The sign welcoming visitors to the village of Galesville, Md., reads: “Where the Past meets the Present.” This motto came to life at the christening of the new tug Capt. Kenneth by 25-year-old Eleanor Smith alongside her 99-year-old grandfather, Kenneth Smith, and her father, Jeff Smith, president of Smith Brothers.
Capt. Kenneth is 49.5′ x 19′ x 7.5′ with an operating draft of 6′. The vessel, designed by the late Oliver Bryant, was constructed at the company’s yard on the Chesapeake Bay by the Smith Brothers team over the course of the past three years.
The boat, designed for both towing and pushing barges, has a model bow and push knees so it can operate in any part of the Chesapeake in most sea conditions.
Power is supplied by twin John Deere 6125 engines rated 341 hp at 1800 RPM turning Kaplan 40″ x 42″ props in CNF Kort nozzles through ZF 325W marine gear.
“We call this a “Bayworthy” tug,” said Preston Hartge, Smith Brothers’ general manager who supervised the design and construction process. “Our rental fleet operates all over the bay and we need both the shallow draft and the power of the Kenneth to handle our barges and also the ability to handle rough weather when we are light boat.”
Hartge says the vessel does exactly that while providing comfortable accommodations for a three-person crew. “It is great to be able to build a boat exactly how we want it.”
The celebration of the new tug drew a diverse cast of characters. Industry leaders from New York slurped oysters with local watermen, the Coast Guard inspector chatted with the shipyard owners, competing contractors shared stories and a beer over fried chicken. There was a special guest at the dock alongside the Smith tugs. The Norfolk Rebel, the legendary sailing “Tugantine,” made a stopover en route to Baltimore to shoot her cannon and add more historical ambiance to the day.
The headline of the Annapolis Capital on the next day read, “A Seaworthy Celebration,” though Preston Hartge would have called it a “Bayworthy Celebration.”