Aside from the two feet of snow that has come and gone here in Traverse City in the past two weeks, a sure sign that winter is coming arrived at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy harbor this week, in the form of a crane. I’ll get to that in a second.
First up for this post is a photo I really liked that I took this past Saturday, November 16th, when I visited the town of Frankfort, Michigan, about an hour from Traverse City. I headed down to the waterfront just after dusk, where I came upon the 67′ tug Krista S. She is owned by Luedtke Engineering and is active in their contract construction business.
Since it was dark I didn’t bother trying to take any more shots of the tug, although the bow view I did get turned out pretty well. Now fast forward to Thursday the 21st, and I paid a visit to the Maritime Academy with a particular goal in mind.
The previous day, November 20th, a large crane was brought in and hauled out GLMA’s four smaller vessels in the harbor, and they were now resting up on blocks on the pier. Notice the State of Michigan‘s bow peeking out on the right side of this photo.
Naturally, with the boats now high and dry, I wanted to take the opportunity to photograph them as much as possible since I haven’t really gotten any good shots of these vessels since starting school nor have I shared much information about them on here yet.
The aluminum-hulled vessel seen in these shots is the one we call the “41.” She is a former USCG vessel that has been retired from active service, but found new life here at GLMA for cadet training.
Also on shore next to the 41 is one of the Maritime Academy’s two lifeboats. This one and has a capacity of 40 passengers and resides afloat in the harbor during the summer. The other boat is stored up on the davit across the harbor, which I’ll get to shortly.
Back to the 41, she is (you guessed it) 41 feet in length with a beam of 14 feet and a maximum draft of just over 4 feet.
The vessel was built to cruise at around 24 knots while still being able to handle heavy seas, and these characteristics are evident in her stern design beneath the waterline.
The 41 is driven by two propellers, each one measuring 26″ in diameter and with a dedicated rudder behind it. Power for the propellers comes from twin Cummins Diesel Model V-903M engines, each one cranking out 340 horsepower.
It’s especially easy in this view to see the steep angle at which the rudders are offset from the vertical position, which helps the boat maintain maneuverability even at high speeds or in rough conditions.
Although slightly barnacle-encrusted, another season in the water hasn’t appeared to damage the 41‘s hull too terribly badly. She’ll likely be cleaned up before going back into the water in the spring, although her “fleetmates” seem to need that more.
The second and my personal favorite of GLMA’s smaller vessels is this one, the classic tug Anchor Bay.
Built in the 1950’s for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the tug is slightly larger than the 41 at 45 feet long and 14 feet wide.
I love this tug simply because of her stereotypical classic Great Lakes tugboat design, one that I am very fond of.
Although once quite a powerful vessel, the original engine was removed in 2014 and the tug and is now driven by a much smaller and less powerful diesel. The new engine does not move the tug anywhere fast – she probably doesn’t break 10 knots at maximum speed – but for her current role as a cadet training vessel, she doesn’t need to be fast.
I can speak from experience here, as one of my first semester classes that just ended was conducted between both the 41 and Anchor Bay. Although slow in speed and slow to maneuver and respond to rudder adjustments, the Anchor Bay is so much fun to operate for people like me who got a sense for what it’s like to operate a tug while working with larger vessels.
Of course, the 41 is especially fun thanks to her high speed and incredible maneuverability, but I honestly couldn’t choose a favorite between her and the Anchor Bay – I appreciated the different aspects of vessel handling that each one had to offer and had a blast being able to learn how they operated.
The third vessel that had been lifted ashore is the Northwestern, a 56-foot research vessel that isn’t really used by the Maritime Academy and belongs more to the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute (which also calls the Maritime building home).
The largest of the Academy’s small vessels, the Northwestern is powered by two 8V71 Detroit Diesel engines, each producing 318 horsepower and giving the vessel a cruising speed of 10 knots.
On the side of the pilothouse, the lettering “The Les and Anne Biederman Family Foundation Marine Technology Laboratory” is printed, denoting to whom the boat technically belongs.
Like the 41, the Northwestern is also equipped with twin screws, however her propellers are actually slightly smaller than those of the 41, and the rudders also have considerably less surface area. Keep in mind that the 41 was designed with performance in mind, whereas that factor doesn’t really matter a whole lot for a research vessel like Northwestern.
Unlike the 41 and Anchor Bay, however, the Northwestern actually has her name and home port welded onto the hull. Come to think of it, there are actually no name-related markings on either of the other two vessels.
Of course, I couldn’t make a stop at the Maritime Academy without shooting the State of Michigan. Although it’s not easy to tell, the ship has been shifted forward along the dock face to her winter mooring position, and her port anchor has been dropped.
Here’s a shot of the now-empty academy harbor where the four vessels that are now ashore normally reside. The second lifeboat can also be seen on the right side of the photo, mounted on its set of gravity launch davits.
There haven’t yet been any signs of ice in the harbor, but the water temperature has dropped to the mid-30s and its only a matter of time before the ice arrives.
Here’s one last parting shot of the bow of the State. Notice the Anchor Bay and 41 that can be seen to the right of the ship, finally resting in their winter cribs.
That will conclude this post. Although the weather certainly didn’t cooperate for these shots, I wanted to share something of the Maritime Academy’s other vessels since I haven’t done that yet, and give my readers a little update on the looming winter that will be here before we know it.