Kingston passenger ferry Spirit seen as a 'regional benefit'
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The Port of Kingston purchased the passenger ferry, Spirit, for $2.5 million Wednesday night. A final inspection was being done Thursday at the Port of Port Townsend's Boat Haven work yard. -- Photo by Jeff Chew/Peninsula Daily News

By Jeff Chew
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND -- The Port of Kingston's newly purchased passenger ferry, Spirit,
which is undergoing inspection in dry dock in the Port of Port Townsend Boat Haven yard, is a "Kitsap, Jefferson and Clallam county ferry," said a Kingston official.

"The region is going to benefit from this," said Eric Osnes, the Port of Kingston's newly hired ferry program manager.

The Port of Kingston commissioners, who voted to purchased the ferry for $2.5 million Wednesday night from Silverdale-based Four Seasons Marine Services, plan to launch Kingston-Seattle passenger ferry service in early October.

Inspection will continue through today, and results will be announced soon.

"We won't have an official word until [today] or until a report is completed in possibly two days," Osnes said.

While a weekend run between Port Townsend and Seattle has been discussed over the past five years, Osnes said no such plans have been made.

"We would definitely like to work with the various stakeholders and see that everyone gets to use the service," Osnes said as he stood aboard the vessel Wednesday. "Success is regional."

As proposed, the ferry would have two early-morning runs and two late afternoon runs for commuters Monday through Friday.

Its cruising speed of between 25 and 27 knots would get passengers to the Seattle dock in about 35 minutes.

That speed would optimize fuel efficiency, Osnes said. The ferry would use between 80 and 85 gallons per hour, considerably less than larger passenger ferries, he added.

A fare of $13 and $15 per round trip is being discussed for the Kingston-Seattle route, Osnes said.

A crew of three, a captain, deckhand-engineer and deckhand would be hired.

The catamaran-style vessel was built and launched more than five years ago by All American Marine in Bellingham.

It is equipped with a hydrofoil between its double hull, a wing-like structure that lifts the boat partially out of the water during forward motion to reduce drag, making for a smooth ride and better fuel efficiency.

The Spirit
was most recently used in Juneau, Alaska, by former owner Four Seasons as a passenger ferry between Haines and Skagway in Alaska. It has also been used as an eco-tour vessel.

As part of the agreement, the Port of Kingston will lease the vessel back to Four Seasons for its final summer of use in Alaska.

A weekend April open house for the ferry at the Kingston dock is begin planned, Osnes said.

"We will really be getting the word out that we're here," he said, with the Port of Kingston planning to redesign its Web site at www.portofkingston.org, complete with social media including Twitter.com.

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Port Townsend-Jefferson County Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at jeff.chew@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 26. 2010 12:06AM
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