Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation, Somerset, Mass., recently delivered the first of the Boston Pilots’ two Chesapeake-class pilot boats undergoing a comprehensive refit. 

“The vessels are well used and well maintained. Only minor structural repairs were necessary so definitely worthy of refitting,” said Peter Duclos, the shipyard’s co-president. 

 Along with installing new shafts and Brunton propellers, the 53’ all-aluminum pilot boat’s twin 600 hp Lugger L6140AL2 engines were replaced with a pair of Volvo Penta D-16 diesel engines, each producing 650 hp at 1800 rpm, with a top speed of 25 knots. The new engines are connected to Twin Disc MGX5136A gear boxes. 

To accommodate the new engines and gears, the shipyard modified the engine beds, exhaust systems, bilge system, and fuel system piping and replaced the shafting, propellors, and cooling systems. The existing generator was replaced with a new 16 kW Northern Lights genset.     

Other upgrades included a new sanitary system, new Seastar Optimus steering system, new doors and windows, new Norsap pilot seats and all new Furuno electronics. AquaTraction marine flooring, with one-half inch acoustical underlayment, was installed in the wheelhouse and forecastle. The HVAC units were replaced with three new Dometic 12,000 Btu reverse-cycle air-conditioning units and King Pick-A-Watt heaters. 

The boat’s topsides and bottom were stripped to the bare metal and received a fresh coating system. Mascoat Delta T anti-condensation coating was applied around the wheelhouse windows and doors and overcoated with paint.

Built in 2005, Chelsea is one of 29 Ray Hunt Design-Deep Vee Chesapeake class launches built or under construction by the shipyard. According to Duclos, the popular launch is trusted by pilots for its safe handling and comfort while offering higher speeds and fuel economy. 

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