Baltic, from tugboat to 26-metre pleasure yacht

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A leopard can’t change his spots says a proverb, but this probably does not apply to boats. And it only takes four years of work to change from a port tug to a fully-fledged pleasure boat.

Mario Quaranta

This is the story of Baltic, a tugboat launched in Norway in 1962 for Esso Petroli that this year, in 2019, will come back to life at the end of a long process of restoration directed by Mario Quaranta’s Sibma Navale di Imperia. After years and years of abandonment the boat was reduced to these conditions, although already in 2011 one had bought it with the aim of transforming it into a pleasure craft. The turning point came in 2014, when the recovery project was completed, at La Ciotat and started the process of conversion following the original plans of the boat found among the equipment on board.

From tug to yacht? Here’s how

Sibma’s experience in the restoration of boats was the starting point from which the work began. The first test carried out was on the plating, 10 mm steel sheets welded. The strength of the hull was carefully analyzed as serious structural damage could have compromised the entire operation.

Baltic before the refit

Thanks to these tests, the most oxidized areas were highlighted where the plating was replaced for a job of about 60 tons of sheet metal. In 2017, three years after the start of work, Baltic was remotorized with two 600 hp Man engines each to allow it to sail to Italy to Imperia.

Baltic dopo i lavori

The interiors of Baltic

The difference between a yacht and a tugboat can also be seen in the interior. Below deck this boat is equipped with two cabins with toilet for the crew aft on the lower deck adjacent to the kitchen, a pantry, engine room, laundry room and workshop room.

Like every yacht worthy of the name, the main deck houses the saloon, three double cabins for guests and a quadruple cabin, all with bathrooms. On the upper deck is the owner’s cabin, full beam, very bright thanks to six large portholes original of the time. The captain’s cabin is near the helm station, next to the solarium.

The interiors, furniture, flooring and cladding are made entirely of teak as are the external handrails. For the flooring of the exteriors, the material used was Esthec, a synthetic product patented by the Netherlands, which has the advantage of not heating even with 40 ° of sunshine, is watertight and does not require maintenance, as well as being workable as wood.

The equipment

Other features of Baltic include the installation of two Joandeer 75 kW generators each, 2 320 lt/hour desalination plants, a 65 kW bow thruster, two ‘Hall’ type anchors with two 200 m chain lines, 3 groups of gyrostabilizers, and an Alfa-Laval diesel purification system, a 1 ton boom crane for on-board tenders, 2 inflatable boats, 2 heat pump systems for cold/hot air conditioning, a centralized inverter system that guarantees 8 hours of nightly silence with all the utilities working, double radar, telephony, 2 GPS, satellite compass.

Technical features

  • Year: 1962
  • Shipyard A/S Westermoen Båtbyggeri og Mek Verksted (Norvegia)
  • Naval Architect A/S Westermoen Båtbyggeri og Mek Verksted (Norvegia)
  • Material: steel
  • LOA: 26,50 mt
  • Beam: 7,50 mt
  • Draft: 3,30 mt
  • Displacement: 200 tonn.
  • Engine: 2 x 600 hp MAN Heavy Duty
  • Fuel: 32.000 lt
  • Water: 8.500 lt
  • Cabins: 8

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3 thoughts on “Baltic, from tugboat to 26-metre pleasure yacht”

  1. The Tug Boat looks beautiful I have seen quite a few tug conversions but not that style. If you know what they decided to call the yacht I would appreciate knowing the name of it. I would like to look it up and find more information maybe a YouTube video.

    1. It’s called Baltic, Southhampton
      I’m looking right at it in a cove in Vela Luka, Croatia
      It’s beautiful so I googled it and found this article

  2. Esso Oslo was moored on the Thames at Greenhithe, when I purchased her from the the owners, who may well have scrapped her had they not found a buyer. She was sailed to Southampton , whilst on route the Stb’d main engine seized solid. After letting the engine cool down I stripped off the crank case doors and soon identified one of the beg ends has seized. I then removed the offending piston and con rod, blanked off the injector for that cylinder, blanked off the oil ways in the crank for the big end, closed her up and came home on 5 cylinder. at no more than 50% power being asked of the Engine. Took a long time to Pass the Cliffs at Dover, she had so much growth on her hull and we battled a rising spring time in the straights.

    Engines then were Air Start Blackstone ERM 6’s Generators were 2 stroke Detroit 371 Diesels. At the time she has 6 Rudders , Steering was carried out by the use of four levers and not a wheel.

    She was taken to a mud berth up the Itchen at Whites Shipyard and sold to an Irish man. I carried out requested work for him, Cut off the old Pushing Teeth and re fabricated the bow (with a friend) to the one she sports today. Repaired a lot of the Bulwarks .The hull was sandblasted to just below , undercoated in a single pack primer and painted black. The topsides were cleaned , worst of the rust was attended to , primed and painted. the waterline and much rubbish was removed from the Tug. The owner then took her away. Which was when I lost contact with her. I understand she wet to France. To put the record straight she did not lay abandoned after she left the Thames, A lot of hard work was carried out over the period she was in my care. I’m glad to see she
    has been saved.
    One of the intended use for at the time was Whale watching, as she is so tall, the bridge would make a good viewing platform.

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