New Tractor Tug for Jones Marine Group
- The David J just off the Sylte Shipyard on the Fraser River (Photo courtesy of Haig-Brown/Cummins)
- GA courtesy of A.G. McIlwain Ltd.
- The Z-drive tug David J meets the water for the first time (Photo courtesy of Haig-Brown/Cummins)
- The tug floats off the launch cradle and finds her waterline (Photo courtesy of Haig-Brown/Cummins)
- The Burrard Iron hawser winch is directly in front of the wheelhouse (Photo courtesy of Haig-Brown/Cummins)
- The well laid out bridge includes a forecastle access hatch (Photo courtesy of Haig-Brown/Cummins)
- The David J’s twin 1,200 HP Cummins KTA38 mains (Photo courtesy of Haig-Brown/Cummins)
- The David J at an idle (Photos courtesy of Haig-Brown/Cummins)
- Daryl Jones at the launch of the David J (Photo courtesy of Haig-Brown/Cummins)
Steady, smooth, powerful, highly maneuverable: these were comments from mariners on board for sea trials of Jones Marine Group’s new tractor tug, David J. The new workboat was put through its paces in fine form. The boat is an A.G. McIlwain-designed 53 by 26.5-foot handy-sized tractor tug with a hefty14-foot molded depth. The beam offers remarkable stability, while the length allows the tug to work in tight spaces.
Built by Sylte Marine of Maple Ridge for Jones Marine Group Ltd, of Chemainus, it is, as company president Daryl R. Jones explains, “a new breed for us, so we have brought in Don Westmoreland, a retired captain who has operated Z-drives in the port of Vancouver. He will be training my crew.”
Jones has built a successful company with a fleet of nine boats. Until now, all were conventional drives. One, the Helen J, has the same Cummins KTA38 engines as the David J, but with an 850 HP rating and conventional drives. It is also a McIlwain/Sylte tug. The Jones firm handles all the ship docking for Chemainus, Crofton and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. “The ships are getting bigger,” explained Daryl Jones, adding that, “the pilots are accustom to have Z-drives in Vancouver.” He expects that the new tug will be able to handle most ships, especially those with bow thrusters, on its own.
The compact tug packs significant power with a pair of IMO Tier II compliant, Cummins KTA38-M2 mains each delivering 1,200 HP at 1,800 RPM through carbon-fiber shafts to a pair of Rolls-Royce Marine US155 P14 Z-drives, with fixed props in nozzles. The soft mounted engines and carbon-fiber shafts serve to isolate vibrations and noise from the tug’s hull.
The wheelhouse if further isolated on soft mount pedestals to provide improved crew comfort. The controls are mounted on two consoles port and starboard of the operator’s central position. An angled hatch set forward between the pedestals provides access to the large forecastle.
The starboard console includes the winch controls so that the mate/deckhand, in a two-person operation, can step into the wheelhouse from the foredeck and work the winch while in direct contact with the captain. An additional set of controls is mounted near the hawser winch that was supplied by Vancouver’s Burrard Iron Works. “I thought of putting a towing winch on it as well,” said Jones, whose firm also tows log booms, “But I decided that I didn’t want to put those Z-drives anywhere near logs. So it will be a dedicated ship hander.”
Like the rest of the Jones Marine fleet the David J will operate as a two-person day boat. A pair of crew boats, including a big RIB that cruises at 30 knots and can do 45 knots, provide quick crew changes when the boats are working.
A sad note was the death of respected yard owner and founder Earling Sylte between the time of the David J’s launch and sea trials. In recent months, Sylte had been handing more of the operation of the yard off to his manager Tom Warner, and the yard, which has an additional tug under construction, is expected to continue.