One of the many attractions for visitors to the Kona-Kohala Coast of Hawaii’s “Big Island” is scuba diving and snorkeling in the clear, warm waters. Guests at the newly rebuilt Sheraton Hotel on Keauhou Bay now have the option of diving and snorkeling from the decks of the Hula Kai, a 53’×21’ Teknicraft-designed catamaran built by All American Marine, Bellingham, Wash.
The new foil-supported aluminum cat is powered by twin 490-hp Cummins QSC 8.3M490 engines turning a pair of 30”×35” Osborne 5-bladed props. Cruising speed is about 25 knots, which is more than twice as fast as the boat Fair Wind Cruises has been using for snorkel/diving excursions. The new boat was delivered in October.
“We wanted something that is faster, smoother and that will allow multiple destinations with four-to-five-hour snorkel cruises,” said Penn Henderson, Fair Wind’s marketing manager.
Seating for 42 is all outside, some forward and some on a raised deck above the stern. A bar and galley are in the shade under the deck. Access to the water is from sets of stairs on both sides of the stern, both of which have extensions that fold down into the water so customers can walk into and out of the water. Each side also has a freshwater shower for rinsing off the saltwater after getting back onboard.
In addition to the diving/snorkeling tours, Henderson said they would use the new boat for whale-watching as well as sunset cocktail cruises.
In late spring, All American delivered an 82’×29’ Teknicraft catamaran, the Valdez Spirit, to Stan Stephens Cruises, Valdez, Alaska. The new 82-footer is powered by a pair of Lugger 6170s with props. Matt Mullett, All American’s general manager, said that the new boat gets outstanding fuel economy compared to a similar-size catamaran operated the previous season, which was also powered by 6170s. “The Valdez Spirit burned about 150 gallons per day less than the other boat with similar load conditions,” said Mullett.
Built without foils due to the owner’s concerns about ice getting trapped in the tunnel, the Valdez Spirit with foils might have saved 200 gals. a day, according to Mullett. “We made sure all the doublers were there so a foil can be easily installed if he changes his mind or the boat is sold or relocated,” said Mullett.
All American is currently working on three Teknicraft cats for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Two (a 65-footer and a 48-footer) will be research boats and the third will be a 53’ high-speed patrol boat for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The patrol boat will be finished by the end of the year, and the two research boats will be delivered next spring and early summer.
— Bruce Buls