A first of its kind hybrid freighter that will deliver fresh produce and locally made foods between Connecticut and Long Island was launched at Derecktor Shipyards, Mamaroneck, N.Y.
The Captain Ben Moore is a 63’x21.3’ aluminum catamaran, similar to two earlier Incat Crowther-designed vessels Derecktor built for marine educators and researchers in the region. The latest boat was built for Harbor Harvest, a Norwalk, Conn., based company that marine engineer and designer Robert Kunkel created to connect family farms to urban and suburban markets.
Launched April 12 at Mamaroneck, the Captain Ben Moore will undergo sea trials in May and is scheduled for delivery June 1. It is powered by a pair of Cummins QSB 6.7 diesels, generating 104 kW each at 2,400 kW, and lithium batteries connected to a pair of BAE Systems HybriDrive electric motors.
With a top speed of 15 knots, the $2.8 million vessel has 300 sq. ft. of open cargo area, 100 sq. ft. of covered space, and 140 sq. ft. of walk-in refrigeration. Total capacity is 12,000 lbs., or the equivalent of three to five produce delivery trucks, according to Kunkel.
Kunkel and his company Alternative Marine Technologies began working with Derecktor in 2016 to develop the design. Speaking at the State University of New York Maritime College in September 2018, Kunkel explained how the concept of Harbor Harvest aims to reduce pollution and highway congestion, while linking sustainable local farms to consumers.
“There’s $9 billion worth of produce between the mid-Hudson Valley and Connecticut,” Kunkel said, but many farm families “can’t make more than $50,000 a year.”
While working to set up his company’s Norwalk storefront location, Kunkel said he learned from truckers that worsening traffic in the New York metro region has extended daily round trips from upstate farms to the city or Long Island to nine to 12 hours. The Captain Ben Moore will be able to make the 15-mile transit from Norwalk to Huntington, N.Y., on Long Island’s North Shore in an hour under quiet electric drive.
Fuel is carried in two 600-liter (158.5 gal.) tanks in each hull, with 1,000 liters (264 gals.) tanks for fresh water and wastewater.
“We’re very proud of these boats”, Derecktor president Paul Derecktor said at the launching. “For over 70 years we have been part of the maritime community, and playing a part in protecting the Long Island Sound and New York Harbor environments is very satisfying. It’s also been a pleasure working with Harbor Harvest, a company that is pioneering the rebirth of clean marine transportation.”