Derecktor Shipyards of Mamaroneck, N.Y., has started construction of a 64-foot aluminum catamaran research vessel. Ordered by the University of Vermont for its Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources, it will be based at the Rubenstein Science Ecosystems Laboratory on Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vt.
Consistent with the Rubenstein School’s strong commitment to the environment and sustainability, it will be powered by a BAE hybrid propulsion system.
The vessel is being built to a design by Southampton, U.K., based Chartwell Marine and has an advanced new catamaran hull form optimized via Computational Flow Dynamics modeling to minimize resistance at low speeds, accommodate battery storage, and ensure maximum stability.
Powered by two Cummins QSB 6.7-meter, 306 hp diesel engines and two BAE AC traction motors, the cat will be capable of all-electric operation for trips less than two hours in duration, which represent 60% of all current UVM voyages.
In addition to lowering emissions, the hybrid solution will reduced engine maintenance costs, as diesel usage will fall by 55%. Low-speed maneuverability will be enhanced and students will benefit from a quieter operating platform with less vibration for students.
The hybrid will be a less intrusive vessel for studying marine life.Its equipment will include a new winch system, developed by InterOcean Systems, in partnership with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. To reduce drivetrain losses, the winches are directly driven to reduce drivetrain losses and can be operated using a single wireless joystick.
The University envisions three main uses for the vessel: a mobile ‘classroom’ for undergraduate field trips; a platform for graduate students researching the Lake Champlain environment; and a way for engineering students to study the future of hybrid vessel design.
As part of the design process, Chartwell Marine provided services including concept design, preliminary design, technical specification drafting, and technical auditing of the shipyard tender process. Chartwell continues to provide production information and support to Derecktor Shipyards, where the build began in October 2020, with completion set for April 2022.
“Derecktor Shipyards has become an industry leader in the development and construction of hybrid vessels, and this will be our fourth such build,” said Justin Beard, Marketing and Sales Development Manager, Derecktor Shipyards. “While the concept is similar to previous builds, this particular vessel includes berth space, as well as more dedicated space for research. The finished product will be a truly unique research vessel built to foster the education of future scientists and engineers.”