Gladding-Hearn delivers new high-speed ferry for service to Dry Tortugas


SOMERSET, Mass. ─ November 19, 2012 ─ Massachusetts-based Yankee Fleet has taken delivery of a new 250-passenger, high-speed catamaran from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation. The new Yankee Freedom III, which will make the daily 70-mile run between Key West, Fla., and the Dry Tortugas National Park under a 10-year contract with the National Park Service, replaces the ferry operator’s interim vessel, Yankee Freedom II, which the shipyard built in 1999.

The new, larger vessel, designed by Incat-Crowther, closely resembles the Yankee Freedom II in order to retain the strong brand presence Yankee Fleet has established with tourists to the national park, said company officials. The all-aluminum catamaran measures 110 feet long (33.5m), 30.6 feet (9.3m) at the beam, and draws 7 feet (2m). It is powered by a pair of Caterpillar 3512C, EPA Tier 2-approved diesel engines, each delivering 1650 Bhp at 1800 rpm and turning Bruntons propellers. The twin gearboxes are Twin Disc model MGX6848SC Quick Shift. The ferry is equipped with two Caterpillar 58 kW generators, and a Vosper/MDI active interceptor, motion-control system to reduce the vessel’s motion in rough seas. Top speed is more than 28 knots, carrying a deadweight of 27 tonnes.

The vessel design also includes many of the “Green” features required by the National Park Service, such as zero discharge, an oil boom on board, and energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the vessel. Additionally, there is a high-efficiency HVAC system, solar-charged emergency batteries, metal-free bottom paint, zero-VOC vinyl marine film instead of paint on the exterior, and a 400 gallon per day water maker.

Accommodations include 142 Beurteaux seats and 24 tables, a snack bar, and four heads in the main cabin. The upper cabin features a wet bar and seating and tables for 56 passengers, and an additional 54 exterior seats on the aft deck. A 120,000 Btu HVAC system heats and cools the cabins and wheelhouse. Interior sound levels are about 70 decibels.

For more information, contact Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, The Duclos Corp., One Riverside Ave., Somerset, MA 02726.


By Professional Mariner Staff