Gladding-Hearn delivers high-speed ferry for Boston service


The following is the text of a news release from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA):

(BOSTON) — On Wednesday, the MBTA celebrated the upcoming addition of its new catamaran ferry, Champion, with a christening ceremony by MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramirez, with Ramirez also meeting with the new vessel’s crew and MBTA ferry management staff.

“The introduction of the Champion and the upcoming introduction of the second brand new catamaran, the Glory, mark smart investments in Greater Boston water transportation,” said Ramirez. “The MBTA is pleased to welcome them into the fleet.”

Built by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Champion is a high-speed catamaran ferry with a 150-passenger capacity supporting the MBTA’s commuter boat service between the communities of Hull, Hingham, and Logan Airport in East Boston and Long Wharf in Boston. Gladding-Hearn also constructed the MBTA’s current high-speed ferries, Lightning and Flying Cloud, in 1996 and is a leader in constructing comfortable, fast vessels known for their speed and reliability. In addition to improving service reliability, the procurement of Champion allows the MBTA to rely on its own vessels while also providing a spare ferry when MBTA-owned boats are periodically taken out of service for maintenance and Coast Guard inspections.

Including flat-screen passenger information systems,Champion also features energy-efficient LED lighting, carpeted interior decks, tables and seating to accommodate 110 passengers and ADA wheelchair positions, a concession stand, and luggage racks.

Champion is named to honor the legacy of master shipbuilder Donald McKay’s Champion of the Seas clipper, which set a record for the fastest day’s run in 24 hours in 1854. With the original Champion of the Seas designed in East Boston, the MBTA’s new Champion honors this idea as the new ferry will service the same community. McKay also designed clippers named Flying Cloud and Lightning, which have also been used to name MBTA vessels. A second new catamaran ferry will be coming into service at the end of the year named Glory to continue honoring McKay’s legacy and the design of his Glory of the Seas clipper. The cost of each new vessel is approximately $5.7 million supported with federal funds.

For more information on MBTA commuter boats and ferries, visit

By Professional Mariner Staff