LaForce of LaBatre Busy
Hurricane Katrina ripped some big holes in the LaForce Shipyard in Bayou LaBatre Louisiana, but it seems hardly to have slowed production at this busy yard. In the big building shed a pair aluminum crewboats were taking shape in mid January. Outside three 74x28x11.5-foot push boats were in varying stages of production from keel laying, to plated hull and a finished hull ready for launch.
The completed hull would be put in the water and towed to another site where the superstructure was to be lifted into place before final fitting out. The hull, formed from 1/2-inch plate with 3/4-inch for the aft forty feet, is fitted with two 3x16-foot push knees. Fendering is from M&M Bumper of Bourg Louisiana (www.mmbumperservice.com). Already installed in the hull was a pair of keel cooled Cummins KTA 38M0 main engines rated for 1000 HP each at 1800 RPM. The engines turn into Reintjes WAF562 gears with 5.947:1 reduction ratios. The boat's 5-blade 72x58-inch propellers are by Kahlenberg Brothers of Wisconsin ( www.kahlenberg.com/marine.html ). As with most inland river push boats in the US the boat has two a steering rudders and four flanking rudders.
The interior of the new boat will be finished in fiberglass panels with accommodation for six. In addition to the three boats under construction framing is also ready for additional push boats that are already sold says yard owner Ray LaForce.
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