The R/V Hero was built by Harvey F. Gamage Shipbuilder, Inc., of South Bristol, Maine. She was launched on 28 March 1968.
She is the namesake of a 30-foot American sailing sloop captained by Nathaniel B. Palmer, who in 1820 became one of the first to view the Antarctic mainland. The modern Hero was built to serve as a mobile platform for the conduct of research in Antarctic Peninsula waters, augmenting the facilities of the U. S. Palmer Station on Anvers Island.
The Hero is a diesel-powered but sail-equipped wooden ship. Wood provides resiliency in sea ice and acoustic quiet. Sails assure steadiness, safety, and, again, silence to do wildlife-sensitive research. Her oak hull is sheathed in tough South American greenheart to protect against abrasion by floating ice.
In August, 1968 the R/V Hero went on a shakedown cruise to the Labrador Sea and adjacent waters. Darling Marine Center scientist Dr. David Dean, Dr. John Dearborn of the University of Maine in Orono, and graduate students James Blake and Robert Bullock accompanied the crew of the Hero on a NSF grant to investigate the reproductive biology and systematics of polychaetes and echinoderms.
After the shakedown cruise the Hero eventually made her way to Chile. The R/V Hero arrived at Palmer Station in Antarctica on Christmas Day in 1968 to begin her support of Antarctic research.
(Courtesy of Dr. Jim Blake)
Darling Marine Center, University of Maine, Walpole Maine, South Bristol Maine, marine research laboratory, marine station, marine science station.