Gladding-Hearn Building Detroit Diesel-Powered Catamaran For California Ferry Market

Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, The Duclos Corp., has begun building an Incat-designed catamaran for a southern California operator. Beginning in May, Catalina Channel Express will provide excursion and commuter service aboard the 102- foot Jet Cat Express from its home base of San Pedro, Calif., to Avalon on Catalina Island. The 368-passenger, all-aluminum catamaran is expected to make the 26-nautical-mile run in a fast-running time of about 52 minutes.

The new vessel, the company's first to be built on the East Coast, will join a fleet of five monohulls running daily from Long Beach, Redondo Beach and San Pedro to the island resort.

Gladding-Hearn first entered the high-speed catamaran market in 1984, with delivery of the 350-passenger Makinac Express for Arnold Transit Co. on the Great Lakes. The Jet Cat Express is the Massachusetts shipyard's seventh Incat.

The vessel is powered by a pair of Detroit Diesel 16V149TAs rated at 1,740 hp, each turning at 1,800 rpm, and driven by twin KaMeWa water jets. By using waterjets instead of conventional propellers, draft was kept to only three feet, and a minimal wake is produced at all speeds, Gladding-Hearn president George Duclos said. Hydraulically actuated, adjustable trim tabs, designed and built by the shipyard, further reduce the wake by adjusting for load at lower speeds.

The triple-deck vessel features upholstered seats, television, commercial heat and air-cooled air-conditioning and a snack bar in each cabin. Aircraft-type overhead luggage compartments are fitted inside the perimeter of the cabins. The standard handrail around the foredeck has been replaced with raised bulwarks, which feature built-in lockers for scuba gear.

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Other stories from April 1991 issue


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