Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corp., has delivered a retrofitted pilot boat to the Pilots' Association for the Bay and River Delaware. Brandywine, one of the shipyard’s early 53’ Chesapeake-class launches built in 2004, is one of nine pilot boats built for the pilots since they took delivery of their first boat from the Somerset, Mass., shipyard in 1957.
Along with installing new shafts and Brunton propellers, the yard replaced the twin Daewoo 650-hp diesel engines with a pair of Volvo D16 EPA Tier 3-compliant 650-hp diesel engines, each delivering the same output at 1,800 rpm as the original engines with a top speed of 25 knots. The new engines are connected to ZF 500-1A gear boxes. The yard also converted the engine cooling system from seawater cooling to keel cooling, using Fernstrum grid coolers. A Humphree interceptor trim control system, with automatic trim control, was installed at the transom.
Other upgrades throughout the all-aluminum vessel included conversion to LED lights, and new Furuno electronics and new Seastar hydraulic steering system.
Along with new windows and doors, a diesel-fired boiler was added to improve the deck, handrail and cabin heating system.
The hull’s worn fendering system was replaced with Duramax replacement rubber, along with additional diagonal strakes aft.
"The vessel has been well maintained over the years," said Peter Duclos, Gladding-Hearn's president. “The hull was in excellent condition. Over the years, the pilots upgraded the safety and rescue gear and replaced the original interior seating.”
Founded in 1896, the Pilots' Association for the Bay and River Delaware is one of the oldest state pilot organizations in the U.S. The pilots are responsible for the safe navigation of commercial vessels on the Delaware River, bay and its tributaries, the Schuylkill and Salem Rivers and the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, from the Atlantic Ocean to the head of navigation in Trenton, N.J.