The Huron Spirit is the latest pilot boat to be built at Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding in Somerset, Mass. The Lake Pilots Association, Port Huron, Mich., took delivery of the 52.5' x16.7'x4.8' Chesapeake-class pilot boat on Nov. 13.

The Chesapeake-class design is from C. Raymond Hunt Associates, New Bedford, Mass. It’s deep-V hull design will be able to take its pilots out to a ship in a big hurry. Powered by a pair of 602-hp Cummins QSM11 engines matched up with Twin Disc MGX-5114A Quick Shift gears that spin Brunton 30" five-bladed NiBrAl props, the Huron Spirit should have a top speed of 25 knots.

Operating near that speed, the boat’s Humphree Interceptor automatic trim tab system adjusts a boat’s trim at a given speed for a given fuel load. It should make a big difference in fuel savings. Running at 20 knots, the Huron Spirit is estimated to have a 350-mile range with its 690-gal. fuel capacity.

The wheelhouse has a full compliment of electronic equipment, including a pair of Furuno radars — MFD12 and DRS12 — two Standard Marine GX5500 VHF radios, a Furuno FA-150 class 1 AIS and a Furuno DFF1 Navnet.

The wheelhouse also has Llebroc seats and a settee for the captain, one crew and pilots. On those cold northern winters, a pair of Heatercraft 40,000-BTU units will heat the wheelhouse. Another 40,000-BTU heater is in the fo’c’sle. A 120,000-BTU diesel-fired heater will prevent ice from forming on the handrails and foredeck.

The pilots have boarding platforms on the foredeck’s port and starboard sides and on the wheelhouse roof.

The Huron Spirit can be maneuvered from the aft deck for docking or rescue work. To lift someone out of the water, a winch operated rotating davit is over a recessed platform that’s only a few feet away from the aft steering station with its Twin Disc EC300 Quick Shift electronic controls.

Michael Crowley is a long-time Maine-based correspondent for WorkBoat Magazine, specializing in stories related to new vessel contruction and new gear, such as electronics, deck equipment and diesel engines.