Gladding-Hearn delivers stabilizing gyro boat to Texas pilots

(SOMERSET, Mass.) – The Galveston-Texas City Pilots has taken delivery of its fourth pilot boat, Texas City, from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corp. The new launch is equipped with a Seakeeper 30HD stabilizing gyro, which, according to shipyard officials, will reduce up to 80 percent the vessel’s roll.

With a length overall of 73.2 feet, beam of 23.3 feet and draft of 5.9 feet, the all-aluminum, high-speed pilot boat features the Ray Hunt Design deep-V hull. It is powered by three Volvo Penta D13 EPA Tier 3 marine diesel engines, each delivering 800 hp at 2,300 rpm, and integral to the engines’ triple IPS Pod 1050 system.

Gladding-Hearn photo

Top speed is over 33 knots and the vessel runs at 30 knots at 80 percent power. The boat will burn 30 percent less fuel than the pilots’ existing 70-foot pilot boats at the same speed, said Peter Duclos, the shipyard’s co-president.

Humphree interceptors, with active ride control and coordinated turn and automatic trim optimization, are installed at the transom to reduce pitch and roll at speed above 15 knots.

“The additional stabilizing gyro reduces roll at all speeds and will improve safety and reduce fatigue, especially while standing by for ships offshore and boarding pilots in a sloppy anchorage,” said Duclos.

The wheelhouse, mounted to the flush deck aft of amidships, features a center-line helm station, with a twin-lever control head and a three-axis maneuvering joystick. The wheelhouse has heated forward and side windows, six Norsap 1500 shock-mitigating seats and a settee with table. Two Phasor 21-kW generators produce electricity.

The forecastle includes a stateroom with two berths, head, hanging locker, small galley and dinette. HVAC in the wheelhouse and forecastle is supplied by six self-contained, reverse-cycle air conditioning units totaling 80,000 BTUs. Interior sound levels at full power are under 75 dBA.

Outside the wheelhouse are wide side decks and a flush main deck. On the foredeck, aft of the wave break, are port and starboard boarding platforms. A Carlisle & Finch searchlight, with integrated NightFinder thermal camera, is located at the forward end of the wheelhouse roof.

A Harken TR-31 safety rail system has been installed on the wheelhouse handrails. A control station, with a three-axis maneuvering joystick, is at the transom, along with a winch-operated J-basket rescue system and recessed stairs and platform for pilot rescue operations.

– Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding

By Rich Miller