Blount Boats has signed a contract with Rhode Island Fast Ferry for the construction of a 21-meter crew transfer vessel for Deepwater Wind's Block Island Wind Farm project.

The 21-meter aluminum vessel was designed by South Boats IOW (Isle of Wight), a pioneer in designing and manufacturing crew transfer vessels. South Boats has designed and built approximately 85 CTVs for the European offshore wind sector and has the largest market share, largest product range and most experience with their vessels working on all of the European and UK wind farm projects. In 2011, Blount signed a licensing agreement with South Boats to become the exclusive shipyard to manufacture U.S.-flagged aluminum catamarans built to South Boats IOW designs for the U.S. wind farm industry.

The South Boats stock 21-meter wind farm vessel is a twin hulled, all aluminum catamaran. It will be dual certified to USCG Subchapter T to carry up to 49 passengers and Subchapter L (Offshore Supply Vessel) to carry up to 16 offshore workers.

Propulsion will be provided by two 1,400-hp MAN V12-1400 engines, ZF Marine 3050 gears, and Hamilton Jet HM571 waterjets. The vessel is expected to hit speeds over 28 knots, cruise (80% power) at 27 knots light and 23 knots loaded.

A Cummins Onan 17-kw generator will provide AC power to the air conditioning system, a heating system and small galley. A PTO-driven hydraulic system will power a deck crane, the fire pump, a fuel transfer pump, and a salt water pressure washing system. All other equipment will be fed DC power through house batteries.

The vessel is specifically designed to carry up to 12 tons of cargo in the bow and three tons in the stern. The forward and after decks are outfitted with cargo lashing and container sockets. A knuckleboom crane will be outfitted onto the bow area.

The bow has a bow boarding/loading platform to allow offshore workers to make the transition from the vessel to the wind turbine. The vessel connects to the turbine base by use of a special bow fendering system. The specified fender is the latest generation in proven fendering systems being installed in the European fleet. The vessel will be capable of making transfers in 1.5-meter significant wave heights.

The interior of the deckhouse will be outfit with a head, a small galley area with settee seating, 12 suspension seats, storage lockers, entertainment system, Wi-Fi, and sound absorbing decking. The entire deck house is isolated from the hull with vibration mounts for a quieter and smoother ride to and from the work site.

Delivery is scheduled for April 1, 2016.