Written by Jen Finn
Wrecks come to Maine yard; Bluenose II gets a total rebuild
Sometimes things get a little congested out on the fishing grounds. A lot of boats can be working a small area in limited visibility, and then there are those pesky ledge poles.
"Guys are always running into each other out there," says Andrew MacCaffray at Clark Island Boat Works in Saint George, Maine. "It keeps us busy."
The last week in October, the Sea Hag, a Calvin Beal Jr. 36, headed back to its home port in New Hampshire. When it arrived at Clark Island Boat Works — a victim of a ledge pole — the front of the hull was a mess.
"They ran into a ledge pole in New Hampshire and blew the front part of the boat apart," MacCaffray says. The boat hit the pole and "stopped in its tracks, from 13.5 knots to zero instantly. It was lucky it didn't sink to the bottom."
Much of the damage was on the front port side. "It crunched in until it got to the front of the trunk cabin. That stopped it," MacCaffray says. Because the damage was extensive, he had SW Boat Works — the hull's builder — lay up a section of the hull and send it to Clark Island Boat Works.
"We were able to cut out the exploded area and then put [the new piece] in like a jigsaw puzzle," says MacCaffray. The newly laminated section and the hull were lined up with wooden blocking on the inside of the hull. Then from the outside "we ground down halfway through the hull and filled it in, until there was a bump on the outside. We sanded that down and jumped to the inside."
The process was repeated until the new fiberglass on the inside met that on the outside. Then the entire outside of the hull was sanded and gel coated. "I felt there would be too much of a difference with a 10-year-old gel coat on one side and brand new gel coat on the other," MacCaffray says.
The 32-foot lobster boat Denise Rene was ready to go back to Owls Head, Maine, at the beginning of November. The Denise Rene was involved in a collision with another boat. The damage wasn't as extensive as with the Sea Hag, but the front deck had to be replaced, and the hull faired and coated with Awlgrip.
Last year Clark Island Boat Works had a 42-foot Wesmac lobster boat in that had been T-boned on a foggy day. "The other boat was almost on top of it," MacCaffray says. "It jumped the side. We ground out 80 percent of the hull and filled it back in."
A rebuilding project on a much larger scale was completed on Sept. 29 when the Bluenose II was launched in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Bluenose II is a copy of the 143-foot cod-fishing schooner Bluenose that was built in 1921 at the Smith and Rhuland Shipyard in Lunenburg.
Bluenose, which was the nemesis of Gloucester fishing schooners in the International Fishermen's Cup races, struck a reef and sank off Haiti in 1946. Then 17 years later in 1963, Bluenose II was built in the same boatyard.
Oland Brewery owned the schooner until 1971 when it was deeded to the Nova Scotia government, where it served as a roving ambassador for the province and Canada.
A boat like Bluenose or Bluenose II wasn't built to last much longer than about 20 years and with the stern of the Bluenose II having hogged about 4 feet, it was decided to rebuild the boat.
"Three companies came together to form one for the rebuilding," says Wayne Walters with the Lunenburg Marine Museum Society, which operates Bluenose II. Snyder's Shipyard, Lunenburg Industrial Foundry & Engineering, and Covey Island Boat Works created Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance to rebuild the Bluenose II over a two-year period for about $17 million.
The hull was completely rebuilt. Three-inch angelique planking went over laminated angelique frames, and the keelson is iroko. Douglas fir was used for the ceiling and edge-grain fir for the deck. "The idea was to use materials that would give 50 years of life without any structural problems," says Walters.
The lower masts were stepped after the boat was launched, and "in the spring she will start operating again," Walters says. — Michael Crowley
Crabber jacks up horsepower; fiberglass 58s built for Alaska
This fall the crew at Hansen Boat Co. in Everett, Wash., is repowering three boats. "This is a little unusual for us," acknowledges the boatyard's Gary Hansen. There's usually plenty of activity at this yard, but repowers are not very common.
One of the three boats, the 123-foot crabber Kari Marie, left the yard the first week in October with a pair of new 660-hp Cummins QSK19s bolted down to her engine beds.
The last week of October, the 58-foot Devotion was still being worked on, and the 69-foot longliner Kariel had tied up.
The Seattle-based Kari Marie, owned by Jon Forsythe and his father-in-law Alf Forde, came into the Hansen boatyard with a pair of 340-hp Detroit 12-71s. "The old engines had been rebuilt several times. It was time to go to something new, something a little more fuel efficient and gaining horsepower at the same time," Hansen says.
Repowering the crabber was more complicated than simply pulling one set of engines and dropping in new iron. The Cummins diesels were appreciably larger than the Detroits, so the yard crew removed an existing engine-room bulkhead to accommodate them.
With almost double the horsepower, "everything went bigger," Hansen says. That includes new stern tubes, shafts — 5 inches in diameter and 18 feet long — engine beds, exhaust system and keel coolers. The props went from three-blade bronze with a 58-inch diameter to four-blade stainless with a 66-inch diameter.
The bigger everything power package means an increase in speed from 7 1/2 or 8 knots to 11 1/2, Hansen says. "With one-quarter to one-third more speed, she'll be able to shave some time off" her runs, he notes.
The 58-footer in for a repower is the Devotion, owned by Sam Mutch in Kodiak. (Mutch and Matt Hegge in Soldotna, Alaska, took delivery of the Hansen Boat Co.-built 58-foot Anthem in February 2012.) Hansen Boat Co. built the Devotion in 1982.
A 520-hp Caterpillar 3412 was pulled out of the Devotion and 600-hp Caterpillar C18 went in. Hansen says, "he was looking at getting a more fuel efficient engine."
The 69-foot Kariel, owned by Steve Fish in Port Alexander, Alaska, is having a Cummins main engine removed and replaced with a John Deere.
Alaska fishermen do like the fiberglass 58-footers that come out of Little Hoquiam Shipyard in Hoquiam, Wash. The three most recent ones were the Leading Lady in Cordova, the Invincible in Kodiak and the Infinite Grace that fishes out of Homer.
Currently, Howard Moe and his crew at Little Hoquiam Shipyard are building a 58' x 24' combination boat for a fisherman in Chignik, Alaska. This is similar to previous 58-footers but wider by 2 feet and 10 inches shallower, because "he fishes Chignik Lagoon," Moe says.
The 58-footer also carries a lot of more power than usual. In the engine room are two 873-hp Caterpillar C18s. The owner "wants the power to be able to move when fishing herring or to get out of trouble," says Moe. The boat will pot fish for cod and crab, and purse seine for salmon and herring.
Below the deck, which is built up of two layers of 1-inch cross-linked PVC core material with a layer of fiberglass in between, are two fish holds. Both will have refrigerated seawater, but a blast freezer will go in the aft hold to freeze salmon to get a better price, Moe says.
In another part of Moe's boatshop is a 32-foot Bristol Bay gillnetter he built 30 years ago. It is getting a new flush deck, refrigeration and a new 300-hp John Deere replaces a Volvo.
"The boat looks just like when we built it. There are a few nicks, but it's not bad," Moe says. — Michael Crowley
Fish boat has a second chance; skipjack is saved from sinking
The 72-foot Ocean View has come home to the Chesapeake and was recently on the rails at Smith's Marine Railway in Dare, Va.
Maryland waterman Bunky Chance of Talbot County found the Ocean View in Port Norris, N.J., where she had been working in Delaware Bay's oyster fishery before being laid up in a cove for several years.
He used the Ocean View from April to August in Maryland's Department of Natural Resources' oyster restoration project. The Ocean View is ideal for the program in that the wooden boat was built to harvest and plant oysters, and she's big enough to hold a lot of oyster seed and shell.
Tim Smith of Smith's Marine Railway says they did routine bottom work on the Ocean View, including caulking seams and painting the bottom.
"The Ocean View has been worked hard," says Smith, "but her hull is not in bad shape. She's going to be a good boat for what Bunky is going to be doing with her.
"Bunky is looking at it as a workboat," adds Smith, who notes that many wooden buy boats are being converted to yachts. "He told somebody, 'I'm not a collector. I got this boat to work.' It's neat to see the Ocean View back on the Chesapeake and going back to work."
Chance took six tons of steel rigging off the Ocean View to get her ready for oyster planting. "She really worked out good for us this summer," he says. "We had to do a lot of work on her ourselves to get her in shape. But she paid for herself, and I'm very pleased with that."
The 72' x 24' 6" Ocean View was designed by Carl T. Forsberg, in Freeport, N.Y., and built in 1949 by Linwood Price of Deltaville, Va., for J.H. Miles & Co. of Norfolk, Va., once one of the largest oyster firms in the state.
Waterman Nathan "Dupy" Garnett of Water View, Va., has his wooden 42-foot Traveller on the rails at Schroeder Yacht Systems in Urbanna, Va. Schroeder Yacht Systems encourages watermen to use the boatyard with reduced hauling rates for commercial fishermen and allows them to work on their own boats.
Garnett gillnets in the spring for baitfish that he uses in the hard-crab and peeler-crab fisheries during the warmer months. In the winter, he takes the Traveller oyster dredging.
At Schroeder Yacht Systems, Garnett was getting ready to paint the bottom of his boat. First he had to pull the dredge guard off to paint under it and inspect the planking. The dredge guard is a half-inch-thick, 6-foot-long piece of plywood running longitudinally along the starboard side, from the washboard guard down over the chine and then flush with the bottom edge of the cross-planked bottom boards.
Garnett is a true waterman of the south, as reflected in his boat's name, which matches — including spelling — that of the war horse ridden by Gen. Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War.
Moving over to Maryland's Eastern Shore, the skipjack Kathryn built in Crisfield in 1901 is undergoing major repairs. She's an unusual skipjack, as she is fore-and-aft planked along her bottom. Most skipjacks are cross-planked.
At the 52nd annual Skipjack Race and Festival at Chance, on Deal Island, in August 2011, the Kathryn began taking on water when a plank loosened up. With the help of numerous individuals, the Kathryn was kept afloat long enough to reach Scott's Cove Marina in Chance.
When she was hauled, the crew noticed structural problems and called in noted shipwright Mike Vlahovich to help with what has turned out to be a major restoration. Vlahovich is also the founding director of Coastal Heritage Alliance, a non-profit group dedicated to the advancement of this country's commercial fishing heritage. Part of that heritage is preserving historically important boats, such as the Kathryn.
"We are using Coastal Heritage Alliance to do the master shipwright work," says the Kathryn's owner, Harold "Stoney" Whitelock. He estimates the boat will be back in the water in about a year. Then it will be used for oystering and carrying passengers. — Larry Chowning
The Downeast Salmon Federation has received a major grant from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities to ensure and improve the water quality of eastern Maine’s most important rivers, according to the Ellsworth American.
Read more... Louisiana crab fishermen and their catch are feeling the pressure of a downturn in the state economy, and a resulting upturn of people entering the fishery. “It’s a crazy business right now,” said Pete Gerica, the New Orleans fisherman who now serves as president or the Louisiana Crab Task Force, a legislatively-created board of industry voices that makes recommendations to state government.
La. crabbers face management changes
Louisiana crab fishermen and their catch are feeling the pressure of a downturn in the state economy, and a resulting upturn of people entering the fishery.
“It’s a crazy business right now,” said Pete Gerica, the New Orleans fisherman who now serves as president or the Louisiana Crab Task Force, a legislatively-created board of industry voices that makes recommendations to state government.