Blount delivers a beauty

First-ever U.S.-flagged wind farm vessel ready for delivery

By Ted Hayes
Posted 4/7/16

One of the most elaborate boats ever built in the East Bay will steam down the Warren River some time this week, bound first for Quonset Point but ultimately, for the nation’s first wind farm …

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Blount delivers a beauty

First-ever U.S.-flagged wind farm vessel ready for delivery

Posted

One of the most elaborate boats ever built in the East Bay will steam down the Warren River some time this week, bound first for Quonset Point but ultimately, for the nation’s first wind farm off the coast of Block Island.
Built to withstand tough seas and a ton of abuse, Blount Boats’ 69-foot aluminum crew support catamaran American Pioneer will transport workers back and forth from the five-turbine wind farm currently under construction off the coast of Block Island. It is being built for Rhode Island Fast Ferry, which is providing crew transport services for Block Island Wind Farm.
“We’re very excited,” Blount treasurer Julie Blount said Friday. “We’ve been doing trials and (the boat) is performing well.”
The vessel is the first of its kind in the US, and is based on a design licensed by Blount from South Boats, a builder in the Isle of Wight, United Kingdom. That firm has been designing and building CTV (Crew Transfer Vessels) like the one built by Blount for years. Blount secured the rights to build South Boats’ designs five years ago.
“The crew transfer market is perfect,” Blount president Marcia Blount said at a dedication ceremony at the shipyard lat autumn. “It’s a growing industry here and we are glad to be a part of it.”
The boat Blount’s welders and wrights built is tough as nails. Powered by twin engines that deliver 1,400 horsepower, the boat is propelled by jet drives and can run at more than 28 knots.
Apart from being rated to carry 48 passengers, the vessel can also haul up to 12 tons of cargo in the bow and three tons aft. It is fitted with cranes forward and aft to load and unload cargo.
Inside, the ride is smooth and comfortable. It is air conditioned, with a small galley, wifi, an entertainment system, storage lockers and sound-absorbing decking to muffle the engines’ roar.
When she heads out of port some time this week, Capt. Kevin Francis will be at the helm.

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