Rhode Island Fast Ferry takes delivery of second Gladding-Hearn cat

Written by Nick Blenkey
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320 passenger cat has 29 knot top speed

Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation, Somerset, Mass. has delivered a second high-speed passenger ferry for Rhode Island Fast Ferry, Inc. It will enter service between Quonset Point, R.I., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., alongside Ava Pearl, the operator’s first Gladding-Hearn high-speed catamaran, delivered in 2012.

The new 320-passenger, Incat Crowther design, all-aluminum catamaran, Julia Leigh, measures 113.5 feet (34.4 m) overall, 32.4 feet (9.9 m) at the beam, and draws six feet (1.9 m). It is powered by twin MTU-12V4000M64 Tier III diesel engines, each delivering 1,875 bhp at 1,800 rpm. The engines turn a pair of five-blade Brunton Ni-Br-Al propellers through ZF 5055 gearboxes. The ferry is equipped with a Naiad Dynamics hydraulic trim-tab motion-control system. Electricity is supplied by a pair of 55 kW RA Mitchell generators. Top speed is 29 knots.

The vessel features the designer’s “S” bow hulls, which, according to the shipbuilder, have proved to provide excellent seakeeping, directional stability and a high tolerance to shifts in trim and displacement.

Entrance into the boat is through the port and starboard side doors. With seating for 290 passengers on three decks, the Julia Leigh has more than twice the passenger capacity than the Ava Pearl.

The seating arrangement reflects a blend of both interior and exterior comfort during the summer season. Equipped throughout with Beurteaux seats and tables, the main cabin has generous seating for 142 passengers, a snack bar and three heads.

A 180,000 Btu HVAC system will heat and cool the main cabin and the wheelhouse on the second deck. The second deck features partially-protected outdoor seating for 130 passengers. The open third deck, with seating for 18 passengers, has ample standing room for an additional 42 passengers.

Space for luggage storage is provided on the fore and aft decks. The vessel is equipped with an interior and exterior public address system and a video entertainment system in the main cabin.

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