The 72’×27’ Seymour B. Durst, an Incat-designed catamaran ferry, was delivered to New York Water Taxi by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Somerset, Mass., in late April. Along with its sister ship the Sam Holmes, scheduled to be delivered in mid-June, the $2.5 million boats are the smallest catamaran ferries built by Gladding-Hearn.
“So far, we love the boat,” said Tom Paldino, director of marine operations for the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based operator. When the second boat is delivered, NYWT will be operating eight boats. The two new boats will be making tour runs and carrying passengers on scheduled commuter runs. “That’s a dual function that the other boats couldn’t do,” Paldino said. Depending on its operation, the boats will carry up to 99 or 149 passengers
On their commuter runs, the 72-footers will be docking up to 80 times per day at 12 locations in the New York area. Since it’s mostly a bow-loading operation, the hulls are heavily fendered. Welded to the hulls are aluminum guards that stick out 5” to 6” to protect the aluminum hulls.
In the bow area is a fendering material from Duramax that Peter Duclos, president of Gladding-Hearn, calls “sort of a composite laminate.” It’s a hard plastic backed up by a softer material. “It’s very slippery and hard on the outside, but soft on the back so it has flexibility. It’s designed for bouncing off docks,” Duclos said.
The material reduces the wear on the hull and it also makes the landing a little easier on the passengers. In fact, getting the sound and vibration levels down as far as possible was an important part of the building contract.
To accomplish this, the superstructure is set on over 50 rubber mounts to isolate it from the sounds of the machinery. The machinery is also on resilient mounts and the engine space is insulated.
To reduce the noise, vibration and shock loads generated by constantly shifting the transmission as the boats are maneuvered around the docks, Duclos said Quick Shift, a new type of Twin Disc transmission, is bolted onto each of the two 800-hp QSK19-M Cummins diesels. The engines turn Bruton 5-bladed props.
The Ouick Shift gear “allows you to seamlessly shift from forward to reverse. There’s no banging. It’s all done in a way that the clutch pressure and shaft speed are controlled. It’s as much a safety as it is a mechanical issue,” Duclos said.
The Seymour B. Durst hit 26 knots loaded with the equivalent of 99 passengers, according to Duclos.
Speaking of safety, the forward deck has a built-in heating system to prevent ice and snow accumulation where the passengers load and unload.
In addition to building the two new boats, NYWT is sending its six older 53’×19’, 75-passenger boats back to the builder, Derecktor Shipyards Inc. in Bridgeport, Conn., for renovations. Paldino said that “to address vibration issues,” the boats would be getting more framing and heavier plating. Three of the boats might be fitted with bulbous bows “to bring the bow up a little to line up with the docks. That hasn’t been approved yet. It’s still in the works,” he said. — Michael Crowley