Unique aluminum monohull for British Columbia

ABD Aluminum Yachts in Burnaby, British Columbia, started out building aluminum seiners in 1987 for western Canada’s commercial salmon fishermen. When the commercial fishing market dried up, the boatyard switched to semicustom aluminum yachts with a workboat thrown in every now and then. 

The yard has also assembled modules for the three 450’ PacifiCat ferries and built 30’ water taxis that are used up and down the British Columbia coastline. Its most recent workboat project was a 45-passenger monohull ferry that started hauling passengers in December.

The 70’×16’ Tsimshian Storm was designed by Robert Allan Ltd., Vancouver, British Columbia, for North Co-Corp Ferry Services Ltd. of Prince Rupert, which is on the north end of the B.C. coast. From Prince Rupert, the Tsimshian Storm connects regularly with four remote communities. At 86 miles, Hartley Bay is the farthest away from Prince Rupert. The closest community, Metlakatla, is only a three-mile run. 

Running a boat along that stretch of North Pacific coastline means encountering lots of rain and traveling through choppy, often rough water. That’s why the Tsimshian Storm’s owners told the naval architects at Robert Allan they wanted the boat to have specific attributes. 

“It needed to be easy to maintain and to deliver as soft a ride as you could get,” said Grant Brandlmayr, Robert Allan’s project manager for the Tsimshian Storm. “So we ended up with a bigger boat than you might think you would need for 45 people.” (The retired boat was 49 feet and carried 35 passengers.) 

As far as maintenance goes, there’s no paint on the hull or cabin and just non-skid coating on the decks. And to deliver a comfortable, fast ride, the hull is a hard-chine, semidisplacement design, “with quite a deep forefoot and a second chine in the forward sections to knock the spray down,” said Brandlmayr. 

Since the Tsimshian Storm is the major form of transportation to and from the four native communities, it also has to be able to carry a fair amount of cargo. On its after deck, it can pack 4,000 lbs. of groceries, appliances or whatever the passengers need back home. (The previous ferry had a capacity of only 1,500 lbs. of freight.) An extended main-cabin roof protects both passengers and freight on the after deck. 

Passengers board the new ferry either on the starboard side through the bulwarks or from floating docks onto an extension step on the transom and then through a transom gate. 

Inside the main cabin are bench-type seats. These can be folded down for wheelchairs or for stretchers during medical emergencies. 

Brandlmayr said the Tsimshian Storm cruises comfortably at 20 knots. Her main power comes from three 450-hp (at 2,800 rpm) Yanmar CX-GTE2 diesels, which are hooked up to ZF 305A marine gears with 2.4:1 reduction ratios and 30” 4-bladed Osborne props. A Kohler 30kw genset provides power for heat, lights, engine-room fans, and steering.            

                                      –—M. Crowley

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