Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation, has delivered a new “Chesapeake” class pilot boat to the Delaware pilots
. The shipyard’s new class of pilot boats has also been built for the Virginia, Maryland, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, and Portland, Maine pilots.
According to Winn Willard at C. Raymond Hunt Associates, the designer, the increasing popularity of the Chesapeake class
results from some subtle changes to the firm’s typical pilot boat design. The boat is six inches longer and wider on deck. There is also an additional six inches of freeboard. The new class is also suitable for a variety of engine options.
The all-aluminum “Brandywine,” named after the first pilot boat built for the Delaware pilots
by Gladding-Hearn in 1957, measures 52.5 feet overall, with a 17-foot beam and 4.8 foot draft, and has a top speed of 26 knots. The new launch is powered by twin Daewoo V180TIM, 10-cylinder, diesel engines, each delivering 640 bhp at 2100 rpm, with ZF 350A gears. The engines turn 5-blade Hall & Stavert bronze propellers.
The Delaware pilots chose an unpainted launch to reduce maintenance. The boat is equipped with heated glass in the windows, as well as heated handrails and decks to prevent ice build-up in the winter. It has wide side-decks, and side and rear doors. At the transom are throttle and steering controls, and a winch-operated U-frame over a recessed platform for pilot rescue operations.
The heated wheelhouse and forecastle is outfitted with Stidd reclining seats, and bunks. Interior sound levels are 78 dba.