Shallow-Draft Yukon River Tender
“If it works well, then why change it?” might have been the idea of the owner of a new Yukon River salmon tender building at WCT Marine’s shipyard at Tongue Point on the Columbia River near Astoria, Oregon. Owner R. Bodey had Tullio Celano draw up a set of plans from a vessel that he had owned some year before. He took these to Willie Toristoja and his crew at WCT Marine Construction, Inc in Astoria, Oregon where the steel hull and aluminum superstructure were well along by the end of November, 2016.
The boat is designed to serve as a tender for salmon on the Yukon River. All fish will be transported in totes on the 27-foot main deck and loaded with the aide of a hydraulic knuckle boom mounted just aft of the raised forepeak. The design of the deck space is such that it can also transport two 20-foot containers or other general cargo to the villages along the river. An aluminum deckhouse, with galley and single bunk is mounted aft. A middle deck provides one more bunk space. Above that the wheelhouse provides a 21-foot 3-inch eye level view. A pair of push-knees is mounted forward.
As of November this year, the project was far enough along to drop in the engines onto their beds. The 57 X 21-foot steel hull has 6-foot hull depth with a 3-foot ten-inch operating draft.
Draft is the all-important factor in working the rivers of western Alaska where dredging if virtually non-existent and winter ice with spring freshets can carve entirely new channels annually. To assure maximum cargo capacity with minimal draft the three 34 by 34-inch props are set up with 1/3rd of their diameter in tunnels.
The props are mounted on 2.5-inch shafts. Propulsion power is provided by three Cummins QSL9 engines each of which delivers 335 HP at 1800 HP to Twin Disc gearboxes with 2.93:1 ratios. With this Heavy Duty rating, the nine-liter engines are classed IMO 2, EU3a, and EPA tier 3. The starboard engine is fitted with a hydraulic power take-off to power the deck crane and anchor winch. Electrical service will be 12 volt.
Delivery of the finished vessel is expected for the spring of 2017, after which it will travel north on its own bottom.