Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding delivered a new Chesapeake class
pilot boat to the Tampa Bay pilots, bringing to four the number of this type delivered by the Somerset, Mass., yard this year.
The new boat measures 52.5 ft. overall, with a 17-ft. beam and a 4.8-ft. draft.
Powered by twin Caterpillar 3406E diesel engines — each developing 600 bhp at 2,100 rpm — driving 5-blade Hall & Stavert bronze propellers through Twin Disc Mg 5114A, 2:1 reverse/reduction gears to produce a top speed of 26 knots.
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 boat is six inches longer and wider on deck. There are also an additional 6 inches of freeboard.
Also, the new class is suited for a wide range of engine options, with conventional or waterjet propulsion systems.
Tampa Bay Pilots selected an unpainted launch to reduce maintenance, and forward leaning windows to improve visibility and reduce nighttime glare.