Gladding-Hearn Delivers New High-Speed Ferry to Rhode Island Fast Ferry.
Rhode Island Fast Ferry Co. has taken delivery of a new high-speed passenger ferry from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation, to operate between Quonset Point, Rhode Island and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Designed by Incat Crowther, the new 150-passenger ferry, Ava Pearl, serves the same 52-mile route as the operator’s other 400-passenger fast ferry, Millennium, built by the Mass.-based shipyard in 1998. However, the new vessel has been designed to accommodate lighter passenger loads, is smaller overall, lighter, and driven by propellers, resulting in significant fuel saving during off-peak times.
The all-aluminum catamaran measures 110 feet (34m) overall, 30.6 feet (9.6m) at the beam, and draws seven feet (2m). It is powered by twin continuously-rated MTU 12V4000M53 EPA Tier 2-approved diesel engines, each delivering 1851 Bhp at 1800 rpm and turning ZF Marine Ni-Br-Al propellers. The twin gearboxes are ZF Marine model 5055 with “Super Shift” feature. The ferry is equipped with two Cummins/Onan 55 kW generators.
The vessel features Incat Crowther’s proprietary “S” bow shape, which, according to the builder, provides excellent seakeeping, directional stability and high tolerance to shifts in trim and displacement. In addition, a large Naiad Dynamics active trim-tab ride-control system and high freeboard further improve the ferry’s seakeeping ability and passenger comfort. Top speed is over 30 knots in moderate seas, with a dead-weight of 24 tonnes.
Interior accommodations include Beurteaux seats and tables for 130 passengers in the main cabin, along with a snack bar, two restrooms, and five flat-screen TV monitors. There is a luggage area forward and space for bicycles on the aft deck. Outdoor seating is on the aft and forward decks. The upper deck features protected outdoor seating for 44 passengers and additional seating on the exposed aft deck for 32 passengers. A 180,000 Btu HVAC system heats and cools the main cabin and wheelhouse.