Photo: University of Vermont
Photo: University of Vermont

VESSEL REVIEW | Marcelle Melosira – New hybrid research catamaran for University of Vermont

Derecktor Shipyards of Mamaroneck, New York, has delivered a new catamaran research vessel to the University of Vermont. Named Marcelle Melosira in honour of the wife of retired US Senator Patrick Leahy, the newbuild will serve as a floating classroom and laboratory, enabling advanced research operations and hands-on educational programs primarily in the areas of limnological, fisheries, and geophysical research.

The 64- by 19.6-foot (19.5- by six-metre) vessel was designed by UK-based naval architecture firm Chartwell Marine to fulfill the requirements of low emissions, low fuel burn rates, a stable and safe platform for research, high manoeuvrability, and the ability to tow trawls, sleds, and plankton nets. The vessel will also facilitate the launch and recovery of scientific equipment, small remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), and sediment sampling devices.

Constructed of aluminium, Marcelle Melosira is designed to operate on Vermont's Lake Champlain in up to 1.5-metre significant wave height conditions. The custom catamaran hull construction is designed to minimise resistance and ensure stability in windy conditions.

<em>Photo: Derecktor Shipyards</em>
Photo: Derecktor Shipyards

The vessel runs on a diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system engineered by BAE Systems. The system features two AC electric motors, a Corvus Orca Energy 158kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and two Cummins 306hp (228kW) diesel generators. Even when operating on fully electric mode, the vessel can sail for up to three hours and generate only minimal levels of vibration, noise, fuel consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. Dual control stations will meanwhile maximise operability.

A three-person crew will handle navigation, allowing the remaining space to accommodate up to 29 passengers. A large interior classroom space and an expansive exterior aft deck area will allow various research activities to be performed without interfering with vessel navigation. A lavatory is also available on board.

The key equipment includes an electric winch specially designed by engineers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The winch is located on the topside deck and is essential for deploying scientific instrumentation such as water column profilers, camera systems, and plankton nets.

Boarding and disembarking is via an ADA-compliant access ramp while the classroom and lavatory are also wheelchair-accessible.

<em>Photo: Derecktor Shipyards</em>
Photo: Derecktor Shipyards

Marcelle Melosira is also available for charter to groups or individuals for research, education, outreach, or other functions.

Marcelle Melosira
SPECIFICATIONS
Type of vessel:Research vessel
Owner:University of Vermont, USA
Designer:Chartwell Marine, UK
Builder:Derecktor Shipyards, USA
Hull construction material:Aluminium
Superstructure construction material:Aluminium
Deck construction material:Aluminium
Length overall:64 feet (19.5 metres)
Beam:19.6 feet (6.0 metres)
Draught:4.5 feet (1.4 metres)
Propulsion:BAE Systems
Generators:2 x Cummins, each 306 hp (228 kW)
Maximum speed:10.9 knots
Batteries:Corvus Orca Energy lithium-ion, 158 kWh
Type of fuel:Diesel
Accommodation:Classroom; lavatory
Crew:3
Passengers:29
Operational area:Lake Champlain, Vermont, USA
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