The Nelson North Sea Pilot 38 came to us last November with the goal of fitting her out to function as the Pilot Boat for the town of Eastport, Maine, located a couple hundred miles north of Harpswell. Eastport is aptly named for being the easternmost seaport in the United States, and is an official International Port of Entry.
More than 50 vessels are currently loading/unloading cargo at the port facility, and that number is expected to grow, necessitating the ability to provide a safe and reliable pilot vessel that can perform year-round.
The North Sea was originally built as a long range cruising tender for the 255′ expedition yacht Lone Ranger, and is of rock solid construction. This unique vessel is rated Offshore Category B (capable of operating in routine wave heights up to 13.1′ and Force 8 winds) and is self-righting – she will capably serve the pilot in all kinds of conditions.
Eastport lost one of its pilot boats when a portion of the town pier collapsed about a year ago and they’ve been searching for replacement options since then. In a partnership with the vessel donation program at Maine Maritime Academy, the town found a solution.
To make the vessel fit for duty, MMA and the Quoddy Pilots presented GIBY with a detailed work scope which included installing a stainless steel boarding platform; proper LED pilot navigation lighting; LED deck flood lighting; solar panel charging system; video monitoring; and new radio communications.
We splashed the boat today – January 5th – in preparation for her delivery Down East this week (note the first ice of the season on Orrs Cove and swirling sea smoke to welcome an unusual first launch for 2016). Here’s wishing the owners, pilots and crew many years of service and enjoyment on their North Sea!