Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation, Somerset, Mass., has booked an order from the Metairie, La., based Associated Federal Pilots for a Chesapeake class pilot launch, scheduled for delivery in July 2021.
With a deep-V hull designed by Ray Hunt Design, the new all-aluminum launch measures 52.6 feet overall, with a 16.8-foot beam and a 3.10-foot draft. Powered by twin Volvo Penta D-16, EPA Tier 3-certified diesel engines, each producing 641 bhp at 1,800 rpm; the vessel’s top speed is expected to reach over 26 knots.
The engines will turn five-bladed Bruntons NiBrAl propellers via ZF500-1-A gearboxes. The launch will be equipped with a 9 kW Northern Lights genset.
A Humphree interceptor trim control system, with i automatic trim optimization, will be installed at the transom.
The vessel’s wheelhouse, with a small trunk, is being installed amidships on a flush deck. With forward-leaning front windows and the helm station on center, the wheelhouse will be outfitted with six Llebroc pilot seats, a bench seat behind them, and built-in cabinetry. The forecastle will include a split upholstered settee/bunk, porta-potty, shelving and storage space for safety gear. The interior will be cooled by two 16,000 BTU reverse-cycle HVAC units.
Outside of the wheelhouse are wide side-decks and two raised boarding platforms on the bow. A ladder aft on the wheelhouse will lead to hinged boarding platforms on the roof. A control station will be located near the stepped transom, along with a winch-operated rotating davit system over a recessed platform, for pilot rescue operations.
Since the Chesapeake Class pilot boat was introduced by the shipyard in 2003, 21 have been delivered to 12 pilot associations throughout the United States.