The first of a fleet of 44-foot sailing vessels for the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis is taking shape at the Pearson Composites yard in Warren, R.I. The vessels, which will replace the aging fleet of sail training yachts currently used by the academy, will continue to serve the midshipmen in varsity racing and offshore sail training. They will carry eight students and two professional crew.
The current fleet of 44-foot “STCs” (Navy-speak for sail training craft) is used approximately 250 days per year to train midshipmen in seamanship, navigation and teamwork, and to gain experience on the ocean in any weather. The current fleet replaced a group of long-serving Luders 44 yawls in 1988.
The new Pedrick-designed vessels, dubbed the Renaissance class, will displace 27,000 pounds and carry 1,020 square feet of sail. The vessels were designed by Pedrick Yacht Design of Newport, R.I.
“Our vision is that sailing must be the cornerstone of every midshipman’s professional development because it provides a crucible for midshipmen to practice small unit leadership,” said Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy Vice Admiral Rodney P. Rempt, USN, in a statement. “Through sailing our midshipmen will learn to work as a team to achieve an objective while being exposed to the risks inherent in an unpredictable and sometimes unfriendly environment.”
The Naval Academy expects to receive the first of 16 completed Navy 44 STCs sometime in the fall of 2006 with the remaining 15 crafts being delivered periodically thereafter. The entire fleet should be in service and operational for the Academy’s 2007 summer training program.