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The new $1.3 million research vessel operated by Old Dominion University's Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (OEAS) will be named for the original benefactor of the university's oceanography program.

Research Vessel (R/V) Fay Slover is currently under construction at Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding in Somerset, Mass. The
vessel is expected to be turned over to Old Dominion officials in late September following sea trials. The vessel will be piloted back to Norfolk and a formal christening is planned for 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Nauticus.

Public tours of the vessel will follow from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2.

The ship will be docked at the NOAA Atlantic Marine Center in Norfolk.

"The vessel construction is first class and the instrumentation package is state of the art," said Tom Royer, acting chairman of OEAS.

A 1967 gift from Mrs. Slover established an endowment which supports three Samuel L. and Fay M. Slover Chairs at Old Dominion. Col. Slover was a founder of The Virginian-Pilot newspaper and former chairman of the board who played a pivotal role in guiding the paper's direction in the early 1900s.

R/V Fay Slover replaces Old Dominion University's 48-year-old vessel, R/V Linwood Holton, a 65-foot T-boat now docked at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Operations Center along Brambleton Avenue in Norfolk.

R/V Fay Slover is a 55-foot, aluminum-hull craft based on the design of R/V Gulf Challenger operated by the University of New Hampshire. Old Dominion's new research vessel will serve as the keystone for both existing and new programs in marine observation in lower Chesapeake Bay and adjacent coastal waters.

Construction funds are being provided from donations to the Old Dominion University Educational Foundation. The vessel was designed and equipped after consultation with Old Dominion faculty members who conduct research in the lower Chesapeake Bay and environs.

A distinctive feature of this vessel is its high speed capability, which permits samples to be gathered over a wide area in similar tide and weather conditions.

Twin 700-horsepower diesels in combination with a semi-displacement hull allow this vessel to operate at maximum speeds of more than 20 knots. This affords researchers maximum time on station, reduction of transit times, increase in the range of operation and will enable them to take advantage of narrow weather windows in Chesapeake Bay and adjacent coastal waters.

"We seek to establish an expanded, integrated, shared equipment pool that will be available to all vessel users, allowing them to gather reliable, modern oceanographic data," Royer said. The arrival of R/V Fay Slover "will encourage additional research use over the current usage of R/V Holton that is about 80 days per year."

More information on R/V Fay Slover is available on the World Wide Web at www.ocean.odu.edu.

This article was posted on: September 5, 2002

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