Written by Jen Finn
Powering port's last pogy boat; Maritimes boat heads for B.C.
In February, the 80-foot New England pogy boat Taylors Creek was tied up at the Rose Marine dock in Gloucester, Mass. The Taylors Creek is the only pogy boat still based in Gloucester, says Rose Marine's Frank Rose, a port that used to receive 750,000 pounds of the fish a day.
The 80-foot boat is in for a repowering job. A Detroit Diesel will be pulled off its engine mounts and a Caterpillar 3408 will take its place. Some adjustments will have to be made to the exhaust, and the cooling will be adapted to fit the Cat.
The herring boat Western Wave was also scheduled for a repowering job, but the "boat's owner pulled the job, even though the engine is sitting here, because he is concerned about the state of the industry," Rose says.
The Camano, a slime-eel or hagfish boat was in for a wheel swap. The prop had hit an object that "took a pretty big chip out of it," Rose says.
Another boat in for repairs was the 85-foot dragger Sea Farmer. The prop was reconditioned and the prop shaft was pulled and replaced along with the bearings. "It was just a case of wear," Rose explains.
A few New England and Canadian Maritime builders of fiberglass boats have built boats for West Coast and even Alaska fishermen. One of these boatbuilders is Millennium Marine in Escuminac, New Brunswick. This spring, Millennium Marine is sending another one of its 45-footers west, this one to a British Columbia fisherman.
"The boat's owner came back to the Maritimes looking for something different. He was looking for speed and a boat that could carry some weight," says Millennium Marine's Cory Guimond.
The boat will be used for prawn and halibut fishing, with the primary fishery being prawns. There will be a pair of 750-gallon live wells and a fish hold to freeze the prawns.
The deck was raised 20 inches to accommodate the live wells and hold space. The hull was also widened, going from 16 feet to 17 feet, 6 inches.
The fish hold measures about 4' 6" x 10' x 16'. It's insulated and will hold freezing plates. The compressor for the refrigeration system will be powered by a Northern Lights 30-kW genset.
Spacers where the freezer plates will be bolted in are being installed at Millennium Marine, but the freezer plates and compressor will be installed on the West Coast.
Though the deck is being raised, the bulwarks and sheerline won't be altered, though an aluminum pipe rail will be installed around the deck.
In January, another 45-footer was completed. Though this boat only had to go as far as LeGoulet, New Brunswick. The boat is fishing for herring, lobsters and snow crabs. Guimond says 30,000 pounds of fish can be packed in the insulated hold and 12,000 pounds of snow crab on ice. Some crabbers in the Maritimes keep their crab in live wells, but most ice them down.
The boat's owner will install the mechanical, hydraulic, plumbing and electrical systems but Millennium Marine bolted the engine — a used one from the owner's previous boat — to the engine mounts and aligned it. The boatyard also finished the structures and fiberglass work.
"It's a little more than a kit boat. We've been selling quite a few boats like that," Guimond says.
At the Fish Canada/WorkBoat Canada show in Moncton, New Brunswick, in February, Millennium Marine had the Greenwitch on display, a 45-footer that was recently completed as a lobster and passenger boat for a fisherman on Prince Edward Island. With an airbrushed transom, complete with the requisite witch, this was an easy boat to find.
When she isn't commercial fishing, the Greenwitch will carry up to 30 people for deep-sea fishing. With a 580-hp Cummins QSM11-M, the 45-footer hit 22 knots and cruises at 18 knots.
The boats built at Millennium Marine are based on a Northumberland Strait design — named after the body of water between Prince Edward Island on one side and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick on the other. The boats generally have a fine entrance, a plumb or nearly so stem, a pronounced sheer line and a lot of flare in the bow. — Michael Crowley
Wash. boatyard is a busy joint; tribe gets an aluminum packer
The Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-op in Port Townsend, Wash., has been repairing boats, primarily wooden boats and primarily commercial boats since September 1981, when it was incorporated with eight members.
"We like working with commercial boats. We do yachts to fill in, but working with commercial boats is kind of how this place was founded," says Martin Mills, one of the co-op's 13 current members. (In addition, a number of outside employees are hired to work on boats.)
Each co-op member has his own specialty, though with 13 members there is some overlap. These include woodworking, metal fabrication, electrical systems, mechanical systems, rigging, design, painting and fiberglass.
Being a vested member of a co-op has its advantages and disadvantages. Since you are one of the owning partners, you have some say in daily and long-term business decisions. But since it's a co-op, the business can't be sold, and if you decide you don't want to be a member, you won't, in this case, get one-thirteenth of the action. When you join, you put in a small amount of earnest money, but, "If I leave, I leave just with my tools," says Mills.
A definite advantage to bringing a boat to the co-op for repair work is that the lead guy on the project is bound to be one of the owners, so you don't have to go very far to get the attention of boatyard management when you have a question.
The current number of member-owners is the most the co-op has ever had, but, says Mills, "We are also doing the most work we have ever done."
In January, that work included the 82-foot Victory, built as a seiner in 1941; the 65-foot Howkan, a tender and crabber built in 1929, and the youngest of the group, the Sara B, a seiner built in the early 1960s.
The Victory had half the wooden after-deck replaced, along with some hatches. A feature not usually seen on workboats was an above-deck rudder quadrant. It was moved to a spot below the deck. In addition, a refrigerated seawater system from Integrated Marine Systems, of Port Townsend, was installed, and the fish hold was foamed and reglassed.
A new aluminum stern deck was fabricated for the Sara B, and she was repowered. An old Detroit Diesel was hauled out and replaced with a 300-hp John Deere.
The Sitka, Alaska-based Howkan had a number of fir planks replaced with larch above the waterline. Most of the hull was refastened and recaulked, and some steelwork was done in the rigging.
An unusual project for any West Coast boatyard was the 45-foot Maine-built wooden lobster boat the co-op is converting into a yacht for an owner in Southeast Alaska.
Mills says the boat was probably built in the 1960s and was still "in pretty good shape." New decks and deck beams were required. The wheelhouse was extended and the ex-lobster boat was repowered with a John Deere.
It's not all about wooden boats in Port Townsend. Lee Shore Boats, a builder of custom aluminum boats, recently delivered a 43' x 15' self-propelled barge to the Squaxin Island Indian Tribe. (Squaxin Island is in south Puget Sound.)
The barge will carry 1.5 million coho salmon fingerlings to a net-pen holding site, where the fish will be kept for four months before being released into south Puget Sound. Jay Brevik of Lee Shore Boats says the four-month period in the pen "resets their migratory habits, and they tend to stick around the Pacific Northwest."
The Squaxin tribe gillnets in south Puget Sound so they will benefit from holding the fish, as will other commercial and recreational fishermen in Puget Sound.
The pilothouse is mounted on a stilt-like affair so the helmsman can see over two large tanks that will be installed. To carry the weight of the loaded tanks, the boat is heavily framed out with both transverse and longitudinal framing. Brevik says all the framing "was water-jet cut and slotted so it all fits together like an egg crate. It was just a matter of assembling all the pieces."
A pair of 225-hp Honda outboards gives the boat a top speed of 30 mph in a light condition. Brevik says the boat will only be hauling fingerlings about one month a year; the rest of the time, she will be used for the tribe's shellfish programs. — Michael Crowley
Scalloper is hauled for repairs; seiner opts for traditional skiff
Ampro Shipyard in Weems, Va., hauled and repaired the 93-foot Suzee Q in December. Ike Martin of Poquoson, Va., owns the steel-hulled scalloper along with two other scallop boats, the Crystal and the Katie. The boats work out of Seaford, Va.
The Suzee Q is a converted Gulf of Mexico shrimp boat. Work on the boat at Ampro Shipyard included replacing half of the bottom zincs. The boatyard's manager, Lynn Haynie, says the job entailed cutting off zincs that were 50 percent or more wasted.
"That's a normal process with most fishermen," Haynie says. "Some boat owners want them all replaced, but most go with the 50 percent rule."
The Suzee Q also needed welding on the inside of the hull, near the stem. "We did some welding repairs from where condensation inside an unused compartment had done some damage," Haynie says. "We primed and painted it on the inside to keep it from corroding from inside out."
Other work included repacking the stuffing boxes, flushing the keel cooler, and pressure washing and painting the entire boat. The Suzee Q was painted with Devoe 235 primer. Devoe 450 H teal green paint went on the topsides and Hempel antifouling paint on the bottom.
A 3412 Caterpillar diesel powers the single-screw scalloper. The engine is rated at 670 hp and has a Twin Disc marine gear with a 7:1 reduction.
The Chesapeake Breeze was on the boatyard's railway in January. It's a tour boat that goes from Reedville, Va., to Tangier Island. The job list includes bottom painting and other routine maintenance as well as work to satisfy Coast Guard inspection requirements.
In the Chesapeake Bay haul-seine fishery, tow skiffs packed with nets are towed to and from the fishing grounds by larger boats. Allie Walton, a haul seiner for spot and croaker from Hartfield, Va., is having just such a skiff built by waterman Dean Close of Gwynn Island, Va. It's 25 feet long and has an 8-foot beam.
Close is using white oak for the frames, fir for the side planking, and spruce pine for the crossed-planked bottom. The keel is pressure-treated 4" x 6" pine, which is topped with 4" x 6" pine for the keelson.
Close also is installing what he calls quarter keelsons to support the bottom. These are two lengths of pressure-treated 2" x 4" pine running the length of the boat's inside, one on each side of the keelson. Other builders refer to quarter keelsons as sister keelsons.
Chesapeake Bay haul seining is one of the oldest fisheries in the region. English colonists brought the fishing gear and style of fishing with them. Our nation's first president, George Washington, had his slaves work haul-seine nets on the Potomac River to catch shad and herring that were salted down and sold to buyers in the West Indies.
The style of skiff Close is building is similar to early flat-bottom skiffs used in the late 1800s. One difference is the present-day skiff's battery-powered lights that are mounted on a pipe stand. Lights provide visibility for the crew to work the nets at night, a feature Washington's crew didn't have.
The Close-built skiff is fastened with stainless steel nails and the bottom will be fiberglassed. "The reason we glass the bottom is because the skiff stays on shore most of the time and without a fiberglass coating, worms will get in the wood," Close says.
Close was a waterman for nearly 50 years. He didn't start building boats until he needed his own boat built. That was in 1977, when he had Deltaville boatbuilder Grover Lee Owens build him a 42-foot wooden deadrise workboat. He worked alongside Owens learning the trade.
"I knew a little bit about building boats but I wanted to learn as much as possible so I could repair my own boat," he says.
Close's son is fishing the 42-footer, while he builds skiffs and repairs boats for watermen. Last spring he replaced a stern on his own 30 year-old boat.
"When we built her, we used galvanized bolts and rods in her. Thirty years will eat that up," he says. A snowstorm slowed down work on the haul-seine skiff, but it was expected to be finished in February. Walton needs it for the opening of the fishing season in April. — Larry Chowning
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The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.