Nichols Bros. Delivers First 3 Of 6 Ferries For Puerto Rico

Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Inc., Whidbey Island, Wash., first entered the high-speed catamaran market in the early 1980s with the delivery of the 210-passenger M/V Klondike. Last year, the firm delivered the first wave piercer catamaran, the Nantucket Spray, built in the U.S. based on an International Catamarans design. Now, Nichols Brothers has entered the small catamaran passenger ferry market with the delivery of the first three of six new 75-foot vessels for the Puerto Rican Government.

Dubbed the "Nichols Mosquito Fleet," the six 167-passenger catamarans will each have an overall length of 75 feet 5 inches, beam of 29 feet 4 inches and draft of 5 feet.

Each will be propelled by a pair of Detroit Diesel model 12V71 diesel engines, totaling 930 hp, fitted to Osborne five-bladed propellers via Capitol Gears and shafting. The cats will have a full load speed of 22 knots and a normal speed of 28 knots.

The six ferries, which bear the names Martin Pena, Amelia, Covadonga, San Geronimo, Viejo San Juan, and Cristobal Colon, are highly efficient in fuel, maintenance and crew costs. With most of the large coastal cities experiencing traumatic traffic impaction, the trend toward alternate movement of commuters opens new markets for the smaller passenger-only ferries.

"We introduced the Incat highspeed catamaran concept to the U.S. in 1984 which had a major impact on modern marine passenger service," said Matt Nichols, president of Nichols Brothers. "We feel our 'Mosquito Fleet' extension of this proven design will now help solve many problems of operators and government traffic departments faced with fast and efficient movement of medium and smaller passenger loads." For free literature detailing the boatbuilding services of Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Circle 60 on Reader Service Card

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 43,  May 1990

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First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.