Clockwise from left: R/V Marcelle Melosira, Patrick and Marcelle Leahy at 2019 UVM graduation, major donor F. Peter Rose, and the R/V Melosira.
“Recognizing Sen. Patrick Leahy’s clean water legacy,” the University of Vermont will name its new, low-emissions, low-vibration hybrid electric catamaran research boat after Sen. Leahy’s wife Marcelle Leahy.
The UVM statement praises Leahy’s record of directing millions of federal dollars for UVM research funding and Lake Champlain clean-up.
The Research Vessel (R/V) Marcelle Melosira will replace the R/V Melosira. The vessel is expected to arrive next year at UVM’s Rubenstein Ecosystem Sciences Laboratory, located in the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain on the Burlington waterfront.
The 64-ft. diesel/electric catamaran will serve as a floating classroom and laboratory. It will include a first-of-its-kind winch system for research trawling and plankton nets. The direct-drive winches will enable UVM scientists and staff to operate more efficiently than ever before and can be operated using a single wireless joystick. This compact system was developed by engineers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and is being brought to market by InterOcean Systems of San Diego, Calif., for UVM. This will be the first vessel in the world to use this technology.
The new name doesn’t include the name of the class of 1954 alumnus F. Peter Rose, in who donated $1 million towards the new boat. Rose passed away from a stroke in 2020, but not before being a major, longtime donor of UVM’s environmental program, including the current R/V Melosira.
“Senator Leahy has shown unwavering support for scientific research that benefits Vermont and Vermonters,” said UVM President Suresh Garimella. “His decades of commitment to the improvement and preservation of water quality in the Lake Champlain watershed have made our region healthier and our future brighter. The senator’s stewardship of the research vessel project will allow UVM researchers to continue this important work well into the future.”
“Marcelle Leahy is among the closest and most devoted friends of UVM,” said Garimella. “Naming Marcelle for her will remind all who encounter UVM’s flagship research vessel of her significant and lasting impact on the quality of life in the Lake Champlain region.”
Garimella revealed the vessel’s name at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act and Sen. Leahy’s legacy of support for clean water initiatives. The vessel is expected to arrive next year at UVM’s Rubenstein Ecosystem Sciences Laboratory, located in the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain on the Burlington waterfront.
While representing Vermont in Congress, Senator Leahy has made Lake Champlain one of his top priorities. He has secured over $110 million in federal funding to clean-up and protect Lake Champlain and has spearheaded federal efforts to study the lake and to learn the most effective ways to preserve its natural beauty and protect it for future generations, UVM said.
UVM researchers on Lake Champlain conduct a wide range of science missions from restoring local lake trout populations to probing global climate change. Marcelle will serve as a science platform and a floating classroom for UVM, as well as middle school, high school, and public groups taking part in NOAA’s Sea Grant Watershed Alliance education program. To meet both needs, the new vessel has a large interior lab and accessible teaching space—and is being constructed as a US Coast Guard-inspected passenger vessel. Marcelle will be supported partially by a generous $1 million endowment from Class of 1954 alumnus F. Peter Rose.
The R/V Marcelle Melosira is a symbol of the university’s focus on advancing sustainability practices. Partially powered by two AC electric motors, the vessel will be able to run on all-electric power for trips under two hours. Marcelle will be a low-emissions boat with fewer vibrations—nearly silent for students and researchers on the deck, and less intrusive under the lake’s surface for studying fish and other wildlife.
Much of the content for this article was sourced directly from a UVM press release.