Blount To Build 75-Foot 1 8 9 0 ' s Style Steam Launch

The Great Congress St. & Atlantic Steamship Company, Ltd., Boston, Mass., has signed a contract with Blount Marine Corporation of Warren, R.I., for construction of a 75-foot steam launch of traditional turn-of-the-century lines.

Designed by Halsey Heereshoff of Bristol, R.I., it will return Boston once again to the era of marine steam. Tourists visiting Boston's historic waterfront will be able to steam the harbor and the Charles River in the style of the 1890s. Service is planned f r om the Museum of Transportation Wharf to the Constitution in Charlestown, to the Quincy Market area in Boston, and back to Museum Wharf again.

The vessel is to be a classic single-deck steam launch with a 17-foot beam and a 4-foot draft. The steel hull will carry a vintage mahogany superstructure incorporating a pilothouse and glassed-in engine room, making the engine and boiler visible to passengers.

The vessel will be certified by the U.S. Coast Guard and will accommodate 125 passengers on old-fashioned rim seating under a canopy. Careful attention to detail above the waterline will produce a faithful recreation of the type of passenger launch that plied Boston Harbor 100 years ago. The engine will be a three-cylinder Davis, made in London, Ontario, Canada, in 1906. It will produce about 80 hp at 250 rpm under 180 psi. All auxiliaries will be steam-driven as well f r om a modern marine boiler designed specifically for the boat.

The engine is a rare "three-cylinder compound" with the high-pressure cylinder alternately feeding two low-pressure cylinders. It formerly powered the 55-foot tug Ajax, owned and operated by John Clement, one of New England's senior marine steamers. Prof. Jens Holm of the Webb Institute is the steam consultant for the project. Blount Marine is one of the foremost designers and builders of passenger vessels in the United States. They recently christened the New Shoreham, an 80-passenger cruise ship of 150 feet.

Delivery of the steamboat and commencement of service in Boston Harbor is planned for May of 1980.

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