Having recently signed a new 10-year contract with the National Park Service (NPS) for passenger service between Key West, Fla., and the Dry Tortugas National Park, Massachusetts-based Yankee Fleet has ordered a new 250-passenger, high-speed catamaran from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, the Duclos Corporation. The new vessel will replace the ferry operator’s interim vessel, Yankee Freedom II, which the shipyard built in 1999. Delivery is planned for 2011.
The new, larger vessel, designed by Incat-Crowther, closely resembles the Yankee Freedom II in order to retain the strong brand presence Yankee Fleet has established with tourists to the national park, said company officials. The all-aluminum catamaran measures 110 feet (33.5m) long, 30.6’ (9.3m) at the beam, and will draw 7 feet (2m). It will be powered by a pair of Caterpillar 3512C, EPA Tier 2-approved diesel engines, each delivering 1650 Bhp at 1800 rpm and turning Ni-Br-Al propellers. The twin gearboxes will be Twin Disc model MGX6848SC Quick Shift. The ferry will be equipped with two Caterpillar 58 kW generators, and a Vosper/MDI active interceptor, motion-control system to reduce the vessel’s motion in rough seas. Top speed will be over 28 knots, with a deadweight of 27 tonnes.
The vessel design also includes many of the “Green” features required by the NPS, such as zero discharge, an oil boom on board, and energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the vessel. Additionally, there will be a high-efficiency HVAC system augmented by the engines’ waste heat, solar-charged emergency batteries, metal-free bottom paint, and zero-VOC vinyl marine film instead of paint on the exterior.
Accommodations include 142 Beurteaux seats and 24 tables, a snack bar, and four heads in the main cabin. The upper cabin will feature a snack bar and seating and tables for 56 passengers, and an additional 54 exterior seats on the aft deck. A 120,000 Btu HVAC system will heat and cool the cabins and wheelhouse. Interior sound levels will be about 70 decibels.