Kvichak delivers first of four East Coast pilot boats

This fall, three East Coast pilots associations will be running new aluminum vessels built by Seattle’s Kvichak Marine Industries.

The first to go into service was the Georgia, a Carmac-designed pilot boat built for the Savannah Pilots Association and a sister vessel to the 72-foot Sabine Bank Pilot in Texas and the 72-foot Chinook in Oregon.

At 78’×21’, the Georgia is slightly larger than her sisters. The new boat is powered by a pair of Cummins KTA38 M2 diesels rated at 1,350 hp at 1,900 rpm each connected to ZF2550 marine gears and Hamilton 651 waterjets. Top speed during sea trials was just over 28 knots. Packing up to 1,250 gals. of fuel, the Georgia has a 205-n.m. range. The run to the pilot-transfer area is about 12 miles, most of which is in the open ocean.

The fender setup is a modified version of the patented “Popsafe” system, which has been used on numerous other Carmac designs.  The system includes an aluminum supporting structure welded to the upper strake of the side plating that forms a channel for the fendering materials. A foam laminate of approximately 3 pounds per cu. ft. is installed in the channel and acts as the shock-absorber. A polyethylene tube inserted in the channel outboard of the foam provides the singular contact surface. 

Completed in August, the Georgia was delivered to the East Coast in September by a semisubmersible transporter that operates between Vancouver, B.C., and Florida.

Capt. W. Thomas Browne Jr., president of the Savannah Pilots, said he expected the new Georgia to go into service in October. “This new boat will replace our old Georgia, which was state-of-the-art when we got it in 1973. It’s still a beautiful boat. They’re both beautiful boats.” 

Kvichak Marine is also completing a 45’×19’ foil-supported catamaran for the Virginia Pilot’s Association. Once in service, the new cat will be the first pilot boat with Hysucat-design foils. The dual hydrofoil systems have fixed main and articulated aft foils designed by Foil Assisted Ship Technologies of South Africa. With twin Caterpillar C18-C engines rated at 715 hp at 2,100 rpm turning Hamilton HJ403 waterjets, the expected top speed will be about 37 knots. 

“The VPA researched vessel designs for over two years before choosing the Hysucat design,” said Capt. Chip Dodson of the Virginia Pilot’s. “We chose Kvichak for their experience with catamaran construction, quality workmanship and design capabilities.”

Kvichak will also deliver two 50’×15’6” RIBs to the Brunswick Bar Pilots’ Association in late November.  Both vessels will deliver and pick up pilots working oceangoing vessels calling at the Port of Brunswick, Ga. The 24º deadrise (at the transom) hulls will be powered by twin Lugger L6140AL2 engines, each rated at 600 hp at 2,100 rpm, Twin Disc MG-5114SC 1.02:1 gears and Hamilton 362 waterjets with hydraulic bucket and steering controls. The combination is expected to produce a top speed of about 34 knots. Fuel capacity will be 500 gals. The 50-foot RIBs will each also have an 8kw Northern Lights genset to power  HVAC systems and other electrical needs.

Keith Whittemore, Kvichak vice president, is pleased to have more East Coast customers. “Over the years our products have grown in numbers east of the Mississippi,” he said. “It’s evident that customers are willing to look a bit farther from home to find the quality and longevity they deserve and require for their missions.”         —Bruce Buls 

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