November 12, 2020 − The Associated Federal Pilots in Metaire, LA, has ordered a new Chesapeake Class pilot boat from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation. The pilots’ first launch, built by the Mass.-based shipyard, is scheduled for delivery in July.
Since the Chesapeake Class pilot boat was introduced by the shipyard in 2003, 21 have been delivered to 11 pilot associations throughout the United States.
With a deep-V hull designed by Ray Hunt Design, the new all-aluminum launch measures 52.6’ overall, with a 16.8’ beam and a 3.10’ draft. Powered by twin Volvo Penta D-16, EPA Tier 3-certified diesel engines, each producing 641 Bhp at 1800 rpm; the vessel’s top speed is expected to reach over 25 knots. A Humphree interceptor trim control system, with its Automatic Trim Optimization, will be installed at the transom.
The engines will turn 5-blade Bruntons NiBrAl propellers via ZF500-1-A gear boxes. The launch will be equipped with a 9kW Northern Lights genset.
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. Ladders on the sides of 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.