Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation, has begun construction of a new launch for the Charleston, S.C., pilots, the first in a new line of rigid bottom, soft-sided pilot boats. The jet-driven, all-aluminum launch measures 40 ft. overall, with a 13-ft. beam, including the inflatable collar, and a shoal 2.4-ft. draft. Designed by C. Raymond Hunt Associates of Boston, the deep-V hull features a steep 24-degree dead-rise at the transom that increases to a very fine entry forward. Ample chines and multiple spray-rails will provide an efficient running surface and will deflect spray away from the tubes to provide a dryer ride and reduce collar maintenance. A Wing Inflatable’s polyurethane, multi-chambered collar, measuring 28-in. in diameter, will be installed around the hull. An on-board, compressed-air system allows the pilot to inflate the tube sections from the console. Half-in. thick fenders will be laminated to the tubes’ outside surfaces to increase puncture resistance, and a heavy-duty pipe guard will be installed across the transom, along with a grating platform above the waterjets. The vessel is designed to also accept a solid inomer foam collar, as well as Wing’s hybrid air-foam-polyurethane collar.
Twin Cummins QSL-405M, six-cylinder diesel engines, each rated 405 bhp at 2,100 rpm will power the new RIB. The engines will turn pairs of Hamilton HJ-292 waterjets, through Twin Disc 5075SC gearboxes, which, combined, will give the launch a top speed of 34 knots, fully loaded, and a 30-knot cruising speed. Accommodations and outfitting include four heavy-duty suspension seats, heating and air conditioning, and complete navigation, electronics, and safety equipment packages.