Gladding-Hearn to build second fast ferry for Rhode Island

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The following is text of a news release from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding:

(SOMERSET, Mass.) — Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corp., has begun construction of a second high-speed passenger ferry for Rhode Island Fast Ferry Inc., to open a new seasonal route between Quonset Point, R.I., and Block Island. Delivery is scheduled for 2019. Ava Pearl, the operator’s first high-speed catamaran built by the Somerset, Mass., shipyard in 2012, provides passenger service to the island of Martha’s Vineyard off of Cape Cod.
The new 320-passenger, all-aluminum catamaran measures 108.79 feet overall, 31.5 feet at the beam, and draws 6 feet. It will be powered by twin MTU-12V4000M64 diesel engines, each delivering 1,875 hp at 1,800 rpm. The engines turn a pair of five-blade nibral propellers through ZF 5055 gearboxes. The ferry will be equipped with a pair of 55-kW generators and a VT/MDI hydraulic trim tab motion-control system. Top speed will be 29 knots.
The vessel features the designer’s “S” bow hulls, which, according to the builder, have proved to provide excellent seakeeping, directional stability and a high tolerance to shifts in trim and displacement.
Entrance into the boat is through the port and starboard side doors. With more than twice the passenger capacity of Ava Pearl, the new ferry’s seating arrangement reflects a blend of both interior and exterior comfort during the summer season. Equipped throughout with Beurteaux seats and tables, the main cabin has seating for 142 passengers, a snack bar and four heads. A 180,000-BTU HVAC system will heat and cool the main cabin and wheelhouse on the second deck. The second deck features partially protected outdoor seating for 124 passengers. The open third deck, with seating for 18 passengers, has ample standing room for additional passengers.
Space for luggage storage is on the fore and aft decks. The vessel is equipped with an interior and exterior public address system and a video entertainment system in the main cabin.

By Professional Mariner Staff