Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding has delivered a new, year-round passenger/vehicle ferry, Madonna, for service to the Washington Island community across the Death’s Door Passage between the Bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan.
At 124 feet in length, 40 feet in beam and 9 feet in draft, and with capacity for up to 28 vehicles and 150 passengers, the newbuild is the largest vessel in the Washington Island Ferry Fleet, allowing crews to operate a spacious second ferry with year-round capabilities.
The Madonna joins four additional vessels in the Washington Island Fleet, the Arni J. Richter, the Eyrarbakki, the Robert Noble, and the Washington. All current vessels in the fleet were built in Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
“This is the third build we have completed for Washington Island Ferry Line,” said Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding’s Vice President and General Manager, Todd Thayse. “All current ferry vessels were built in Sturgeon Bay – two by Peterson Builders, Inc. – and three by the talented women and men here at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. The work done on the new ferry has exemplified our quality and standards, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our workforce was able to stay on schedule for an on-time delivery, which is commendable during this challenging time.”
“Although we are all going through a challenging time during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are excited about the newest expansion to our fleet, which will enhance our service to the island community for generations to come.” said Washington Island Ferry Line President Hoyt Purinton. “With a similar design to the Arni J. Richter, which Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding built for us in 2003, the Madonna allows us to run a second, year-round ferry with icebreaking capabilities.”
Twin CAT-C32 main engines provide 1,600 maximum horsepower while its stainless propellers and shafts (and stout framing) make it ice-capable. In addition to its winter operational capabilities, the ferry offers added vehicle and passenger capacity throughout the year. Outdoor, upper deck seating and an indoor, climate-controlled cabin are available to passengers, along with restrooms on two decks. Bow and stern ramps with wide gates allow for easy vehicle loading. The Madonna also has an overhead of 15 feet., sufficient to transport high-clearance specialty equipment and large oversized loads as needed.=