National Fisherman


38-footer finally going fishing; orders flood into Maine builder

At Finestkind Boatyard in Harpswell, Maine, Mark Hubbard and his crew are turning a Young Brothers 38-foot lobster yacht that was built in 1986 into a lobster boat.

The Double Trouble is for Harpswell fisherman Adam Leclair, who, says Hubbard, has been lobstering out of an old wooden boat. "He's in a rush to get his new boat in the water because with the older wooden boat, he's having to pump it constantly," Hubbard says. "He is looking forward to having a dry bilge."

Hubbard says not a lot of work is involved in changing this Young Brothers boat from a lobster yacht into a regular lobster boat. The yard's crew removed the starboard side and part of the back of the house, and then turned the area into a split wheelhouse.

The crew added a steering station on the starboard side, though they had to move the helm position to make room for the pot hauler, which required a complete hydraulics package.

Fortunately for Leclair, Hubbard says the engine, an older 230-hp Volvo, seems to be in good shape, and the prop is right for lobstering. With that low-powered main engine, the Double Trouble shouldn't be a fast boat, but Hubbard thinks she'll be an efficient boat.

The 38-footer has been on land for four years, and Hubbard says, "not well covered" in that time. Even though she has a plywood and fiberglass house (with a West Coast–style windshield) instead of a molded structure, the deck and house suffered only minor weather damage.

"Some of the glass work has a few cracks in it, and there are some rot places where repairs have to be made. Though just in a few places will we have to remove the deck. Most of that was in the starboard side, which we took out anyway. He lucked out there," Hubbard says.

Leclair's old wooden boat might be up for sale, though she obviously will need work. Hubbard, who put a deck on the boat several years ago, thinks Henry Barnes, a local boatbuilder, might have built the boat.

It had been a pretty quiet summer at Holland's Boat Shop in Belfast, Maine, then about Labor Day, Hank Greer from York, Maine, showed up and ordered a 32-foot kit boat that will be finished off as a tuna boat. She will have a Cummins engine. This is the second Holland 32 for Greer.

A few days later, David Webber, another York tuna fisherman also ordered a Holland 32. Webber's 32 will be finished off at Holland's except for the engine and drive train.

Then an order for a third 32-footer tuna boat came in from a Five Islands, Maine, fisherman. The boatshop's Glenn Holland says.

Another kit boat is going to Matt Finn a Marblehead, Mass., lobsterman. "He sold his other boat and bought this one," Holland says.

Besides the boats for commercial fishermen, Holland picked up orders for two pleasure boats; one will go out as a kit boat, and the other will be finished at Holland's. Lastly, one of Holland's 14-foot skiffs will be built for a Bar Harbor owner.

The phone calls have quieted down now, but Holland isn't complaining.

Over in Walpole, Maine, Flower's Boats has a repowering job coming in once lobster fishing is over for Gary Genthner of Bremen, Maine. A 550-hp Isuzu is coming out of Genthner's Lisa Marie, a 34-foot Ernest Libby, and a 540-hp Iveco will be taking its place.

Genthner has been racing a number of years on Maine's lobster boat racing circuit, so you would think he might be putting some more iron in his boat. Turns out he was looking at a 700-hp engine, but opted for the smaller engine package. Even though the new engine is a few horsepower shy of his current Isuzu, the Iveco will probably give him a boost in speed, as it is 1,000 pounds lighter than the Isuzu.

Before Genthner's boat comes in, Flower's Boatworks is building a 30-footer on spec. The 30' x 10' 8" hull will come out of one of the boatshop's South Shore molds.

The boatshop's crew is also starting on a 33-footer for Todd Davenport, a Connecticut tuna fisherman.

The boat will have a 440-hp Yanmar. She should be delivered in January. Davenport will do much of the finish work. — Michael Crowley


Calif. yard stretches 35-footer; cod fisherman builds own boat

Adding length and width to a fishing boat is not uncommon. You start out with a fairly large boat, extend the bow or stern, push the beam out, and you have an even bigger boat.

What's unusual about the lengthening and sponsoning job that has been going on at Fashion Blacksmith in Crescent City, Calif., is the size of the boat. Soko, a Dungeness crabber, blackcod and tuna boat was hauled out at Fashion Blacksmith measuring 35' x 9'. She was due to go back in the water by mid-October after being stretched out to 42' x 16'.

"This is the first boat we have done that's this small. It's the same process as with other boats but on a smaller scale," says Fashion Blacksmith's Ted Long. "We keep joking that it's the sign of the times. But we do have other bigger sponsoning jobs coming in."

The Soko is owned by John Toller of Eureka, Calif., and was built in 1978 in Moss Landing, which is about 450 miles south of Crescent City.

Long says the Soko's problem was that at 35 feet long and with just a 9-foot beam, "the boat was marginal to do most of his fisheries. He wanted to do this for a long time."

The newly enlarged Soko will be able to stay out longer and carry more fuel, "but the main thing is safety and stability. Toller will be able to flood his holds and will have a lot more deck space," Long says.

Improved stability will also be important when the Soko crosses the bar off Eureka. "Sometimes it gets a little sideways and spooked him pretty good," Long says.

The next step for Toller is to repower the Soko. He is going through the process to obtain environmental funding to replace the boat's current engine with a more emission friendly one. Long says a new engine will improve the Soko's ability to fish closer to rivers. "Sometimes guys want to fish in close because the river feeds most of the good crab grounds," Long says.

In the Pacific Northwest, Neil Anderson is serving as the contractor to build his own boat a 58' x 27' Hockema & Whalen Associates design for Dungeness crabbing and pot fishing for cod.

"There's only been a few boats I've worked with where the owner has been the contractor, but this is far and away the best one," says Hockema & Whalen Associates' Hal Hockema.

Bill Forsell's crew at NPM in Seattle built the hull, mast and did most of the piping.

With a 27-foot beam, this boat is a big 58-footer, but Anderson wants the extra beam — as opposed to a 58-footer with a 25-foot beam, such as the Intangible that was recently launched at Westman Marine in Blaine, Wash., for Eric Rosvold (see "A limitless entry," NF Sept. '09, p. 24) — because of where he will be fishing.

"He'll be fishing cod in the Bering Sea and along the Alaska Peninsula in the winter and wanted a very stable, robust boat. He'll be able to haul a good deckload of pots with it," Hockema notes.

Besides having a good amount of beam, the boat is ruggedly built. "Boats skip over the bottom every once in a while. I like to make the keel very stout, so when they do, there may be a few minor dips but not a keel totally out of alignment," Hockema says.

That's why there's a lot of steel in the keel and the keel shoe. Hockema says 58-footers used to be built with a vertical keel plate about 1-inch thick and a keel shoe 1" x 8". Anderson's boat carries a keel that's 2 inches thick and a keel shoe 3 inches thick and 8 inches wide.

The keel also hangs down below the hull more than normal, 21 inches in fact. Up front is a bulbous bow, and below the prop and rudder a beavertail. Both appendages will help dampen the boat's vertical motion.

To reduce the hull's resistance going through the water and save fuel, the hull's chine is pulled in further than usual. And in the last 10 feet or so before the stern, the hull has a molded shape.

"When the hull is out of the water it looks like there's no chine," Hockema says. — Michael Crowley


Boats built with PVC boards; log boat has major overhaul

James Robert "Trey" Sowers of the Chapel Creek Oyster Co., in Hallieford, Va., just had Myles Cockrell of Cockrell's Marine Railway build him a 20' x 8' x 6" oyster barge out of 1-inch-thick PVC board.

At his Heathsville, Va., boatyard, Cockrell built the barge with a motor well on the stern for a 60-hp Evinrude E-Tec outboard to power the barge to and from Sowers' oyster grounds in the Piankatank River.
There is a standup console for the controls and the railway extended the outboard's tiller handle so the helmsman can steer the barge from the console.

The barge is being used to haul and harvest oysters in 3' x 4' x 18" growing cages that weigh up to 500 pounds when loaded with market-size oysters. The yard installed a fabricated base-plate by the helmsman's station for both a davit and a crane for setting out and hauling the cages.

Cockrell also built a 20' x 7' 9" x 4" deadrise skiff out of 1-inch PVC for Rob Krause of Ninigret Oyster Farm in Charlestown, R.I. A Yamaha 50-hp outboard pushes the self-bailing skiff at 28 mph.

Ninigret Oyster Farm is using the skiff to pot fish for black sea bass. A davit and pot hauler are used for hauling the pots.

The boatyard has been working on traditional Chesapeake Bay deadrise boats. One of the boats was the 42-foot round-stern Miss Candace. Cockrell rebuilt her stern with white oak and epoxy, put new deck beams under the stern's deck and the cabin, installed a new hydraulic steering ram, built a new toe rail, and fiberglassed the collars and washboard.

A new engine box was built with 1-inch PVC, a net platform built and set on the stern, and a gillnet reel installed.

The Miss Candace is owned by Sammy Edwards of Gwynn Island, Va. He gillnets in Chesapeake Bay.

After almost four years, the Chesapeake Bay log boat F.D. Crockett is back in the water. It is about as fit as when Alex Gaines of Seaford, Va., and John Smith of Dare, Va., built her in 1924.

The old crab dredger was given to Deltaville Maritime Museum officials, and even after a marine surveyor made it clear, "the best thing to do with her is burn her," a group of volunteers stayed the course and rebuilt the boat.

Project manager John England said about 75 percent of the F.D. Crockett has been replaced. The volunteer crew saved all of the seven-log bottom, log chunks in the bow and stern, and the mast. They pulled off and rebuilt the side planking above the logs, the fantail stern and the decks. They also rebuilt the wheelhouse, using the original dimensions, door and windows. "We kept as much of the old boat as we could, but there was a lot of rotten wood in her, and it's all gone now," says England.

England, a longtime boatbuilder turned house contractor, has also been a key player in keeping boatbuilders in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina stocked with good boat lumber. He owns J.D. England Co., which specializes in selling juniper (white cedar) planks. England caters to builders of wooden boats and sells boat lumber all over the country.

In September, a Gray Marine 6-71 engine was installed in the F.D. Crockett, and the pilothouse was lifted onto the boat with a crane.

In Bayou La Batre, Ala., Steiner Shipyard sent the last of its refurbished shrimpers to the Republic of Croatia. Steiner Shipyard bought several used shrimp boats at a federal auction in 2006. Russell Steiner, the shipyard's president, says he has two more shrimpers that can be refurbished for just about any commercial fishery.

The boats did not need a great deal of work. The yard sandblasted the steel hulls, rebuilt the Caterpillar engines, added refrigeration, serviced the generators, and performed routine maintenance.

The last boat sent to Croatia measured 90' x 23' x 12' and will be longlining for tuna in the Mediterranean.

Steiner Shipyard is currently building two 120' x 32' barges for a Honduras cruise line. — Larry Chowning

Inside the Industry

It’s no secret that fraud is a problem in the seafood industry. Oceana repeatedly touts a mislabeling epidemic. While their method has been criticized, the perception of rampant fraud  has been established.

Read more ...

The Center for Coastal Studies recently announced that Owen Nichols, Director of the Center for Coastal Studies’ Marine Fisheries Research Program, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the John Annala Fishery Leadership Award by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. 

Read more ...
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