Capt. Jack Davies has skippered more boats than most, from small tugs to deep-sea ships, but still he maintains, “There is nothing that I would rather do than run boats and be involved in the marine industry.”
He admits to a penchant for motorcycles and anything else with an internal combustion engine that goes fast. The power of these vehicles is reflected in his new McIlwain-designed tug Renegade, which will operate out of Port McNeill, British Columbia, on northern Vancouver Island, docking gravel ships at a nearby quarry. The operating company is called Standard Towing Ltd.
Big and beamy with lots of black Schuyler fendering contrasting with a bright red 64.75-by-27-foot hull, this is a beefy boat.
Built to the ever-evolving Al McIlwain ship-docking design, the boat is similar to Davies’ tug Numas Warrior, which is also stationed at Port McNeill to assist gravel ships at a quarry. As an owner/operator with serious boat pride, Davies builds his boats to last. This one makes extensive use of stainless steel in heavy wear areas and has a sensibly low walk-through where mooring bollards are set in the bulwarks.
The 36-inch height of the bulwarks is designed to be low enough to make it comfortable to throw a line at waist-level from the deck. The hull of the new boat has half-inch steel throughout. Even the bulwarks are a half-inch with an additional half-inch doubler on the hull where the Schuyler looped rubber fendering has been mounted along the sheer strake and stern quarters. The bow also has rubber extending along the bow stem to 8 feet below the waterline.
Davies explained, “Sometimes a pilot will ask you to get right on the bow stem and push. You can’t always see or know how far below the waterline the bulbous bow is.”
Davies explained that the tug’s 27-foot beam provides great stability when working ships.
“Adding beam is a way to improve the stability. Once a deck edge submerges, you start lowering stability,” he said.
Stability is further enhanced by the hull’s 17-foot molded depth, of which about 13.5 feet is draft, leaving 3.5 feet of freeboard.
For handling ships, he has had a JonRie 200 series hawser winch installed on the bow. It is loaded with 520 feet of bright yellow 60-mm Dynex line supplied by Hampidjan’s Newfoundland-based distributor.
The JonRie winch is designed so that a render/recover option can be added at a later date. With wheelhouse controls, the winch has a 250-foot-per-minute rate of recovery and 175,000 pounds of braking power. More than enough for the tug’s estimated 25-ton bollard pull with additional power to cope with the forces that can be generated when turning a ship. The tug will work the ship’s hawser through a heavy walled 16-inch stainless-steel bow-mounted staple.
As an owner/operator, Davies has to maintain flexibility of application for his boat. To that end he has built enough strength into the aft deck to retrofit a towing winch should there be a change in his business plan from ship docking to coastal towing. As delivered from the shipyard, ABD Boats in North Vancouver, the tug is fitted with a simple towing bitt. Additional ballast tanks are built into the stern to provide weight equivalent to the absent towing winch.
Choice of engines for Renegade was also determined by the need for flexibility of application. Canadian regulations require that tugs of over 1,005 hp must carry an engineer. Many tugs in British Columbia are using a pair of Cummins KTA38-M engines that have been de-rated to just 500 hp at 1,600 rpm to stay under the cutoff for carrying an engineer.
However, with a simple adjustment of a governor switch, the engines can covert to 1,800 rpm and an 800-hp rating. If a towing job requires the higher rating, an owner can add an engineer to the crew and send the boat to work. In order to maintain versatility in work options for his new tug, Davies has chosen this engine.
The z-drives for the azimuthing stern drive (ASD) tug are a pair of HRP/ZF 5000 model turning 6-foot props in nozzles.
Accommodations are another area of flexibility. Davies has the boat chartered to work with his other tug, Numas Warrior, for ship docking. In this role it will operate as a two-person day boat. If he decides to take the boat over to round-the-clock coastal towing, accommodation is provided for up to six crewmembers.
At 148 gross tons, the boat is under the 150-ton limit in Canadian regulations for this class of vessel. The accommodation area, as the regulations require, is in a raised forecastle space that is just three steps down from the main deck. Roomy spaces for the galley on the port side and the mess to starboard can provide for up to six crewmembers. All accommodations are, in accordance with regulations, above the waterline, and are “full floating” from the hull for noise reduction.
Forward of the mess and galley are four large cabins. The aft two cabins are single-berth officer cabins, and the two forward cabins are double berth, with the top bunk folding out of the way when not in use. All cabins are well appointed and have their own sink and desk. The accommodations are also wired for television, Internet and telephone.
The hull and decking of the tug are all steel, while the pilothouse is fabricated from aluminum. The wheelhouse features huge windows above and forward for working ships and is equipped with a U-shaped control console. The wheelhouse has a built in nook, sink and coffee station, so that there is no need to leave the bridge for a quick trip to the galley.
There is also a topside command station with full controls, including a winch control. With the bulwarks and raised forecastle deck, visibility is restricted when you get close to a vessel with low freeboard, Davies explained. “It is fine when working a ship, but when coming alongside a buoy or other low object, the visibility from the top of the house is better. This will be the first z-drive on the B.C. coast with top controls.”