Written by Jen Finn
April 15 to July 26, 2008 — My other Bristol Bay boat, the Claude M Bristol, underwent more repairs this season than I care to recall. During the 2007 season the keel was damaged, so I contracted Mike Holmes with Commercial Marine Service to do the job.
The engine had to come out of the boat so the keel could be glassed on the inside as well as the outside. While the engine was out, I figured it would be a good time to have a couple of liners replaced on the engine, since they were showing signs of wear, so I contracted someone to do the engine work.
Mike took the engine out in April and his ace glass man, Lynn, went to work on the keel as soon as the weather warmed. He ground down to fresh glass, which took a lot of grinding; in fact, the whole bottom of the keel was removed. Then he went into glassing, and glassed layer upon layer, inside and out, doing it right, until it was done. That boat's keel is now 2 inches thick on the bottom. And Lynn had the whole job finished before Mike V and I arrived to work on the Sunlight III.
While that was going on, the engine sat around waiting for the contracted guy, who finally laid eyes on it around May 1. His diagnosis was that it needed a whole new set of liners, and the turbo was shot, and the heads were cracked, and so forth. It would have been cheaper if I just had the whole thing rebuilt, or just bought a new engine. In fact the remanufactured Cummins I put in the Sunlight III was cheaper than the repair bill on this engine.
I couldn't believe how long it took those guys to finish that engine. First, the parts were delayed. Then some parts weren't included in the kit; then those were delayed. Then, in the middle of the final assembly, he had to run off to Dillingham for some reason. When we heard he was back in town we drove around until we found him giving another boat a test run — and he was pissed that we were tracking him! He promised it would be done soon, and about a week later he finally delivered it, on June 10.
All the while the Claude M Bristol remained ripped apart at the Naknek Yacht Club with a bunch of people waiting for the engine — Mike Holmes to install it, Shoreline Electric to do some wiring, Josh the welder to weld the stack back in place, and Crosby and Simon so they could convert it from a job site into a fishing boat. When it finally arrived it was in the boat that afternoon, and all hooked up and ready to go the next day. THAT is fast service.
While all this was going on, especially while we were waiting for the engine, I was working on the Sunlight III, and Crosby and Simon were working on the Claude M Bristol, attacking a long list of projects on a boat with no engine, no floor, and a hole cut in the ceiling that an engine had to pass through before it could be sealed up again.
After the engine finally arrived I could afford more time to help, but it was Crosby and Simon who led the charge. Crosby's other crew guy, the Cat Killer, was also helping out, but he was more interested in killing something than doing boat work (he did great on deck... when there were living fish that were soon to die — I never left this guy unattended around my daughter).
It was a long road bringing the Claude M Bristol up to fishable condition prior to the 2008 season, but it finally happened. The boat splashed down on Monday, June 23, and was ready for the first opening on Thursday.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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