Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, The Duclos Corporation
, is building a new class of pilot boats. The Virginia, Maryland, and Tampa pilots will be the first to operate the shipyard’s new Chesapeake class of 53-ft. launches.
The first two boats will be delivered to the Virginia Pilot Boat Corporation
and Association of Maryland Pilots next
October. The Tampa Pilots’ boat and a sister ship for the Maryland pilots will be delivered in 2003.
The Chesapeake class represents some subtle changes to the hull of the shipyard’s popular “St. Johns” class of pilot boats, said Winn Willard
of C. Raymond Hunt Associates, the designer. The new all-aluminum boat measures approximately 52.5 ft., with a 17-ft. beam and a 4.8-ft. draft. It is six inches longer, and wider on deck than the St. Johns class.
The Maryland and Virginia boats will be powered by two Detroit Diesel Series 60 engines, developing 600bhp at 2100 rpm, with top speeds expecting to reach 26 knots. The engines will turn five-blade Hall & Stavaert bronze propellers via Twin Disc 5114A, 2:1 reverse/ reduction gears. The generators are Northern Lights with 10kW of output.
Although the delivery dates are different, the four boats were designed at the same time, instead of through phases. The design decisions were made before construction started in order to accommodate small differences in the boats’ outfit.
The heated and air-conditioned wheelhouse and forecastle of each boat is similarly equipped with Stidd reclining pilot seats, bunks and a full or partial galley.