G l a d d i n g - H e a r n Delivers Pilot Boat Huron Belle

The second boat in a new class of pilot launches has been delivered to the Lakes Pilots of Port Huron, Mich, by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding Corporation of Somerset, Mass.

The Pilot Association's Captains Greene and MacDermid made the 1,000-mile delivery trip from Somerset to Port Huron, traveling down the Atlantic Coast to the Hudson River, up the river to the New York State Barge Canal, and finally into the Great Lakes.

The 50-foot single-screw Huron Belle (shown above) has a high deadrise or " d e e p - V " planing hull designed by C. Raymond Hunt Associates of Boston, Mass.

The boat combines a top speed of 20 knots, with the strength of steel construction for demanding pilot work.

For Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, the Huron Belle is the 28th pilot boat the yard has developed in its 25 years of operation. Three more boats, coupling the Hunt hulls with the yard's expertise in pilot boat design, are now under construction — two 55-foot aluminum boats for the Charleston, S.C. Pilots, and a steel 50- footer for the Tampa Bay Pilots.

The lead boat in the class, the t w i n - s c r e w Delaware, was launched last spring, and has averaged 100 running hours a week in all weather for the Pilots Association of the Bay and River Delaware. The Delaware was the first joint venture between Hunt Associates and Gladding-Hearn.

It was to develop a faster boat to meet the new requirements of the Delaware Pilots when they moved ashore for their 165-foot station vessel, the station vessel pilot boat Philadelphia. Now with a shore-based operation and a run of 6 to 10 miles, the pilots felt a faster boat was needed, but it had to lie just as seaworthy as their older, slower displacement launches. At the pilots' urging, Gladding-Hearn and Hunt combined their talents to produce this entirely new class of reliable, comfortable, and fast pilot boats.

The Huron Belle, like the Delaware, takes advantage of the Hunt high deadrise hull to get comfortable, dry upwind performance in rough water, and for steady running in a following sea.

With its higher speeds, the boat can keep pace with the modern, faster merchant ships, substantially r e d u c i n g commuting time to and from station.

"With our old boat, it took us 40 minutes to make the 8-mile run between our station and our normal boarding areas. The Huron Belle makes it in 20 minutes," said Captain Greene.

The Huron Belle has a 16-foot beam and a 4.5-foot draft. The steel hull and decks are topped w i t h an unpainted aluminum deckhouse, positioned well aft for comfort at sea and good visibility during boarding maneuvers.

Powered by a t u r b o c h a r g ed 12V-71 Detroit Diesel, the boat has 300-gallons fuel capacity and a top speed of 20 knots.

Seating for four passengers is provided on raised platforms in the deckhouse to increase visibility.

An adjustable helmsman's seat is located on centerline, aft of a vertically mounted stainless "destroyer" wheel. A bunk is located aft of the passenger seats.

The Huron Belle, like other pilot vessels developed by Gladding- Hearn, has several special features for its rigorous daily use.

Fixed Lexan cabin top deadlights and floodlights give complete visibility for day and night operations.

Forward windows in the deckhouse are equipped with defrosters and wipers. A hot water heating system, run off the engine, warms the deckhouse when the boat is underway. Electrical 110 V convectors provide heat for the deckhouse and engine room at dockside. Engine water is also circulated through a system under the decks to keep them icefree during the winter.

To minimize damage from ships alongside in rough weather, the deckhouse is located well inboard.

Fendering of heavy "D" section rubber runs along the sheer. Aluminum and stainless-steel handrails are also inboard, leaving wide side decks. A section of rail across the transom is removable for the occasional stern docking or for emergencies, when a stretcher bearing injured can be transferred to the Huron Belle.

Principal particulars of the Huron Belle are: LOA, 50 feet, LWL, 45 feet, beam, 16 feet, draft 5 feet, with a displacement of 46,000 pounds; power, s i n g l e D e t r o it Diesel 12V71 TI; horsepower/ rpm, 550/2,100; reduction, 2:1/ Twin Disc 514; top speed, 20 knots; service speed, 19 knots; fuel capacity, 300 gallons; construction, welded steel hull and decks, aluminum deckhouse; propeller, 34-inch-diameter x 30-inch pitch four-blade NIBRAL Tetradyne; propeller shaft, ARMCO stainless steel, 3-inch diameter; controls, Morse single lever with 43c cables; radar, Decca 060; radio, Modar VHF; depth sounder, Data-marine digital; bilge pumps, l ^ - i n c h Jabsco and Edson; anchor, 40 pounds, D a n f o r t h; s e a r c h l i g h t , Perko; navigation lights, Perko; and fendering, 4- inch and 6-inch " D " section rubber by Johnson Rubber.

Other stories from January 1980 issue


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