Marine Link
Saturday, November 18, 2017

‘Green’ Hybrid-powered Research Vessel Christened

September 30, 2014

  • The $2.7 million environmentally friendly research vessel, Spirit of the Sound (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk)
  • Spirit of the Sound (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk)
  • Principal donors for new research vessel that will conduct Marine Life Study cruises, Seal Spotting cruises and more for The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. From left: Cathy Hagadorn, educator; George Bauer, donor; Per Heidenreich, donor, State Senator Robert Duff; Carol Bauer, donor; Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling; and Astrid Heidenreich, donor. (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk)
  • New research vessel for The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk comes with an underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) equipped with cameras that will allow students to explore the bottom of Long Island Sound, shipwrecks in the Sound and more. Shown with Aquarium Educator Colin Thom. (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk)
  • R/V Spirit of the Sound christened by her godmother Astrid Heidenreich on Friday, September 26, 2014. She is assisted by boat build project manager Robert Kunkel, Amtech. (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk)
  • Spirit of the Sound (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk)
  • Spirit of the Sound (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk)
  • The $2.7 million environmentally friendly research vessel, Spirit of the Sound (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk) The $2.7 million environmentally friendly research vessel, Spirit of the Sound (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk)
  • Spirit of the Sound (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk) Spirit of the Sound (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk)
  • Principal donors for new research vessel that will conduct Marine Life Study cruises, Seal Spotting cruises and more for The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. From left: Cathy Hagadorn, educator; George Bauer, donor; Per Heidenreich, donor, State Senator Robert Duff; Carol Bauer, donor; Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling; and Astrid Heidenreich, donor. (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk) Principal donors for new research vessel that will conduct Marine Life Study cruises, Seal Spotting cruises and more for The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. From left: Cathy Hagadorn, educator; George Bauer, donor; Per Heidenreich, donor, State Senator Robert Duff; Carol Bauer, donor; Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling; and Astrid Heidenreich, donor. (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk)
  • New research vessel for The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk comes with an underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) equipped with cameras that will allow students to explore the bottom of Long Island Sound, shipwrecks in the Sound and more. Shown with Aquarium Educator Colin Thom. (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk) New research vessel for The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk comes with an underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) equipped with cameras that will allow students to explore the bottom of Long Island Sound, shipwrecks in the Sound and more. Shown with Aquarium Educator Colin Thom. (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk)
  • R/V Spirit of the Sound christened by her godmother Astrid Heidenreich on Friday, September 26, 2014. She is assisted by boat build project manager Robert Kunkel, Amtech. (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk) R/V Spirit of the Sound christened by her godmother Astrid Heidenreich on Friday, September 26, 2014. She is assisted by boat build project manager Robert Kunkel, Amtech. (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk)
  • Spirit of the Sound (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk) Spirit of the Sound (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk)
  • Spirit of the Sound (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk) Spirit of the Sound (Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk)

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk christened a larger, “greener” new research vessel on Friday, September 26 in preparation for launching a new era in examining, monitoring and teaching about Long Island Sound.

The $2.7 million environmentally friendly research vessel, Spirit of the Sound, was christened and officially named during a ceremony at the Aquarium dock. Breaking a bottle on her hull was godmother of the boat, Astrid Heidenreich of Greenwich.

The boat will reportedly be the first research vessel in the U.S. running on hybrid-electric propulsion. Upon her launch in December, she will run virtually silently on electric power for the Aquarium’s 2.5-hour public “study cruises” on Long Island Sound.

The 63-foot all-aluminum catamaran will replace the Aquarium’s 40-foot 34-year-old diesel-powered trawler, R/V Oceanic. The new boat will have a climate-controlled indoor classroom and an outdoor research space. With more room inside and out, the new research vessel doubles the Aquarium’s capacity for getting visitors out on the water – from 29 to 60 people per cruise.

R/V Spirit of the Sound’s hybrid-electric propulsion system will reduce fuel consumption by an estimated 75 percent. Running quietly on electric will be a benefit to wildlife, to other boaters and to the delivery of educational programs on board.

“By running on clean quiet power without emissions, The Maritime Aquarium will be practicing what we teach,” said President Jennifer Herring. “And, with the larger capacity, we expect to double the number of school children who can experience our programming out on Long Island Sound.”

Not just for students, the R/V Spirit of the Sound will be used for the Aquarium’s public study cruises as well. Initial public outings on the boat begin in mid-December with Seal Spotting Cruises, offered many weekends through mid-April. Even greater opportunities to experience the boat begin in May, with the Aquarium’s 2015 season of Marine Life Study Cruises, during which crabs, mollusks, squid and a wide variety of salt-water fish are brought up out of Long Island Sound for examination. These are offered on weekends in spring and fall, and daily in July and August.

Herring added that R/V Spirit of the Sound, when docked, gives the Aquarium an additional classroom space for on-site programs.

Major contributors toward the new boat include: George and Carol Bauer of Wilton; The TK Foundation of Nassau, Bahamas; and the Per and Astrid Heidenreich Family Foundation of Greenwich. Bank of America is official sponsor of the boat’s inaugural season.

Designed by Incat Crowther of Australia, Spirit of the Sound is being built in Mamaroneck, New York, at the Robert E. Derecktor Inc. shipyard, with construction managed and integrated by Alternative Marine Technologies (Amtech). Her hybrid-electric propulsion system was made by BAE Systems Inc., Corvus Energy and Northern Lights Hybrid Marine. 

Fundraising and planning was led by Per Heidenreich, founder of Norwalk-based Heidmar, Inc., one of the world’s leading commercial tanker operators. Committee member Robert Kunkel, president of Amtech, is serving as the Aquarium’s project manager for the boat’s construction.

Bill Tommins of Bank of America, the official sponsor of the boat’s inaugural season, said the R/V Spirit of the Sound will be a wonderful addition to the region’s educational resources. “The ‘floating classroom’ will expand opportunities for students and the public to explore local marine life and deepen appreciation for our great natural resource, Long Island Sound,” said Tommins, Southern Connecticut market president for Bank of America.

When Bank of America agreed to sponsor the inaugural season for The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk’s new research vessel, Aquarium officials cooked up a special plan. And part of that plan benefitted 10 students at Norwalk Community College.

A portion of Bank of America’s Aquarium sponsorship became scholarships for 10 students in NCC’s culinary arts program. And, at celebrations September 26 and 27 for the new boat, guests ate from menus planned and prepared by the NCC students. The menu included sushi, lobster bisque, a platter of roasted vegetables, spinach-and-feta phyllo rolls, a southwestern chicken salad in phyllo cups, grilled lime shrimp, fruit cups, crab cakes, mousse desserts and more. For two private events at the boat on Sept. 27, the NCC students plan to serve such fare as mini lobster rolls, tomato-basil soup, a smoked salmon platter, asparagus wrapped with prosciutto, shrimp ceviche, duck breast on crostini with apple, baked clams oreganata, chicken skewers with hoisin sauce, and mini blueberry cheesecakes.

Jennifer Herring, president of The Maritime Aquarium, thanked Bank of America for supporting the Aquarium as it moves closer to launching its revolutionary new research vessel, the R/V Spirit of the Sound.

“Bank of America has been an important supporter of our programs and exhibits, and we’re grateful to be partnered with them again in the inaugural phase of an exciting new future in marine education on Long Island Sound,” she said.

Herring called the suggestion of using some of the Bank of America gift for NCC scholarships “a creative win-win.”

“The idea benefits the Aquarium for two days but has an even greater, deeper effect on the futures of 10 young students,” Herring said. “This is just another example of the positive impact the Aquarium has on Norwalk and the local community, in a way that goes far beyond the role we play as a Connecticut family tourist attraction.”

Herring credited the idea to Per Heidenreich of Greenwich, who has steered the Aquarium through its complex new-boat project.  Heidenreich is founder of Norwalk-based Heidmar, Inc., one of the world’s leading commercial tanker operators. He chaired the planning committee for the Aquarium’s new $2.7 million boat and was one of its primary funders, through the Per and Astrid Heidenreich Family Foundation.

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