The Sanpoil gets ready for service

By guest blogger Al Gilson

Here’s a different story about a boat getting flipped over.  No, there are no big headlines about a daring rescue at sea in this story.

Now being built near Longview, the “Sanpoil,” our new ferry vessel for the Keller Route across the Columbia River in eastern Washington reached a major construction milestone on December 11.
For the last several months, workers at the Foss Maritime boat yard have been fabricating this new ferry vessel.  They began by building the frame for the car deck then pieced together the hull frame, followed by the hull plates.  When that phase was completed, the center section, and two outer sections were upside-down on the shop floor.

The next move was to flip the 20,000-pound center section over.  In a process that took two cranes and about 45 minutes, the 56 foot-long component was lifted up, rolled over and placed on a special cradle aboard a multi-axle trailer.

Coming up, the ship builders will attach the bow sections.  (There are two “front ends” on the boat and no stern since it’s a double ended ferry.  Cars and trucks will drive on and off at either end so the boat never has to turn around.)  When those are connected, the center section on the trailer will be 22 feet wide and 116 feet long.  That’s the maximum size that will be able to squeeze along the highways and under any overpasses as it, the two outer sections, the pilot house, and other components are towed from the boat yard to Grand Coulee Dam for final assembly early next year.
The Sanpoil should enter service in mid-2013.

The three sections of the new “Sanpoil” ferry.
The center section was placed on the trailer.
Help up by the crane.
Being rolled over to set on the trailer.
The cradle and trailer under the boat.
All done.