The Tampa Bay pilot association has ordered its second Chesapeake Class launch and the first in a new generation of Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding’s popular, smaller pilot boats. Delivery is scheduled for 2015.
Since the Chesapeake Class pilot boat was introduced by the Somerset, Mass., shipyard in 2003, 15 have been delivered to pilot associations throughout the United States. According to shipyard officials, the latest improvements incorporate the performance benefits of Volvo Penta’s IPS 2 pod system. “The IPS 2 system was created to improve the performance and the arrangement of planning hulls like our pilot boats. This new generation of Chesapeake launches, equipped with the IPS 2 pods, gives pilots what they have been asking for: higher speed, lower fuel consumption, and more comfort,” said Peter Duclos, the shipyard’s president.
With a deep-V hull designed by C. Raymond Hunt & Associates, the all-aluminum pilot boat measures 52.7 feet overall, with a 16.8-foot beam and a 4.5-foot draft. It will be powered by twin Volvo Penta D11-503, six cylinder, EPA Tier 3 diesel engines, each producing 503 Bhp at 2250 rpm. Each engine is connected to a Volvo Penta IPS propulsion pod, which is fitted with dual forward-facing, counter-rotating propellers and integrated exhaust system, and Volvo Penta’s integrated EPS electronic steering and control system.
The EPS control system and three-axis joystick will increase the boat’s overall maneuverability alongside a ship and when docking, explained Duclos.
The shipyard’s goals of optimizing fuel economy, vessel handling and comfort of the Chesapeake Class pilot boats are also behind installation of a Humphree Interceptor trim-control system. In addition to Humphree’s Automatic Trim Optimization System, the boat will be outfitted with the company’s Coordinated Turn Optimization System (CTOS) integrated with the Volvo Penta IPS pods. “The automatic trim-control system, which adjusts the running trim for a given speed, will give the pilots faster acceleration and improved comfort, while conserving fuel.
Northern Lights generator, with 9kW of output, will provide electricity. The vessel’s top speed is to reach 27 knots, said shipyard officials.
Key design changes to the Chesapeake Class include positioning the wheelhouse aft of amidships to improve r comfort and provide for a larger foredeck. With the pods close-coupled to the engines, the engine room is located well aft of the wheelhouse with easy access to machinery through a deck hatch.
This new generation of pilot boats can also accept a gyro-stabilization system, designed to reduce vessel roll.
The wheelhouse, with forward-leaning windows, is outfitted with five Stidd seats and a settee and will be cooled by two 16,000 Btu air-conditioning units. The forecastle, with a 12,000 Btu AC unit, is designed to include one berth and an enclosed head.
Outside of the wheelhouse are wide side-decks and boarding platforms, port and starboard, on the foredeck. At the transom is a winch-operated, rotating davit over a recessed platform for pilot rescues operations.