Rodriguez Boat Builders Inc., Bayou La Batre, Ala., delivered a model bow tug at the conclusion of a busy year. M/V Connor A. Gisclair, measuring 72 x 24 x 9 ft. was designed by Rodriguez and joint owners, Rusty Gisclair and Huey J. Cheramie, to replace tug Emily Cheramie, which they lost in the spring of 1998 on a reef off the coast of Belize.
Actually owned by a sister company named Inshore Marine. Inc., the tug carries the Huey L. Cheramie, Inc. stack logo. The new boat continues the owners' preference for triple screw tugs. Four of the company's current fleet of eight vessels are triple screw.
Cheramie says, "Not only is it the most effective application, with continued operation in the event of a lost engine, the safety factor of just having that extra engine is something we really like."
With accommodation for six people, the boat carries up to 24,000 gallons of fuel, 5,500 gallons of fresh water and 200 gallons each of lube, hydraulic, clutch and waste oil. Hull framing is on 18-in. centres to which is welded .375-in. plate on the bottom except under the stern where .5-in. plate was used. Side shells are .3125-in. with .375-in for deck and .25-in for the superstructure. A Smatco 44 single-drum towing winch with a 50,000 lb. line pull and 1,500 ft. of 1.25-in. wire is installed aft. The boat can operate in a push mode for inland waters and will tow in outside waters.
Propulsion power is three Cummins NTA 855-M diesels each rated for 350 hp continuous duty at 1,800 rpm. The engines turn through ZF-350-1 gears with a deep ratio of 6.499:1 to 58.5-in. propellers
in nozzles with 60-in. inside diameters and outside diameters of 72 in.
At the same time to maintain the light boat draft of about 6.5-ft., the upper curves of the nozzles have been faired into the underside of the hull with tear-shaped rounds formed into the hull forward of the nozzles to assure adequate and uninterrupted water flow to the props. Ballasting will allow the boat to gain a 8.5-ft. draft for improved stability in outside waters.
The boat was delivered to the owners and began its maiden voyage, with another of the company's triple screw tugs, the following day. Connor A. Gisclair will be towing on the hawser while the second tug will be made up astern as an assist boat. A conventional push boat was not an option as the loaded barges have an air draft of 46 ft. which would block visibility for a push boat.. Meanwhile the shallow water draft of the triple screw tugs will allow them to operate safely even in the smaller inland waters which typically are maintained to a 9.5-ft. depth.