Wednesday, February 5, 2014

F/V Optimus: New 58-Foot Combination Boat
for West Coast Fisheries

Hitting the Southeast tanner fishery this month is a shiny new 58-foot by 24.5-foot combination boat built for John Barry, of Sitka, Alaska. The hull and interior of the new boat were built by Northern Marine, a luxury yacht firm in Anacortes, Washington, and finished by owner John Barry and George Hooper, of Hooper Marine.

The new boat was constructed of vacuum-infused fiberglass, chosen for its unmatched strength and low maintenance, in a mold design by yacht designer George Rodden. Even though Optimus is a workboat, her yacht builder origins show in the clean lines and flawless fiberglass work.

The hull of the new boat is non-cored monolithic vacuum infused polyester. The keel of the new boat is a stout 3-inches of fiberglass, and the hull itself is more than an inch and a half thick, making for a very sturdy vessel. The boat also carries 25 tons of ballast. More than 350 feet of green thread fiberglass pipe was used in the construction of the Optimus, as well as an estimated 15,000 lbs. of 316-grade stainless steel. The vessel weighs approximately 105 tons, dry.

The hull was designed for efficiency using the latest in computer modeling. A state-of-the-art bulbous bow and hydrofoil beaver tail combine with a 72-inch, 5-bladed wheel to provide good fuel efficiency and speed.

Because of an anticipated busy fishing schedule, great care was taken to insure the vessel would require as little maintenance as possible. Wherever possible stainless steel, aluminum and composites were used to minimize corrosion and maintenance.

With the help of in-house designers at New World yachts, Barry and Hooper designed the boat to fit different gear types and diverse fisheries. New World built the mold, laid the hull and painted the boat, then handed the project to Barry and his team, which included Hooper and project management consultant Chuck Albertson, who managed outside contractors and some of the crew from new world yachts.

The big new boat has exceeded performance expectations in sea trials. With all 3 holds totaling 3,820 cubic feet full and full of fuel and water, the 750-hp Cummins Northwest-supplied QSK 19 pushed Optimus to a speed of better than 10.5 knots, with a comfortable 8,5 knot cruise at 1,450 rpm.

"The boat handled wonderfully," Hooper says. "It's very stable and nimble, and it turns and handles awesomely. We could not be happier with the handling."

Currie marine supplied two John Deere generators, one providing 150-kw and one 65-kw, each with PMG regulators.

Other features include dual circulation systems made from HDPE piping. The HDPE piping, used in heavy utility applications, is non corrosive and virtually unbreakable, and even at the low temperatures required for a refrigerated-sea-water (RSW) system, the piping remains tough but not brittle. Dual 35-ton RSW systems with titanium chillers, supplied by Wally McDonald at Fleet Refrigeration in Petersburg, Alaska, can chill two tanks at once or be switched to both serve one tank, quickly dropping the temperature by roughly 8-degrees an hour on a 45-ton tank.

Puget Sound Hydraulics installed redundant 160-GPM hydraulic systems, one off the main and one off the front of the 150 kW genset. A double 60/40 hydraulic running off the gear, as well as a 30-hp electric pump, offer more hydraulic options for the various fisheries.

Puget Sound Hydraulics installed the hydraulic tubing, with pilot operated remotes on the flybridge, as well as the fuel and steering system tubing.

An 80-hp bow thruster mounted in the bulbous bow helps the boat maneuver during herring fisheries, and the thruster is interfaced with the autopilot, to assist during pot fishing and longlining.

Interior is finished like a high-end yacht, and boasts 2 heads with showers, 6 bunks in the fo'c'sle, two in the stateroom and a twin size day bunk in the wheelhouse. The large galley features granite countertops and stainless steel appliances including a dishwasher. "I had just remodeled my kitchen at home," Albertson says, "and I thought the same granite countertops would be a good fit for this boat." Ample food storage should keep the crew fed, and a big screen TV facing the large 8-person dinette should keep them entertained when they're not fishing.

Radar Marine, of Bellingham, Washington, supplied the extensive electronics package featuring two sonars, a Wasp bottom charting system, an Olex sounder and a plethora of state of the art electronics.

On deck, Seattle's Snow and Company fabricated the main boom, outfitted with Pullmaster winches, which features a 15-foot slider and 18,000-lb. H-8 cargo winch, two PL-5 cargo winches and an M-8 topping winch. A first of its kind swing through telescoping picking boom with two rams was designed to the owners' specifications and built by Snow and Company in Ballard, Washington. Company president, Brett Snow, says the new picking boom design can retract to allow the smaller boom to swing port to starboard without interfering with the main boom's rigging. Snow and Company also built much of the new boat's deck equipment, from hatch covers and cleats to the roller davits and 316 stainless steel side stays, as well as the stainless steel crab davit.

The electrical system was designed and installed by Ballard, Washington-based Brothers Marine. The two-station programmable alarm system offers the option of monitoring bilge tanks, fire and smoke when in port, and switches to monitor all alarms when running.

Working with Hooper, Mavrik Marine, of La Conner, Washington, lofted and built the mast and the Rodden-designed high lift foil under the prop. "I feel like we used some of the best vendors and suppliers in the industry to build this boat," Hooper says. "And Curtis and the crew at Mountain Pacific Bank proved to be the right choice for our financing, providing flexibility and support to get this project done."

Hooper says the project was a learning experience, and he and the crew would love to see more of these boats built from the mold. "We wanted to build this boat right and we're very happy with the finished product," he says. The new boat will fish in Alaska for Black cod, halibut, herring, salmon and crab, and possibly squid in California.

F/V Optimus Specifications
Fuel Capacity: 6,000 gals
Lube Oil Capacity: 100 gals
Hydraulic Oil Capacity: 500 gals
Fresh Water Capacity: 2,200 gals
Fish Hold Capacity: 220,000 lbs of salmon
Horsepower: 750 at 1,850 rpm
Gear Ratio: 6.5x1
Wheel: 72-inch, five-blade
Shafting: 5-inch stainless
Steering: Wagner T-15 T Ram

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