Many people throughout Port aux Basques stood gazing out to sea on Jan. 5 watching the MV Blue Puttees make its first arrival.
The MV Blue Puttees makes its first trip into Port aux Basques.
The air was crisp, but still people got out of their cars by the Coast Guard station to take photos and video of the vessel as it sailed past the Atlantic Vision and into port.
Following a major refit, the Blue Puttees left Germany and took approximately six days to sail to Port aux Basques.
Wayne Follett, president and CEO of Marine Atlantic, and Rob Crosbie, chair of Marine Atlantic’s board of directors, were among those who went on board.
“Wow,” is the word Mr. Crosbie used when he sent a note to the board of directors via his smart phone.
Mr. Crosbie was impressed with the size, capacity and variety of entertainment. Mr. Follett said he was on the ship in Germany before Christmas so he knew it well.
“She’s probably more than we could have asked for in concept design,” said Mr. Follett.
He explained the Blue Puttees was a freight vessel that was retrofitted.
Mr. Crosbie said the captain described her as a very firm vessel.
“The captain was impressed with her manoeuvrability,” Mr. Follett said.
With response to concerns about the vessel’s performance in wind, Mr. Crosbie said she should have equal sea keeping ability to the Atlantic Vision.
“Issues around the wind in Port aux Basques are always a concern,” he said. “The Vision can’t quite handle the same wind as the Smallwood or Caribou.”
He added the boat has a smaller profile than the Vision and more horsepower.
“I would expect, from what I understand, that her capability of leaving port in Port aux Basques which seems to be the focal point, is as good as the Caribou and Smallwood if not better once the crews get used to her,” said Mr. Crosbie.
Potential problems with manoeuvrability were addressed. Mr. Follett explained the ferry has an additional bow thruster, which can push the boat sideways.
“She already had two large bow thrusters, and we added a third” said Mr. Follett. “So she has an abundance of thruster power.”
Mr. Crosbie emphasized it would take time for crews to get used to handling the Blue Puttees in port. Mr. Follett said she has the ability to perform as well as former vessels.
On Jan. 5, the Blue Puttees sailed to North Sydney, where the crew will board. Mr. Crosbie said the vessel is expected to enter service in late February.
“Everyone seems pretty excited, and we can’t wait for her to enter service and get some feedback as to how she’s doing,” said Mr. Crosbie.