The Saratoga is the newest member of the PSE whale watching fleet. The 73-foot, aluminum catamaran vessel was designed by Nic De Waal of Teknicraft Design in Auckland, New Zealand and built by All American Marine in Bellingham, WA.
The Saratoga was the second vessel to be completed and launched from All American Marine’s new state of the art facility on Bellingham Bay. “This is a very special event for Puget Sound Express,” said co-owner Peter Hanke. “The Saratoga is the first boat that we have had the opportunity to build, and we designed it with customers, whales, and the environment in mind. Working with the All-American team from start to finish went beyond expectations, and their commitment to detail and excellent project management throughout the process was the difference maker.”
The “USCG Subchapter T” certified, high-speed catamaran has 2 asymmetrical semi-planing hulls, and an adjustable aluminum midship hydrofoil plus two aluminum aft foils, which allow the boat to achieve top speeds of 40+ knots. This design, coupled with finely-tuned, wave-piercing sickle bows, enables the boat to travel through both calm and rough water at full cruising speed, while keeping underwater noise to a minimum.
The Saratoga was designed from top to bottom for low fuel consumption at high speeds, a critical factor to the success of the daily whale watch tours originating out of Edmonds. The vessel also utilizes Hamilton Jet Drive control systems with four HJ364 water jets and MECS control systems, which are second to none in terms of maneuverability as well as fuel efficiency at higher speeds. “During sea trials, we went out with a specifically fully laden vessel, and the difference in terms of fuel consumption between light laden and fully laden was almost negligible” said De Waal. “We’ve done many years of research to develop a vessel design that’s particularly low-wake, due in large part to our unique hydrofoil system that doesn’t displace as much water and create waves as is the case with traditional hull design.”
The cutting-edge vessel is powered by four Scania D16 engines fit with carbon fiber drive shafts to save weight. The soundproofing details in the engine room ensure that the passenger cabin is quiet and comfortable throughout the ride. The interior of the vessel is finished with cutting edge materials including recyclable Ayres aluminum honeycomb wall panels and recyclable Dampa aluminum ceiling tiles with acoustic insulation. Other amenities include ADA-friendly accommodation spaces, comfortable Beurteaux seating, two restrooms, and a galley complete with a full-service bar for passengers. The Saratoga is also equipped with seven HDTVs and a premium sound system with speakers inside and out, for fully immersive experience throughout the vessels’ journey.