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US whale-watching vessels rely on Humphree for automatic stabilization

by Marine NewsWire 3 Dec 2019 11:48 GMT
Dolphin XI Underway, Humphree Interceptors on Dolphin XI © Cheryl Chase

Humphree USA announces that its interceptors and automatic computer-controlled stabilization systems have been installed on three whale-watching vessels in recent months, giving passengers and crew a smooth, stable ride even under severe wind and sea conditions.

The Humphree-equipped vessels include two newbuilds in New England and a retrofit in Alaska.

Humphree's electric-powered transom-mounted interceptors with fast-acting vertical blades react in milliseconds to create lift counteracting roll and pitch motions. Active Ride Control is a highly sophisticated digital system that uses inputs from GPS, gyro and accelerometers to measure 3D rates of turn and acceleration and feeds orders to adjust the interceptors automatically. In addition to stabilizing for roll and pitch, Active Ride Control automatically optimizes the boat's trim and list angles.

Coastal Explorer, a 98-ft. catamaran passenger vessel, designed by Incat Crowther and built by Gulf Craft, was delivered to Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., in August, joining two similar sister craft in the fleet. The vessel carries up to 149 passengers and is used for whale-watching excursions, nature tours and tender services for cruise ships calling at the port. The waterjet-propelled vessel is equipped with four electric-powered Humphree HA 1000 transom-mounted interceptors, two mounted on each hull and Active Ride Control. Service speed is 28 knots at a modest engine load.

Provincetown-based Dolphin Fleet took delivery of its latest Incat Crowther-designed whale-watching vessel from Gulf Craft in May. The new 114-ft. aluminum vessel, designated Dolphin XI, accommodates up to 360 passengers with a cruising speed of 30+ knots. Stabilization is provided by a pair of custom tunnel-shaped HE 1500 interceptors with Active Ride Control. It also includes Coordinated Turn Control that adjusts the heeling angle during turns allowing shorter radius maneuvers at speed, yielding better maneuverability and passenger comfort. Dolphin XI was named by WorkBoat magazine as one of the Top Ten Significant Boats of 2019.

Humphree also provided the stabilization system for a recent retrofit on Nunatak, a whale-watching vessel operated by Kenai Fjords in Seward, Alaska. The package included twin custom tunnel-shaped HE 1500 interceptors with Active Ride Control.

"Passenger comfort is a number one priority when it comes to running whale-watching vessels, which operate in places where strong winds, currents and rough seas are often encountered," said Matt Ketchen, vessel operations manager for Bar Harbor Whale Watching Co. "The Humphree interceptor system minimizes passenger discomfort and seasickness regardless of the winds and waves. And the automatic tilt, list and turn control functions improve performance and give us better fuel economy."

"We are getting increasing demand from architects, builders and operators specifying the Humphree stabilization systems on catamaran and monohull passenger vessels," said Sean Berrie, CEO of Humphree USA. "We deliver a field-proven fully automatic solution that provides improved passenger satisfaction and safety, optimizes vessel performance and boosts fuel economy."

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