Old Dominion University's Educational Foundation in Norfolk, Va. has ordered a new research vessel from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding of Somerset. Mass. The new vessel, which will be designed by Roger Long Marine Architecture of Portland, Maine, has a modified-V aluminum hull, which measures 55 ft. (16.7 m) with a 17 ft. (5.1 m) beam. Its five ft. (1.5 m) draft allows the vessel to perform work in the shallow water near the shores of the Virginia coastline
. Propelled by two diesel engines, each rated at 700 bhp, the vessel's two Hall & Stavaert five-bladed bronze propellers are turned through ZF 350A reverse-reduction gears. With a top speed of 22 knots, the engines, when operated at an 18-knot cruising speed, will burn approximately 50 gph, yielding a range of more than 600 miles. Under the vessel's raised foredeck are a small laboratory, bunks, galley and head for eight research scientists and crew. Also onboard are a variety of systems that can be used to study plankton, temperature, salinity and nutrients.