A trimaran hull designed at Maine Maritime Academy was tested in the waters off San Diego, California in late May. Naval architect, MMA teacher and the hull’s designer, Doug Read said the trials went well. The project was developed and funded through the Penobscot East Resource Center in Stonington, Maine.
Speed tests were taken up to 30 knots. The final 38' vessel is being designed to operate at a 20 knot maximum. Read said their research showed lobstermen most often operated at top speeds in the 15 to 20 knot range.
The vessel floats on three narrow hulls. The center hull is the largest running the length of the vessel. The two on either side are much narrower, shorter and located toward the aft end. They are more like stabilizers and produce very little drag. Between the three hulls are tunnels where those parts of the hull are out of the water.
The trimaran lobster boat is expected to go through the water about 25%+ more efficiently than the conventional monohull, with an expected 25%+ less fuel consumption. At speeds above 22 knots monohulls plane and are more efficient than the trimaran.
The next phase of the project is a full size 38' model. The plan calls for using a John Deere 200HP inline 6. The narrow engine will fit well in the narrow center hull.
Fuel costs are expected to continue to rise taking an ever larger part of lobstermen’s earnings. Maine boat builders are known to be very good at what they do and have highly developed the boats they build. Knowing that Read said improvement therefore could only be found in a radical change.
At the same time there is tradition to consider. Perhaps more important is the preservation of a work platform that is know to be functional and reliable. Above the waterline the final vessel will look like a conventional lobster boat with all the work space, wheelhouse and carrying capacity of a boat that size.
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