Written by Jen Finn
Maine shop is packed with new hulls; Rhody yard makes old boats better
"It's crazy around here," says Alice Workman at SW Boatworks. Crazy, as in crazy good. SW Boatworks, which has Young Brothers Boats and Calvin Beal Jr. molds, finishes off hulls, sends bare hulls to finishers and finishes hulls from other builders.
The Lamoine, Maine, boatshop was working on at least six hulls for commercial fishermen at the beginning of December. That doesn't include pleasure boat hulls and a 38-foot Calvin being finished off as a marine patrol boat for the state of Maine, to be called the Dirigo — after the state motto, meaning "I lead."
SW Boatworks divides the boatyard up into a finish shop, layup shop and the just completed two-bay repair shop. The mar ine patrol boat, with a 700-hp Caterpillar C12 engine, was launched out of the finish shop in mid-December. A Calvin 38-foot hull and a 44 Wesmac, both for lobstermen, were due to go into the finish shop.
In the layup shop were two Calvin hulls, a 38 and a 44. Both boats are going out of SW Boatworks as bare hulls without engines. Simmons Boatworks in Friendship, Maine, will finish off the 38. The 44 Calvin is for Justin Wright, a lobsterman in Whiting, Maine.
Workman says hulls move fairly quickly out of the layup shop. There "we do 12 to 15 hulls a year."
Things were crowded enough in the layup shop that a new Calvin 30 hull had to be started in the repair shop. SW Boatworks has sold four hulls and tops for the Calvin 30, but, says Workman, "this is the first one we have been able to finish." It's going to a lobsterman in Down East Maine with a 355-hp John Deere.
Boat owners are already queuing up their boats for spring slots in the layup shop. In line are a 45 Young Brothers for a Massachusetts fisherman, two Calvin 36s, a Calvin 30 and a Calvin 44. As of early December, Workman says two slots were still open.
Down in Wakefield, R.I., Harborside Boat Repair is staying busy, says the boatyard's Rich Fuka. In October, they completed a fairly extensive upgrade on Phil Ruhle Jr.'s 60-foot Novi the Sea Breeze Too.
The Sea Breeze Too's problem was rotten plywood floors in the 100,000-pound capacity fish hold. "The slaughterhouse section over the shaft alley was compromised," says Fuka. "He was going herring fishing and had to get the floor replaced."
The plywood was pulled out and a new NidaCore and fiberglass floor installed that ran up and inside the fish pens. Then Fuka and his partner Steve Perkins made custom hatches from diamond plate. "We molded them into the floor so he would have watertight integrity and still have access to the bilge and shaft. We put in six hatches all the way to the stern bearing."
NidaCore also replaced rotten plywood in the main deck. "We did a fairly large section of deck aft of the net drum," Fuka says.
Since plywood does have a propensity to rot after a period of time, the Sea Breeze Too wasn't the only boat into Harborside Boat Repair with plywood problems.
The 46-foot Novi dragger Defiant, which is owned by Joel Hovanesian and is out of Point Judith, R.I., had its plywood deck replaced underneath the conveyor. "Then we made a cutout for a big stainless steel sump to accommodate the conveyor," says Fuka.
He describes the conveyor "as a classic Point Judith arrangement. It works great with squid and butterfish and any kind of volume. Instead of getting into a pile of fish with a fish pick, you can pick the fish off the conveyor while the boat's towing, or run the conveyor into individual fish holds."
Another project involves turning a 26-footer with a center console, built in 1977 or '78, into a tuna boat that the owner can trailer to go offshore fishing. "We lifted the deck liner out and will replace everything below the deck," says Fuka. All the plywood stringers were replaced with NidaCore and two new fuel tanks were installed. "It makes it a lighter boat taking the plywood out and replacing it with NidaCore." — Michael Crowley
Alaska combo boat has a major rebuild; 58-footer gets not-so-bulbous bow
With its flaring bow; sleek, modern wheelhouse; and raised fo'c'sle deck, a fisherman familiar with boats working out of Kodiak, Alaska, might not realize this was the Ruff & Reddy, were it not for the name painted across the bow.
The Ruff & Reddy started out as a Bender-built Gulf of Mexico shrimper before coming to Alaska in the mid-1970s. Once here, she picked up a stern extension. "It was a cheap way to get more deck space for hauling crab pots," says Fred Wahl of Fred Wahl Marine Construction in Reedsport, Ore., who installed the stern extension.
Last year the 72' x 22' Ruff & Reddy took a break from its crabbing and longlining, and docked at Wahl's boatyard. When she left, a sponsoning job had pushed the beam out to 30 feet and that old stern extension — and some of the hull forward of it — was cut off, tossed and replaced with a new stern.
The crew at Fred Wahl removed and replaced the bow aft of the water tanks and just forward of the engine room. "It had an old Texas deck house on it," says Wahl. "We took that off, raised the fo'c'sle, put a new, great big flaring bow on, new tophouse, new bulwarks, free-standing mast, new shafting, and tore the fish hold apart because it wasn't top quality."
Rebuilding the Ruff & Reddy took some five months and was basically a combination of forces between the boatyard's crew, the crew of the boat's owner, Bill Jacobsen, along with Hockema & Whalen Associates, who did the design work for the hull.
In the fish hold area, voids had been built into the boat in the '70s "because a Gulf shrimper isn't meant to be tanked," says Wahl. The sponsoning allowed these to be removed in the main fish hold, while the space between the old and new hull plating is now voids and fuel storage. Ninety percent of the fish hold was refoamed and fiberglassed.
On deck a new pot launcher, crab davit and picking boom were installed.
A number of 58-footers have been launched in the past year or so by yards that have long been in the fish boat business. But now comes a boatyard that has never built a commercial fishing boat, and the 58-footer it launched has a very different look, especially when seen out of the water.
The builder is Northern Marine, which is the commercial fishing side of New World Yacht Builders in Anacortes, Wash. The third week in November Northern Marine launched the fiberglass 58' x 24' Optimus for John Barry of Silver Bay, Alaska.
Why go into a market with well-established boatbuilders? "Local fishermen were coming to us with the need for a semicustom boat, not just a stock boat," says Northern Marine's Andy McDonald. "They wanted the ability to customize, and everybody wanted a new design, greater capacity and a higher speed."
That translates to a boat packing in excess of 200,000 pounds and traveling more than 10 knots. McDonald says early results have the Optimus "packing over 210,000 pounds below the deck and the boat making 10.8 knots." For power she has a 750-hp Cummins QSK19.
What's most noticeable about the hull and probably the biggest reason the 58-footer exceeds its desired speed is the bulbous bow. Instead of a cylindrical shape extending straight out from the bow, the bulb sweeps up from the forefoot to about the waterline and doesn't go out very far.
The designer, George Roddan of Roddan Engineering in Vancouver, British Columbia, used to be involved with a facility tank testing scale models. McDonald says when that shut down Roddan developed software for computational tank testing.
"Different bulb forms were created by George, and after 10 different bulb shapes were tested, this one met the 10-knot criteria," says McDonald. "The standard bulb just won't cut it."
In addition, a winged beavertail at the stern adds a little lift and helps with the speed.
The resin-infused hull, McDonald says, is "fairly hard chined to help with the rolling, and quite a bit of the stern is in the water for an incredible amount of flotation."
The hull is stoutly built with Kevlar along the stem and where there's a potential for running aground. The hull is 3 inches thick at the keel, an inch on the bottom and close to an inch on the sides. — Michael Crowley
Florida yard turns out scallopers; oyster company offers boat tours
The Atlantic scallop fishery continues to support Southern boatyards, and no one knows this better than Junior Duckworth of Duckworth Steel Boats in Tarpon Springs, Fla.
"We have been busy," says Duckworth. "They are doing well in the scallop fishery, and it is a good thing. It's the only fishery that we are building boats for right now.
"You take the shrimp business: It's depressed, and I don't see how they are making it. But they seem to hang on. That's the way good fishermen are — they hang on in tough times."
The tough times have fortunately eluded Duckworth. In August the boatyard launched the 95' x 28' x 13' scallop vessel Norseman. She was built for Roy Enoksen of Eastern Fisheries in New Bedford, Mass.
The Norseman is the eighth boat Duckworth has built for Eastern Fisheries. "We are very fortunate to have repeat customers," says Duckworth. "If they keep coming back, I guess that means we are doing something right."
The scalloper has a 1,050-hp Caterpillar 3508 that's hooked up to a Reintjes marine gear with a 6:1 reduction. It turns a stainless steel 79" x 71" four-blade prop inside a Kort nozzle. In the engine room is a pair of John Deere generators.
The Norseman has a bulbous bow to increase the boat's speed, range, fuel efficiency and stability. All the piping in the boat is stainless steel.
There are two shucking stations, one on the main deck and another on the fo'c'sle deck. The fo'c'sle deck station is for the skipper to open scallops and still be close to the wheelhouse.
The Reliance, another 95' x 28' x 13' scalloper, is about finished for the O'Hara Corp. of New Bedford, Mass., and construction has started on a 100-foot scalloper for the Seaford Scallop Co. out of Seaford, Va. Beyond that, two more scallopers are scheduled to be built for Eastern Fisheries.
The news in November from Virginia's governor may encourage more watermen to maintain their current boats, refurbish old ones or build new ones. Gov. Bob McDonnell announced that the state's 2012 oyster harvest amounted to 406,000 bushels of oysters with a dockside value of $16.2 million. That includes wild oysters and a dramatic increase in oyster aquaculture.
Although most aquaculture businesses use a different style boat than traditional wooden deadrise designs for harvesting oysters in cages, one firm, Rappahannock River Oyster Co., in Topping, Va., is rebuilding a wooden deadrise oyster boat, not for oystering but as a marketing tool.
Rappahannock River Oyster Co. uses different marketing techniques to sell their product than most other oyster companies. For instance, instead of selling by the bushel, as is traditionally done, they market their oysters by the piece to high-end restaurants in New York, Washington, D.C., and throughout the country.
Another part of the marketing strategy encourages visitors and customers at their Topping, Va., location to see how they grow and harvest oysters. Thus, they need a boat comfortable enough to take groups of people to their oyster grounds.
The 42' x 12' boat that will be used came from the boatshop of Linwood Price who built boats in Deltaville, Va., from the early 1900s to the late 1950s.
Deltaville Boatyard in Deltaville Va., is rebuilding the 42' x 12' boat. In the process, the yard's crew replaced 13 spruce-pine logs — referred to as chunks —in the round stern, and replaced several new planks along the sides of the hull. New deck beams went in, and the wheelhouse was partially rebuilt. Down below, there's a new bilge pump system and floorboards.
Originally, the 42-footer had been an oyster boat, but "she was being used as a commercial charter boat when they bought her," says Deltaville Boatyard's owner Keith Ruse, noting that the charter boat-style house with an extended roof, "lends itself well for carrying passengers in bad weather.
"We are seeing some activity in regards to repairing and saving these old boats. Some of it certainly has to do with the revival of the oyster," he says. — Larry Chowning
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