The Galveston-Texas City Pilots has taken delivery of its fourth pilot boat from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corp. The new launch is equipped with a Seakeeper 30HD stabilizing gyro, which, according to shipyard officials, will reduce up to 80% of the vessel’s roll.        

The 73.2'x23.3' all-aluminum, high-speed pilot boat features the Ray Hunt Design deep-V hull. It has a draft of 5.9'.

The new boat is powered by three Volvo Penta D13, EPA Tier 3 marine diesel engines, each delivering 800 hp at 2,300 rpm, and integral to the engines’ triple IPS-Pod 1050 system. Top speed is over 33 knots and runs 30 knots at 80% power. The vessel will burn 30% less fuel than the pilots’ existing 70' pilot boats at the same speed, Peter Duclos, the shipyard’s co-president, said in a statement announcing the delivery.              

Humphree interceptors, with Active Ride Control and Coordinated Turn and Automatic Trim Optimization, are installed at the transom to automatically optimize the vessels running trim, and actively reduce pitch and roll at speed above 15 knots.

“The additional stabilizing gyro reduces roll at all speeds and will improve safety and reduce fatigue, especially while standing by for ships offshore and boarding pilots in a sloppy anchorage,” said Duclos.

The wheelhouse, mounted to the flush deck aft of amidships, features a center-line helm station, with a twin-lever control head and a 3-axis maneuvering joystick. The wheelhouse has heated forward and side windows, six Norsap 1500 shock-mitigating seats and a settee with table. Two Phasor 21kW generators produce electricity.

The forecastle includes a stateroom with two berths, head, hanging locker, small galley and dinette. HVAC in the wheelhouse and forecastle is supplied by six self-contained, reverse-cycle air-conditioning units, totaling 80,000 Btus. Interior sound levels at full power are under 75 dBA.

Outside the wheelhouse are wide side-decks and a flush main deck. On the foredeck, aft of the wave break, are port and starboard boarding platforms. A Carlisle & Finch search light, with integrated NightFINDER thermal camera, is located at the forward end of the wheelhouse roof. A Harken TR-31 safety rail system has been installed on the wheelhouse handrails. A control station, with a 3-axis maneuvering joystick, is at the transom, along with a winch-operated J-Basket rescue system and recessed stairs and platform for pilot rescue operations.