JULY 5, 2012 — Rhode Island Fast Ferry has christened the $6 million fast ferry Ava Pearl. Today it sailed on its maiden voyage from Quonset Point, R.I., to Martha's Vineyard.
Built by Gladding-Hearn at its Somerset, Mass., shipyard, and designed by Incat Crowther, the 150 passenger vessel replaces the 400 passenger Millennium, delivered by Gladding Hearn in 1998.
Designed to accommodate lighter passenger loads than the Millennium, the new ferry is smaller overall, lighter, and, unlike the waterjet propelled Millennium, is driven by propellers, resulting in significant fuel saving during off-peak times.
Ava Pearl is an all-aluminum catamaran measuring 110 ft overall by 30.6 ft at the beam and will drawing 7 ft. It is powered by twin MTU 12V4000M53 EPA Tier 2-approved diesel engines, each delivering 1,851 bhp at 1,800 rpm and turning ZF Marine Ni-Br-Al propellers. The twin gearboxes are ZF Marine model 5055 units with "Super Shift" feature. The ferry is equipped with two Cummins/Onan 55 kW generators.
The vessel features Incat Crowther's proprietary "S" bow shape, designed to provide excellent seakeepinsg, directional stability and high tolerance to shifts in trim and displacement. In addition, a large Naiad Dynamics active trim-tab ride-control system and high freeboard add to the ferry's seakeeping ability and passenger comfort.
Top speed is over 30 knots in moderate seas, with a dead-weight of 24 tonnes.
Interior accommodations include Beurteaux seats and tables for 130 passengers in the main cabin, along with a snack bar, two restrooms, and five flat-screen TV monitors. There is a luggage area forward and space for bicycles on the aft deck. Outdoor seating will be provided on the aft and forward decks. The upper deck will feature protected outdoor seating for 44 passengers and additional seating on the exposed aft deck for 32 passengers. A 180,000 Btu HVAC system heats and cools the main cabin and wheelhouse.