Sitnews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska - Opinions


M/V Fairweather Conducts Sea Trials
Expected to arrive in Juneau Spring 2004

February 16, 2004
Monday - 12:40 am

History was made February 5th when the Alaska Marine Highway's newest vessel, the fast vehicle ferry (FVF), M/V Fairweather, got underway for the first time with a professional team made up of engineering and vessel operations personnel from the Marine Highway, equipment manufacturers, the shipbuilder and subcontractors.


M/V Fairweather at 42 knots
Feb. 5, 2004 - Photo courtesy Alaska DOT

According to Gary Smith, FVF Program Manager, this first trip went well. "Following a series of required tests of control, auxiliary and propulsion equipment and systems, the vessel was gradually increased in speed. At mid-day the Fairweather was at 36 knots coming up to full power. She is riding beautifully," said Smith. The Fairweather reached full power for one hour while maintaining a speed of 42 knots or 48 mph.

Phil Grasser, Marine Engineering Manager, noted that a four-day dry-docking of the vessel followed by a three-day Acceptance Trial are the remaining significant events needed before the Marine Highway will certify Delivery Acceptance of the new ship. Shortly thereafter, the Fairweather will begin a three-week delivery voyage through the Panama Canal before its official acceptance in Juneau in mid- March.

The MV Fairweather will be the Alaska Marine Highway System's first fast vehicle ferry. The Fairweather is expected to arrive in Juneau Sping 2004. The main deck will have interior seating for 150 passengers in the observation lounge and 109 in the midship area, as well as exterior seating in the solarium. The interior space will have a combination of reclining airline-style seats and table arrangements, with dedicated areas for work/study, video games and a full service snack bar. The cargo deck will hold 35 vehicles. Service speed: 32 knots.

The Fairweather's designer is Nigel Gee & Associates (NGA), a British naval architecture firm that has many years of high-speed ship design and build experience. The Fairweather will be powered by four diesel engines and four water jets. The hull form is a 73-meter catamaran that has been shown to provide the highest transport efficiency of any high-speed ferry of this size.

The name Fairweather was nominated by Alyeska Central School fourth grader Wesley Tyrrell who won an essay writing contest (pdf) to name the new ferry. More than 700 elementary students in grades two through six participated statewide in the contest at the school level and will receive a certificate recognizing their participation. The essays were chosen from among ten finalists by the Alaska Lt. Governor, the House Speaker, and the Senate President.

Derecktor Shipyards of Mamaroneck, New York, was awarded a contract by DOT&PF in late February 2002 to construct the MV Fairweather. Derecktor's bid of $67.9 million (for two vessels) was within 4 percent of ADOT&PF's engineer's estimate. Derecktor Shipyards will construct another high-speed ferry for the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS). This ferry, to be named the M/V Chenega, is the second of the two-vessel contract.

The first vessel, the M/V Fairweather, will travel between Juneau and Sitka, Haines and Skagway in southeast Alaska. The M/V Chenega will sail in the Prince William Sound area of south-central Alaska, connecting the ports of Cordova, Valdez, and Whittier.



Source of News Release & Photograph:

Alaska Department of Transportation
Web Site


E-mail your news & photos to

Post a Comment
        View Comments
Submit an Opinion - Letter

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska