Gladding-Hearn Delivers New Generation Pilot Boat to Tampa Bay Pilots

SOMERSET, Mass. – October 13, 2015 – The Tampa Bay pilot association has taken delivery of its second Chesapeake Class launch and the first in a new generation of Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding’s popular, mid-size pilot boats.

Since the Chesapeake Class pilot boat was introduced by the Somerset, Mass., shipyard in 2003, 15 have been delivered to pilot associations throughout the United States. According to shipyard officials, the latest improvements incorporate the performance benefits of Volvo Penta’s IPS 2 pod system. “The IPS 2 system was created to improve the performance and the arrangement of planning hulls like our pilot boats. This new generation of Chesapeake launches, named Chesapeake Class MKII, is equipped with the IPS 2 pods, which provide what pilots have been asking for: higher speeds, lower fuel consumption, and more comfort,” said Peter Duclos, the shipyard’s president.

With a deep-V hull designed by C. Raymond Hunt & Associates, the all-aluminum pilot boat measures 52.7 feet overall, with a 16.8-foot beam and a 4.5-foot draft. It is powered by twin Volvo Penta D11, six cylinder, EPA Tier 3 diesel engines, each producing 503 Bhp at 2250 rpm. Each engine is connected to a Volvo Penta IPS propulsion pod, which is fitted with dual forward-facing, counter-rotating propellers and integrated exhaust system, and Volvo Penta’s integrated EPS electronic steering and control system.

The EPS control system and three-axis joystick increases the boat’s overall maneuverability alongside a ship and when docking, explained Duclos.

The financial incentive for the Tampa Bay pilots to optimize fuel economy, vessel handling and comfort led the shipyard to install a Humphree Interceptor automatic trim- optimization syetm. “The combination of the Volvo Penta IPS system and the Humphree interceptors  gives the pilots higher speeds and improved comfort, while burning  25 percent less fuel than similar  Chesapeake Class launches,” said Duclos.

A Northern Lights generator, with 9kW of output, provides electricity. The vessel’s top speed is 28 knots, said shipyard officials.

Key design changes to the Chesapeake Class MKII include positioning the wheelhouse aft of amidships to improve comfort and provide for a larger foredeck. With the pods close-coupled to the engines, the engine room is located well aft of the wheelhouse with easy access to machinery through a deck hatch.

This new generation of pilot boats is also designed to accept a gyro-stabilization system, designed to reduce vessel roll.

The wheelhouse, with forward-leaning windows, is outfitted with five Stidd seats and a settee and cooled by two 16,000 Btu air-conditioning units. The forecastle, with a 12,000 Btu AC unit, has one berth and an enclosed head.

Outside of the wheelhouse are wide side-decks and boarding platforms, port and starboard, on the foredeck. At the transom is a winch-operated, rotating davit over a recessed platform for pilot rescues operations.