The boat will be built by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding of Somerset, Mass., for rugged inshore duty in the waters around Cape Cod. One mission will be to service the WHOI’s new weather observatory on the Martha’s Vineyard south shore.
The vessel will sleep six and accommodate 10 on day trips. Two 740-hp Detroit Diesel series-60 engines will give the boat a cruising speed of 20 knots. With a 350-mile range, the vessel will enable WHOI scientists to conduct research in New York Harbor and the Gulf of Maine. Occasionally, the boat will be used for two- to three-day missions.
Along with the vessel’s high speeds come seaworthiness and stability. Gladding-Hearn will build a 10,000-pound A-frame on the vessel’s stern. A Markey Com-5 winch will be used with the A-frame to handle coastal moorings and tripods. The vessel will also have a dive platform, dive locker and shower.
“The Institution needed a new generation of near-shore vessel for a new generation of measurement systems which require nimble, quick response, but also considerable muscle for deploying complex arrays,” the WHOI said.
Roger Long, the marine architect who designed the vessel, said stability and handling don’t have to be compromised to achieve high speeds.
“The compromises to get higher speeds mostly occur when you’re trying to get that last little bit of speed out of them. You really don’t have to give up very much,” Long said.
The WHOI’s new boat will be able to maximize its working efficiency by getting on station quickly. A 17-foot beam and an adequately sized rudder will allow control with minimal rolling at low speeds.
The vessel is to replace R/V Asterias in March 2004.