The R/V Connecticut operated by the University of Connecticut (UConn) Marine Sciences program was recently lengthened from 76 feet to 90 feet, giving scientists and crew on board the oceanographic research vessel some much needed extra space.
The 1998-built R/V Connecticut had been operating at its original length of 76 feet since its construction, but the vessel required additional staterooms and lab space. “Things were pretty cramped at the old length,” said Turner Cabaniss, the program’s marine operations manager. “The vessel's operations had outgrown what could be carried out easily and efficiently in the space available. To handle our operations, we needed increased interior space for both crew and scientific equipment.”
UConn selected Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering consultancy Glosten in early 2016 to provide a contract level design of the vessel conversion and support the University throughout bidding and construction.
"Right off the bat, we made a concerted effort to fully understand how the existing boat was constructed,” said Steve White, PE, project manager at Glosten. “This enabled us to not only integrate the new hull extension, but also make many improvements in the legacy ship systems.”
Glosten’s redesign added a 14-foot “plug” to the ship’s midsection, creating space for six additional accommodation spaces and doubling the size of both the wet lab and dry lab.
The lengthening work was recently completed as part of the vessel’s midlife refit at Blount Boats’ shipyard in Warren, R.I. The newly lengthened R/V Connecticut is now underway with a full slate of missions through midyear.
“The result is rewarding to see, since the lengthened vessel delivers both greatly increased capability and improved functionality to support operations,” White said.
The additional staterooms allow for an increased complement for overnight trips, as well as flexibility to better accommodate different distributions of men and women in each science party.
Additionally, the modifications substantially increased the capacity of the fresh water, sewage and fuel tanks to extend the vessel’s range and endurance.
Glosten said it also utilized Einhorn Engineering, PLLC to troubleshoot the ship’s original stern thruster that had been underperforming. Einhorn Engineering recommended modifications that increased thrust, improving the vessel’s dynamic positioning performance.