Fincantieri Bay completes new passenger/vehicle ferry

Written by Marine Log Staff
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Hand-over ceremony was marked by face masks and social distancing

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, Wis., has completed a new year-round passenger/vehicle ferry for Wisconsin’s Washington Island Ferry Line.

The new ferry, named Madonna, measures 124 feet in length and 40 feet in beam and has a 9-foot draft. The ferry has a capacity for up to 28 vehicles and 150 passengers. This is the largest vessel in the Washington Island Ferry Fleet, allowing crews to operate a spacious second ferry with year-round capabilities.

“We are very happy to have our latest ferry, completed in less than one year, ready to sail this summer within our fleet,” says Washington Island Ferry Line President Hoyt Purinton. “The work that was completed within our Door County community has impressed us; and we are happy with our continued partnership with Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. We look forward to operating the Madonna between the tip of the Door Peninsula and Washington Island’s Detroit Harbor for many years to come.”

The Madonna joins four other vessels in the Washington Island Fleet, the Arni J. Richter, the Eyrarbakki, the Robert Noble, and the Washington.

“This is the third build we have completed for Washington Island Ferry Line,” says Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s Vice President and General Manager Todd Thayse. “All current ferry vessels were built in Sturgeon Bay—two by Peterson Builders Inc.—and three by the talented women and men here at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. The work done on the new ferry has exemplified our quality and standards, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Our workforce was able to stay on schedule for an on-time delivery, which is commendable during this challenging time.”

“Although we are all going through a challenging time during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are excited about the newest expansion to our fleet, which will enhance our service to the island community for generations to come.” Purinton said. “With a similar design to the Arni J. Richter, which Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding built for us in 2003, the Madonna allows us to run a second, year-round ferry with icebreaking capabilities.”

Twin CAT-C32 main engines provide the ferry with 1,600 maximum horsepower while its stainless propellers and shafts (and robust framing) make it ice-capable. In addition to its winter operational capabilities, the ferry offers added vehicle and passenger capacity throughout the year. Outdoor, upper deck seating and an indoor, climate-controlled cabin are available to passengers, along with restrooms on two decks. Bow and stern ramps with wide gates allow for easy vehicle loading. The Madonna also has an overhead of 15 feet, sufficient to transport high-clearance specialty equipment and large oversized loads as needed.

Washington Island, Wis., is a 22-square-mile island and home to just over 700 residents. Homeport for the Ferry Line is Detroit Harbor, located 4.5 miles from the tip of the Door Peninsula.

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