Posted:  April 14, 2000

The Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) awarded a contract to Nichols Bros. Boat Builders, Inc., of Freeland, Washington, to construct a new high-speed catamaran. The $10 million budget includes $8.5 million for construction and $1.5 million for spare parts, training, testing, inspections, and other vessel-related contingencies. Funding will be 80 percent federal, 12.5 percent state and 7.5 percent District funds. Construction of the new vessel will begin this summer and be placed into service between Larkspur and San Francisco, California, in mid-2001.

The District’s first high-speed catamaran, M.V. Del Norte, was placed into service between Larkspur and San Francisco in September 1998. Due to its overwhelming popularity, with ridership up 32%, the second high-speed vessel will offer an increased carrying capacity of 400, up from the 325 carried by the M.V. Del Norte. The new vessel will be capable of 30-minute crossing times, like the M.V. Del Norte.

According to Deputy General Manager, Ferry Division, David B. Clark, "A second high-speed vessel means even better customer service through the option of more frequent fast-ferry trips to and from San Francisco during the commute periods. By placing this new vessel into service at Larkspur, it will also enable the District to deploy one of the original three Spaulding vessels from Larkspur to replace the aging M.V. Golden Gate, which operates between Sausalito and San Francisco. The final design of the new vessel will include input from our ferry customers and other regional stakeholders."