Fiberglass Passenger Vessel Built By Westport For Catalina Channel
Westport Shipyard, Inc., Westport, Wash., has delivered a 90-foot fiberglass vessel to Catalina Channel Express Lines for service on passenger routes between Los Angeles Harbor and Catalina Island.
Catalina Channel Express Lines, which already is equipped with Westport-built vessels, serves both Avalon, and Two Harbors at the Isthmus of the southern California resort island. The new vessel will carry the name Catalina Express (shown above), in keeping with its status as the flagship of the fleet. According to Doug Bombard, president of Catalina Channel Express Lines, the boat will be able to carry as many as 149 passengers at speeds of up 30 knots on a run. Mr. Bombard operates the company with his son Greg, who also serves as a skipper in the fleet.
The 1,700-hp, 21-foot-wide vessel was built in Westport's adjustable fiberglass mold with hull lines designed by Edwin Monk Jr., of Bainbridge Island, Wash. Jack Sarin, also of Bainbridge Island, designed the deckhouse and the interior arrangements which include airline-type seating in the main cabin. A VIP lounge has been installed aft in the wheelhouse, while the top deck features open seating.
Westport built the 80-foot Avalon Express, which was delivered last year, as well as an earlier 56-foot fiberglass vessel for the California operation.
The Catalina Express is driven by two 850-hp Detroit Diesel engines supplied through Pacific Diesel of Portland, Ore. Wagner Engineering steering controls were supplied by Hough Marine, Seattle. The Seattle firm of Alaska Diesel Electric furnished a 12-kw Northern Lights generator for electrical power. Furthermore, the vessel's bow thruster came from Wesmar Marine Electronics Company, Bothell, Wash. Spencer Fluid Power of Seattle supplied the vessel's hydraulic system, which is arranged so that an additional hydraulically driven generator can be added to the system.
Among other equipment, the boat has a Naiad Roll Control System to smooth out the ride in heavy seas. Over the past several years, the firm in Westport, which is managed by brothers Randy and Rick Rust, has turned out a number of 65-foot and up fiberglass vessels. Vessels which have been built by the Rust brothers, in addition to the Avalon Express, include the 85-foot Wesmar VI, an extensively appointed electronics showcase boat operated by Wesmar Marine Electronics; the 80-foot Glacier Spirit, in excursion service in Alaska; and the 95-foot luxury yachts Platypus and Domino, the latter now in service as a charter vessel in the Mediterranean. The Rusts, originally from Tacoma, equipped the Westport plant with a number of advanced fiberglass tools, including a semiautomatic fiberglass impregnator from Venus Products, Inc., Kent, Wash. The brothers are now building an additional adjustable fiberglass mold with the bow section designed by Nickum & Spaulding Associates, Seattle. This mold will allow construction of vessels of up to 120-feet in length.
Westport expects to use their new adjustable fiberglass mold to produce a 112-foot hull, which will be delivered to a Canadian firm for finishing a yacht.
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