CONSTRUCTION PHOTO ALBUM Click through our photo gallery to see the Provincetown IV come to life!
The PROVINCETOWN IV begins its life back in July of 2012 as a set of blueprints and drawings at Gladding Hearn Shipyard in Somerset, MA, the foremost builder of high speed craft in the U.S.Over 46 of these frames are cut and assembled for the two hulls. The pointy end will sit on the keels and the many notches you see are to accommodate the fore and aft running stringers. Together with these frames, the hull plating, and the stringers, these will provide the hulls with both longitudinal and transverse strength.This is actually three levels of ferry decks, all stacked atop one another, so that the shipyard can proceed with fabrication while maximizing floor space at the shipyard. The pilot house roof sits atop the cabin roof which sits atop the deck of the main cabin.Add to the previous picture some window frames and supports and aluminum flat plate, and, voila, you've got something that looks like a boat. When complete, this cabin superstructure will be removed from this building and lowered atop the hull sections, which are being fabricated in a separate building......and in that "other" building, in early January, the hulls' frames are assembled upside down, in parallel.Also beginning to take form in early January are the complicated shapes of the bows of the hull. Seen here are the "S Bow" profiles which sit half submerged at the very forward end of the boat.This photo, and the next two, show the compound curvature of the upside down bow sections taking form. The horizontal members you see at the top of the photos are only temporary members meant to hold things in parallel as the assembly comes together.From a photo in early March, we see more of the bow structure taking form....and the "S Bows" are united with the rest of the forward structure.By the end of March, the engine room has been framed out and decked over. The two solid bulkheads delineate the forward and aft ends of this engine room compartment. The cutout in the deck above is called the "soft patch opening" through which the engine can be installed or removed throughout the vessel's service life....which is good timing, because 22,000lbs of engines just arrived from Motoren Und Turbinen Union (MTU) of Friedreichshafen Germany. These are remarkable engines and are the lowest pollution emitting power plants in their class. They feature a very sophisticated sequencing of three turbo chargers, per engine, seen side by side at the top of the picture. This is unlike anything that's entered service in our part of the world and will produce up to 4,000 horsepower while emitting less polutants than engines half their size from just a few years ago.Taking shape in this picture are the fuel voids, or compartments, of both hulls. 1,800 gallon capacity cylindrical tanks will be lowered into place in these voids. The shipfitter pictured here is working on the bulkhead the separates the fuel compartment from the engine room.While the aft half of the hulls are built upside-right, in order to bed the engines and other mechanical equipment consistent with the force of gravity, the forward half of the hulls continue to be built upside down. This helps the welders lay down their welding beads on the areas of compound curvature, also with the advantages of the force of gravity. Seen here are the first plates of hull skin being attached to the frames. The ferry, at last, begins its shift from a skeleton to a watertight structure.By the end of March, the main cabin is complete, from an aluminum structure standpoint. This is a view from the aft door, port side, looking forward. The two square columns in the foreground mark the forward edges of where our galley will sit.By early May, the aft 2/3rds of the hulls are nearly completed. The frames units, pictured lying in a stack in the second picture of this time-line, are now seen performing their function in place. One can see the fore and aft stringers running through the notches of the frames and the hull plate neatly fitted around them.The transom of the ferry is pictured here (the back end of the boat) with, not windows, but the mounting location of the control units for the new vessel's ride control. The control units will connect via long hydraulic arms to the massive trim tabs (think rudders, only horizontal to the water and not vertical) hinged to the bottom edge of the transoms.Here's a shot of the pilot house, now looking, well – a little more like a pilot house. The console has been fabricated as a multi-angled aluminum box and has yet to be fitted with all of the electronics.Similar to the pilot house previously, the Galley is starting to become recognizable, too. Here's another inside story: whenever we developed a new and improved and better idea for the PROVINCETOWN IV, that would be visible to the passengers, we made ourselves make the same change to the PROVINCETOWN III this winter. The Galley is one such area of improvement. We insist on not having one boat offer a superior experience to the other. BOTH boats must BOTH be excellent. So, when, we came up with a better galley design, we tore out the old one on the PIII and renovated it to look the same as the PIV.Here we see the rudders taking shape. There's a lot more going on in this picture than most folks would recognize. Compared to the PIII's rudders, these newly designed units will produce as much as a 2%-3% greater efficiency for the ferry. Their design is so much more slippery and hydrodynamic that drag is greatly reduced. We also appreciate how Gladding-Hearn is putting them together. We've seen/heard stories of clever rudders going to pieces under the terrific stresses that massive propellers, and water, can generate. Not these. The shipyard is employing some very clever engineering.Here's a small but meaningful example of what we've been doing to help make your time on our ferry even better: larger luggage racks! We couldn't help but notice that the luggage racks we built in 2004, for the PROVINCETOWN III, eventually became too small for the size of luggage that began showing up on our boat. These new racks are taller and deeper so as to fit the luggage size of today. Unlike the airlines, we encourage you to bring as much luggage as you want! We have over 11 tonnes of excess stability, according to the US Coast Guard, so, there's almost no limit to the amount of luggage we can carry.The welder you see here is sitting upon one of our two massive trim tabs. The bottom plate to these things is over 3/4' thick aluminum. The robust hinge point for the hydraulic arm can be seen in the mid-foreground. These are the things that will stop people from getting sea-sick. Cool!