And the list goes on

It feels as though the past two days have been one long meeting, but we also squeezed in an inspection tour at AAM with Dave Weed, Bauke Houtman of NSF, Ryan of Radar Marine in Bellingham, and of course the whole crew of AAM.

Clockwise from left: Richard Furbush, Dave Weed, Mark Gleason, Pat Manley, Bauke Houtman, and Ryan of Radar Marine.

We discussed the wheelhouse design, integrating the multibeam and ADCP into the construction plan, the construction schedule itself, sea trials, the console for the hydraulics systems and winches, technology and wiring for the smart classroom, integrating the navionics systems with the classroom, arranging the arrival of other Middlebury College equipment, running cables from external equipment into the lab, the wire-out systems and alarms for the instrumented sheave, and the list goes on.

The R/V David Folger

Middlebury College’s Board of Trustees has officially adopted the R/V David Folger as the name for our research vessel. It’s named after the Geology professor who started the College’s Lake Studies program back in the early 1970s. His influence in research on Lake Champlain, already important and durable, will continue through our use of this facility named for him.

Daily conversations with AAM and Dave Weed continue, and things are moving along according to the revised schedule. Dave has visited AAM several times in the past two months. We’re in the final stages of completing the smart-lab technology design and integrating it with the wheelhouse navigation systems.

A logo that reflects the lake

In addition to their names and the official identifying information that all boats must display on the stern, most research vessels also have logos. Here’s a first look at the logo for the new research vessel:

The logo emphasizes that this vessel is built for lake research

We asked for a logo that highlights Lake Champlain’s most characteristic features, and College Communications has come up with a great design. It’s a view over the water to the west, with the sun going down behind the Adirondacks, which are reflected in the lake.

Our students will tell you, though, that the lake is rarely this calm!

USCG T-boat inspection after all!

After many phone calls and emails back and forth, we’ve straightened out the confusion about Coast Guard inspection. The USCG has agreed to inspect the vessel to certify that it meets T-boat safety standards. The inspection will be performed by the Seattle Branch. The Officer in Charge of Marine Inspection there will review the drawings first, select some for further review, and then pass them on to the Marine Safety Center in Washington, DC.

To say we are relieved is an understatement. Without this inspection, the College would not have been able to use its new research vessel!


The updated design and construction specifications book has been completed and approved by the College. I’ve sent a spreadsheet to our contact at NSF, which defines all the change orders and associated costs and explains why they are important, with a request to tap our grant’s contingency funds to cover these changes. (NSF required contingency set-aside, a standard part of construction planning, as a condition of our award; we’re allowed to use it only once they approve our request.)

All American Marine to build new research vessel

It’s official: All American Marine will build Middlebury’s new research vessel. The vessel will be twin hulled — a catamaran — and 45 feet long. Middlebury’s research vessel will be very similar its sister ship, the R/V AUK (pictured here), which AAM built for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Of the eight ship builders who sent us proposals in 2008, AAM was the best: their design and construction capabilities are superior, and the level of detail they provided convinced us that they are the right choice.