Commencing this summer, passengers traveling from Point Judith to Block Island, R.I. by ferry, can, for the first time, make the trip in about half the time. In July, Island Hi-Speed Ferry received a new 99-ft. (30.4 m) Athena, a high-speed catamaran ferry
built by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding. The 250-passenger fast ferry has a top speed of 34 knots when loaded with a dwt of 18.6 tons, and completes the 12-mile ocean crossing in about 22 minutes, according to shipyard officials.
Designed for commuter and tourist service by Incat Designs of Sydney, Australia, the ferry is operated by the start up company partnered with Boston Harbor Cruises.
The all-aluminum vessel is powered by twin Caterpillar 3412E, 1,100 bhp diesel engines, which drive Hamilton HM 521 water jets through ZF 1950 reduction gears. The vessel features Incat's single chine Z-bow hulls. The resulting longer waterline improves the vessel's high-speed performance and sea-keeping ability. Its Vosper/MDI active trim tab motion control system is expected to reduce its motion by as much as 60 percent.
Interior arrangements include upholstered seating for 190 passengers, a snack bar, and three heads. Heating and air conditioning is provided by a 150,000 Btu system.