All American Marine (AAM) was recently awarded a contract to build a 1,600-hp research and hydrographic survey vessel for Geodynamics, an NV5 company. The Shackleford is a 73'x26.7' semi-displacement aluminum catamaran hull designed by Nic de Waal of Teknicraft Design, Auckland, New Zealand. 

The new boat will have the fundamental and primary design elements of the recently commissioned Duke University Marine Lab’s Shearwater and Blue Tide Puerto Rico’s Blue Manta. Both have been successful in their near-coastal research environments, said All American Marine.

Main propulsion will come from two fixed pitch propellers, powered by twin Caterpillar C18 “D” ACERT, Tier 3 engines, each rated at 803 hp at 2,100 rpm driving ZF 665V remote mounted gearboxes.

The Shackleford, named after the southernmost barrier island in the Cape Lookout National Seashore chain, will be constructed to USCG Subchapter T standards and will primarily operate off the eastern seaboard of the U.S. The twin-engine speed and unique stability of this hull design is fundamental for Geodynamics’ continuing expansion of its specialized nearshore/mid-shelf hydrographic and geophysical survey operations; specifically customized to serve the burgeoning offshore wind sector.

This survey vessel integrates the signature Teknicraft Design symmetrical and asymmetrical combined hull shape, bow wave piercer, and a patented hydrofoil-assisted hull design. The hull and hull components are designed to break up wave action and ensure reduced drag while enhancing passenger comfort. The design is proven to have both low-wake wash energy and increased fuel economy, AAM officials said. This advanced hull shape was custom designed using digital modeling and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis testing. 

The vessel’s design offers all passengers and crew a smooth ride and comfort, as the hull provides a cushioned effect when encountering waves. For the operator, the most valuable feature of these vessels is the fuel economy, which consumes approximately the same gallons per nautical mile throughout the estimated cruising speed of 18-24 knots, with a fuel-efficient survey operation speed of 4-8 knots, fully laden.

With a large fuel capacity of 1,500 gals., the fuel-efficient design will be able to hold up to 16-day passengers/eight live-aboard plus three crew.

“Our continued focus is meeting the most stringent offshore survey specifications in the world, whether that is for nautical charting or for subsea exploration to support offshore wind development,” Chris Freeman, Geodynamics general manager, and senior marine geologist said in a statement. “Our model is therefore building the boat around the ideal sensors, allowing us to achieve the most accurate and repeatable data day in and day out. A larger, more stable, and customized vessel will not only help us maintain our high standards of quality, but it will also help with our real-time data acquisition and processing transparency objectives by comfortably accommodating our client reps. This new vessel will help Geodynamics provide an unmatched platform for hydrospatial solutions that will enhance our safe navigation, coastal resilience, and clean energy missions for our broad spectrum of customers.”

“All American Marine remains committed to being on the leading edge of manufacturing techniques and an innovator in merging the latest technology into a functional and proven vessel,” said AAM’s president and COO Ron Wille. “We are delighted to have been chosen to build this vessel as part of Geodynamics’ growing fleet. This vessel will enable Geodynamics to take their business to the next level, provide unmatched services and expand their scientific activities on the East Coast significantly. The vessel will also help advance the rapidly growing windfarm industry on the East Coast and beyond.”