it run and the fine strands of material peeled off in an arching and spiraling stream that piled up on the floor to be picked up later with a hayfork.