Wednesday, July 15, 2020


Capt. Joel Gunnlaugsson with Fincantieri
Senior Project Supervisor Steve Propsom, upon
return to port after sea trials.  Broom signifies
a "clean sweep", the satisfaction of
requirements for U. S. Coast Guard Certificate
of Inspection.  (Purinton photos in all cases)

Detroit Harbor, Washington Island -

Having been absent here for a few weeks in reporting on construction, during which time the christening took place at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, we're now back to continue the story, with particulars of where the new ferry Madonna stands in terms of finishing and delivery.

First, we need to update statements regarding the steering system, because the first assessment for remedy didn't prove out.

One of many details added in the past weeks:
a step for crew to reach and tie mooring lines.
During Builder's Trials, a test run of the vessel's systems, its engines, electronics, etc., it was discovered that steering responsiveness seemed to lessen over time.  Greater revolution of the pilot house helm was required to move the rudder just a few degrees. The cause was determined to be hydraulic oil heating and thinning with longer running time time.  The probable fix appeared to be reduction of heating by means of installing a lower volume output hydraulic pump, and by enlarging the diameter of the piping from pump/reservoir to pilot house and to the steering rams back aft, a rather long run with many angles and turns in the piping.

Fincantieri pipe fitters began work right away and installed larger inside diameter piping.  But as for a lower output, CAT engine-compatible hydraulic pump, none was found in the marketplace.  Instead, a flow valve was installed, along with an oil cooler (fed by the same pump that flushes stern tubes). During a second Builder's Trial, performed two days ago on Monday, July 13, the steering seemed to perform well.

As can often happen with more time spent underway, a few more items also came to light, and they were highlighted on the punch list.

After Monday's successful underway trial, a second sea trial was then scheduled for Tuesday, July 14, this time with a U. S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment observer on board.   This sea trial fell almost exactly 1-1/2 months beyond the original estimated Madonna delivery date, a point of secondary importance to getting steering, as well as other vessel functions, to where they needed to be.

In this photo, you're looking up the ladder
that leads from engine room to main deck.
Madonna engine room has come a long way:
a complex space of piping, wiring and machinery,
but with room to move about.  A Bay Ship
mechanic can just be seen between generators,
monitoring fluids and temperatures.
Clean bilge; CAT engine control boxes;
bilge piping manifold beneath.  One example of
well-laid out, yet separate, systems.

We departed the Bay Shipbuilding slip at 10:00 a.m. and proceeded to the outer bay, with approximately a dozen yard personnel plus five Ferry Line representatives on board.

Enroute to sea trials, Madonna passed
Cason J. Calloway, inbound to Bay
Shipbuilding for repairs.

At the conclusion of several drills and with Joel Gunnlaugsson
at the wheel in the pilot house:
Rich Ellefson, Steve Propsom, Jeff Cornell, Dan Petersilka and
Hoyt Purinton.
By the time we reached Sherwood Point light, having passed port-to-port in the entrance channel the Cason J. Calloway, inbound to the shipyard for repairs, the Madonna's engines and fluids were warmed to anticipated operational temperatures.  Steering maneuvers, the shifting of generator loads, "crash stops" (full back while carrying typical forward momentum), a man overboard drill, and demonstration of good water pressure on main deck fire hydrants, were among items checked off during the several hours underway.  The sea trial was termed a success, and the number of items on the "to-do list" were trimmed even further.

A man overboard drill was conducted using a dummy
designed for such an evolution (approx. 150# with water
weight).  Shown:  Coast Guard observer Tom Hunninger,
Jeff Cornell, and Hoyt Purinton on bow ramp.

Another day or so will be used to tie up remaining loose ends, and to reconcile our standing with the Fincantieri yard regarding "who pays for what."  Those discussions may continue for some time, but a general understanding must be met in order to transfer ownership, and satisfy builder and owner product expectations, contractual items met, and with an appropriate USCG Certificate of Inspection forthcoming (like having a motor vehicle license plate, only with particulars of operation spelled out in detail).

A view of mezzanine cabin passenger seating.

When can we expect Madonna to be underway for Detroit Harbor?  Perhaps Friday.  We'll have to see.

  -  Dick Purinton

Upper deck passenger seating and pilot house.


Tony Woodruff said...

Thumbs up!

Bill Tobey said...

..... and, she did arrive at the island a little after 6PM Friday. I've just watched the WIFL video replay twice. Thumbs up!