Written by Jen Finn
October 22, 2012
Innovative design? Chix Dig It; Novi is decked for scalloping
A lot of people think there's nothing you can do to distinguish a fiberglass boat from other boats of the same make and model swinging on moorings up and down the coast.
Ask Matt Merchant in West Jonesport, Maine, and you'll get some different feedback. After he launched the Chix Dig It, a Calvin Beal Jr. 44' x 17' 6" (16' 2" at the transom) lobster boat, he says a few people called him who were thinking of building the same hull. They told him they liked the changes he made and would do the same to their boat. The boat "looks better, and it's way more room," says Merchant.
He had Moises Ortiz, who finished off the hull from SW Boatworks in Lamoine, Maine, push the wheelhouse forward 21 inches and install four windows across the front of the house instead of the usual five.
"It's just 21 inches, but you figure it's 21 inches by the whole width of the boat. That's quite a few square feet," Merchant says.
He also likes the increased visibility that comes with four windows. "Instead of looking into five slots, you have a bigger area to see through."
There's no wood in the Chix Dig It. The hull is solid fiberglass, but the top of both the wheelhouse and the trunk cabin are cored with balsa, while the sides are cored with Divinycell. Coosa board, a high-density fiberglass-reinforced polyurethane foam paneling, is used for the deck and supported by fiberglass I-beams.
With two crewmen, Merchant runs 20-trap trawls out the open transom.
The lobsters are held below deck in three floodable tanks large enough for 36 crates.
In the engine compartment is an 800-hp Caterpillar C15 that's matched up with a ZF marine gear with a 2.5:1 reduction that turns a ZF 36" x 40" prop. That power combination pushes the Chix Dig It along at 27 knots. "That's about what I expected," Merchant says, adding that he's "really happy with the boat as far as speed and fuel consumption."
Merchant says he was the first one to change the wheelhouse on a Calvin Beal Jr. 44, but already a lobsterman from nearby Harrington has adopted the idea. Jeff Strout, who also finishes off fiberglass hulls at his boatshop — Harrington River Boat — did the same thing to his 44-footer, says SW Boatworks' Stewart Workman. Strout's boat also has the same Caterpillar C15 main engine as Merchant's.
In Steuben, just a short distance from Jonesport, H&H Marine is continuing the work it was doing last winter. That's when, in between building kit boats, the Down-East boatyard modified several boats, mostly by lengthening them.
Early this fall, the crew at H&H had an older Novi in the shop that was undergoing some extensive rebuilding. The boatyard's Bruce Grindal doesn't know how old the Miss Sarah is or where in Canada she was built but does know that when she left it was as a different boat.
The 40' x 18' fiberglass boat came in as a lobster boat, and when the work on it was completed, she was set up for scallop dragging with a new deck and deck framing. "We ripped out the cockpit floors, floor framing, deck and bulkheads. They were rotten," Grindal says.
The framing had consisted of 2x4s and 2x6s that weren't pressure treated. The new timbers are pressure-treated 4x4s and 4x6s. Over that framework, a deck was built of 3/4-inch plywood and layers of mat and 3205 fiberglass.
Besides building a new fish hold, H&H Marine also constructed a shucking house, "added a new window, a hatch for the trunk cabin and moved some doors around in the cabin," Grindal says.
The area below where the scallop winches are mounted has been beefed up and a new hydraulic system installed.
The boat was trucked to H&H Marine in early August and left the end of September.
Another lobster boat is due to have her deck removed and Grindal says, as winter approaches, they are getting ready to start building new boats.
— Michael Crowley
Bering Sea gets mini-longliner; plenty of activity at Ore. yard
You'd better have a good boat under you and around you when fishing in the Bering Sea, which nine times out of 10 is a very tough place to fish. It's doubly true if you're in a small boat — say 26' x 9'.
That's how Nunivak Island's Ed Kiokun will be longlining next spring when his aluminum 26-footer is shipped north from Alexander Boatworks in Silvana, Wash.
The boatshop's Kim Alexander is known for the setnet skiffs he has built, first at Munson Manufacturing and most recently at Alexander Boatworks. Though the setnet skiffs are close to Kiokun's longliner in size, the longliner's hull isn't the same.
"It's a different hull design because it will be fishing offshore off Nunivak Island in the Bering Sea. It's deeper with a finer entry, V-bottom with 10 degrees of deadrise," says Alexander.
The 26-footer will have a self-bailing deck and a full-width pilothouse with storage space up in the fo'c'sle. The boat will also be used for king crabbing, so both crab and halibut will be held in on-deck totes.
Two 115-hp Yamaha outboards will be mounted on an extension off the stern, which will bring the boat's overall length to 29 feet.
Alexander Boatworks is also building three setnet skiffs for Bristol Bay. Two 23-footers are going to Jerry Vantrease and a 22-footer is going to Corey Arnold. The beam on both boats is 8 feet 4 inches. This will be the second 22-foot setnet skiff Alexander has built for Arnold. The first one was delivered in 2011 (see ATY West, NF April '11, p. 51).
Alexander describes the skiffs as a little bigger than most setnet skiffs, which are "18 to 20 feet and 30- to 32-inch gunwale height." The new skiffs will have 34 inches of freeboard from the deck to the gunwale.
Instead of holding the fish in bins on deck, the skiffs will have a flush diamond-plate deck with pluggable scuppers. The unrestricted open deck allows the salmon to be iced in totes or slush bags. Arnold will have a 90-hp outboard on the back of his skiff.
The aluminum plating on the bottom is 1/4 inch and 3/16 inch on the sides. All three skiffs will be set up with side rollers to bring in the nets.
The skiffs will be shipped north next May, though the first one will be completed in time to be shown at this year's Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle.
Fred Wahl Marine Construction in Reedsport, Ore., continues to turn out 58-footers. Under construction is the Magnus Martens for Robert Thorstenson Jr. This is the brother of Peder Thorstenson, who with Seth Wyman and Scott Hansen had Fred Wahl Marine Construction build them the 58-foot Robert Magnus in 2010. (see "Opus Magnus," NF Jan. '11, p. 30).
Instead of the Robert Magnus' 479-hp Caterpillar C18, the Magnus Martens will have a 600-hp Cummins QSK19 for power with a Twin Disc MCX5222 marine gear with a 5.04:1 reduction.
The boat's pilothouse went on in mid-September and there is a projected launch date of January 2013.
Earlier this year, the Reedsport boatyard launched another 58-footer, the Afognak Strait for Kevin O'Leary and Walter Sargent. With a Mustad AutoBaiter, the Afognak Strait longlines for cod and halibut, as well as pot fishing for cod in the Bering Sea.
The cod and halibut will go into two fish holds with a total area of 3,330 cubic feet. There are also two 330-cubic-foot bait freezers.
Unfortunately for the Afognak Strait, the boat "had only been fishing for a short period when she ran aground and did quite a bit of damage," says Phil Goetschalckx at Fred Wahl Marine Construction. In mid-September the boat was being repaired in Dutch Harbor, he said.
Fred Wahl Marine Construction builds plenty of boats besides 58-footers. The 114' x 31' x 11' Victory, a house-aft crabber and longliner is one such boat. Wahl Fisheries in Reedsport is the owner.
It will have a pair of 960-hp Caterpillar C18 main engines matched up to ZF W650 marine gears with 4:1 reductions. — Michael Crowley
Purse boat is first of its kind; Mexican boats repaired in Ala.
Jimmy Kellum of Kellum Maritime in Weems, Va., built the 40' x 18' In-seine from two 40' x 11' aluminum menhaden purse boats. It's the first purse boat of its kind on Chesapeake Bay.
Kellum works the bay's menhaden snapper fishery, which is a bait fishery that supplies menhaden to blue crab, eel, fish potters and lobster fishermen from Maine to Texas.
A single snapper-rig purse boat works with a larger boat, referred to as a "steamer." The purse boat runs the net out and encircles the fish. Then the steamer's crew pumps the menhaden from the net to the hold.
The traditional purse-boat design hasn't changed for years, and Kellum saw areas where it could be improved. He wanted a boat that was faster, safer, had a self-bailing cockpit, and more room to work. The In-seine gave him all that.
Twin 230-hp Detroit Diesel 6V53 engines connected to Twin Disc marine gears with a 2:1 reduction power the boat. "With two engines we go about 9 knots, rather than 5 knots in a conventional purse boat," says Kellum.
Making one boat out of two allowed Kellum to push the beam out an additional 7 feet, add a deck for a flat working area, and make the cockpit self-draining.
The increased width enabled Kellum to switch from a centerline-mounted power block on a fixed boom to a knuckle-boom. This allows him to hold a net full of fish to the side of the purse boat and lower it. "It's just so much safer not having the purse net over anybody's head," he says.
The new flat deck and self-draining scuppers eliminated the four pumps previously needed to empty the boat of water and "jelly," which are jellyfish that drop from the net into the boat.
Moving down to the Gulf of Mexico, Williams Fabrication in Coden, Ala., is building a steel 105' x 27' x 13' shrimp boat for Dominick Ficarino of Dominick's Seafood in nearby Bayou La Batre.
The Mr. Fic is named after Ficarino's father and is a sistership to the Miss Hannah, which Williams Fabrication built for Ficarino 11 years ago. "People asked me about the boat we are building and I tell them we are building twin sisters and one [Miss Hannah] is 11 years old," says the boatyard's Dale Williams.
A 1,000-hp Caterpillar 3508 is the Mr. Fic's main engine. Williams says he had a hard time finding a Cat 3508.
"Caterpillar has stopped making them. They are one of the best engines around and will last forever. I think that's why they stopped making them. They wanted to get rid of it because it seldom breaks down."
The 3508 (phased out of production because it does not meet the EPA's Tier 3 emissions standards) will work through a Twin Disc MG540 marine gear. A 299-kW generator will supply electrical needs, and there is a 375-hp John Deere diesel to power the hydraulics.
Speaking of hydraulics, Williams Fabrication is refitting deepwater Mexican shrimp boats with new hydraulics. "We did one [boat] as a test run, and they liked what we are doing," says Williams. That resulted in additional boats coming to the Coden boatyard. The work is partially subsidized by the Mexican government in an effort to modernize the country's shrimp fishery, says Williams.
Mechanically driven winches on the Mexican shrimp boats built by McElroy Machine & Manufacturing and Douglas Winch Co. are being replaced with Pullmaster hydraulic winches.
"We like new construction, but in these times we are glad to see this type of work come our way," Williams says.
Last month it was reported that the Deltaville Maritime Museum in Deltaville, Va., had burned. Museum officials are up and running in an effort to rebuild a new facility.
They also got some real good news on Aug. 22. The museum's log-bottom buy boat, the F.D. Crockett, was named to the National Register of Historic Places. This is the official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation and authorized by the National Preservation Act of 1966. — Larry Chowning
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