Written by Jen Finn
'Slippery' tuna boat a favorite; Maine yard builds a Super 46
For a while, there wasn't much demand for larger boats at Holland's Boat Shop, but Glenn Holland's crew kept fairly busy with orders for the Holland 14. That's a 14' 5" x 6' 2" fiberglass skiff that gained notoriety winning numerous races on the Maine Lobster Boat Racing circuit, under the command of Holland's grandson, 13-year-old Gavin Holland.
Lately things have gone in the other direction, with fewer orders for the skiff but plenty of interest in larger boats. The Belfast, Maine, boatshop is building two 32s and a 38, with orders for three more boats when those are complete.
"We're the busiest we've been in years," Holland says. There are a couple of 32-foot pleasure boats — Holland refers to them as "toy boats" — the rest are for fishermen.
Trying to explain the sudden rush of orders, he says, "In a couple of cases they were sick and tired of waiting. They had been waiting three or four years, and they figured if they are ever going to do it, they better do it now."
However, what pushed Matt Finn of Marblehead, Mass., into replacing his current Holland 38 with a new one was "that a guy came along and wanted it awfully bad and offered him a price he couldn't refuse. So he's having another one built," says Holland.
Two 32-footers are going to tuna fishermen. One is going to the Portland, Maine, area. It will be completed at Holland's Boat Shop with an Iveco main engine. Holland isn't saying what the horsepower will be, only that "it'll be enough."
The other tuna boat is for Frank Robinson in Derry, N.H. He previously had a Holland 38, but he now wants a smaller, faster boat. This one will have a 385-hp Cummins for power.
Holland claims tuna fishermen like his boats because they "go fast and are narrower and slipperier through the water than other boats. They get up on a fish better, or so they tell me."
Things are just as active, if not more so, at Wesmac Custom Boats in Surry, Maine, with both lobster and tuna boats.
A father and son team in Vinalhaven, Maine, — James and Harold Poole — are getting 46-foot lobster boats. Both are kit boats being finished off at SW Boatworks in Lamoine, Maine.
Wesmac will complete two 46-foot tuna boats. One is going to Roger Lynam of West Islip on New York's Long Island. "It will have an 1,100-hp Cat C18 and will be a screamer," says the boatyard's Steve Wessel. The other is for Hamilton Wells in Hampstead, N.C. "He fishes from Maine to South Carolina, wherever the fish are, 12 months a year," Wessel says.
In February, Wesmac built the first 38-footer with a four-window house, instead of the usual three, for lobsterman Clayton Whidden in Harpswell, Maine. "It makes the boat a little prettier," Wessel notes. Prior to that, the yard sent two 38-footers to Alaska and Deer Isle, Maine's Zach Heanssler had his Wesmac 46 in for a repower.
Out came a 700-hp Lugger and in went a 1,000-horse C18. "He's 21 years old and likes to go fast," Wessel says. "He'll have the hammer down all day long, burning 40 gallons of fuel an hour — a big grin on his face."
The Surry, Maine, boatyard has another first coming up — the Wesmac Super 46. Wessel says 75 percent of the lobstermen coming to the shop are perfectly happy with the 46-footer's 14-foot 6-inch beam. The other 25 percent "like wide, wide boats that carry huge loads of traps. They've been lining up for years for me to do a wider version of the Wesmac 46. Fishermen been shoving money at me, saying 'Steve you got to do it. We want this boat.'"
So in June the yard will pull the first 46' x 17' 6" hull — the Wesmac Super 46 —from a mold. It's for Jacob Lee, a lobsterman in Friendship, Maine, and will have a 1,000-hp Caterpillar C18 for power. Lash Brothers Boatyard in Friendship will finish off the boat. — Michael Crowley
Alaska yard builds 100th boat; older design works just fine
In 1974 Allen Engebretsen started Bay Welding Services in Homer, Alaska, as a repair and fabrication shop for working on boats in the winter when he wasn't fishing. In 1994 he built his first boat, a seine skiff. Then on April 6 of this year, Bay Welding Services had a party for its 100th boat, a 42' x 14' aluminum boat for the Alaska State Troopers. It will spend much of its time on fishery patrols in the Prince William Sound area and from Yakutat to Kodiak. The 42-footer is also the largest complete boat Bay Welding Services has built.
For power it has three 300-hp Suzuki outboards. "We're expecting it to hit 30 knots," says the boatyard's Eric Engebretsen, who is Allen's son. Besides the boat for the state troopers, Bay Welding Services has a number of fishing boats that have just been completed or are nearly done. That includes a couple of fiberglass hulls the boatshop is finishing off. One is a 39-foot hull from Wegley Boats in Bellingham, Wash., for Mark Mahan in Homer. She will be a sternpicker. Bay Welding is doing all the machinery, metal work, electrical and plumbing.
The second fiberglass hull is the 58-foot seiner Sea Prince from Freddy's Marine, another boatshop in Homer. Bay Welding Services did the electrical systems and all the metal work.
The yard also has a 36-foot landing craft that will jig for cod and be chartered to survey and research companies. Earlier this year Bay Welding Services completed a 32' x 14' bow-well seine jitney. It packs 20,000 pounds of fish and does 17 knots with a 300-hp Suzuki outboard. The deck gear runs off an Isuzu power pack.
You can also throw in four TraktorJet-powered seine skiffs. The most recent one measures 20' 6'' x 10' 6'' with the jet matched up to a 330-hp John Deere.
Down in Fort Bragg, Calif., the fishermen that have recently been coming to Van Peer Boatworks seem to have a thing for designs by Seattle's Jensen Maritime Consultants. Chris Van Peer launched the Jensen designed 58' x 25' purse seiner and crabber Brooke Michelle in June 2012 and has a Jensen-designed combination crabber and longliner nearing completion for Jay and Dawn Gillman of Anacortes, Wash. When that boat goes into the water, probably this June, the yard will have two more 58-foot Jensen designs to build.
The Gillmans' boat, the Anita, is similar to the Brook Michelle, except that it's slightly smaller at 57' x 22' and has less horsepower — a 500-hp John Deere versus the Brooke Michelle's 750-hp Caterpillar 3412. "He wanted to save fuel, and it's more economical to operate," says Van Peer.
The Anita's design goes back to the early years of Jensen Maritime Consultants, when it was B.F. Jensen & Associates and was run by its founder, Ben Jensen.
"Basically it's an updated version of one of Ben's old designs, though we didn't do a whole lot of updating, especially below the main deck," says Jensen Maritime Consultants' Sean Testa.
Above the main deck, the major difference between the designs is in the Anita's aluminum wheelhouse. From the outside it looks like a conventional wheelhouse on a 58-footer. But inside, the house has a longitudinal panel a couple of feet off center, Testa says. On one side of the panel it's an enclosed wheelhouse; on the other the after end is open.
Below the main deck is a bulbous bow, which helps reduce hull resistance and smoothes out the ride.
"The owner wanted a 'porch' so he could step outside of the pilothouse and yet be behind windows and under cover," says Testa.
Like most of the boats that Van Peer builds, the Anita comes with a lot of stainless steel, including the cap rails and rub rails up forward, the bulwarks from the wheelhouse aft and ladders. Plus the fish hold is also lined with stainless steel.
"We've been doing that for the last 15 years, and the guys all want it. There's no maintenance, no rust," says Van Peer. — Michael Crowley
Ala. yard returns to fish boats; oysters, crabs keep bay busy
Raymond & Associates of Bayou La Batre, Ala., is building a 98' x 27' x 14' scalloper for Tichon Seafood Corp. of New Bedford, Mass. Sterling Marine in Gulf Breeze, Fla., designed the boat.
Tichon Seafood owns two scallop vessels, the Patriots and the Raiders, and has been in the seafood business since 1943 selling fish, lobsters and scallops.
The boatyard's Bill Haney says the new boat is replacing the Raiders and will also be taking its name. The scalloper will fish out of New Bedford.
Raymond & Associates is the old LaForce Shipyard that was established in 1975 by Frankie LaForce. From 1979 to 2007, the yard built more than 100 commercial fishing boats. Raymond LaForce established Raymond & Associates on adjoining property in 2005 but it is now all one boatyard.
Raymond & Associates has mostly built towboats, offshore supply boats, deck and tank barges. "We haven't built a commercial fishing boat in four or five years," says Haney. But the boatyard is going back to its roots with the construction of the Raiders.
The scalloper's hull will be plated with half-inch steel on the bottom and after deck, 3/4-inch for the side decks and transom, and 5/16-inch steel on the foc's'le deck and pilothouse.
Down in the engine room will be a 1,000-hp Cummins KTA38 diesel working through a Twin Disc MG-5075 marine gear with a 7:1 reduction gear that turns a four-blade prop.
Besides building the Raider, three shrimp boats were in the yard for repairs in March. "A lot of boys got BP money from the oil spill, and they are putting that money back into their boats," Haney says.
Even though Virginia officially opened its crab and peeler pot season at dawn on March 18, most watermen are wisely waiting for water temperatures to rise enough that the crabs will come out of the mud. Instead of wasting time setting pots, they are working on their boats, building pots and getting ready for warmer weather.
Keith Ruse of Deltaville Boatyard in Deltaville, Va., is hauling boats for both crabbers and oystermen, and most watermen are doing their own maintenance work. "We have several boats scheduled to come in next week for routine maintenance," he says. "We will probably have 30 [wooden] deadrises in here this season. I'm charging them $5 a foot to haul, no daily fees and encouraging them to do their own work.
"Deltaville is no longer a major boatbuilding center as it was just a few decades ago," says Ruse. "It has become the repair capital of the Chesapeake Bay because of the local talent pool." That talent comes from the days when Deltaville was Virginia's center of wooden deadrise boatbuilding.
Deltaville has also become a sailing haven for recreational boats, as the community is located at the tip of the Middle Peninsula, which juts out into Chesapeake Bay. Though Ruse has a tremendous amount of recreational boat work, he says, "I still like to cater to the watermen. The Deltaville community has a great watermen's heritage. We should not forget that."
In addition to crab boats, Ruse also hauled the 60-foot Miss. Delaney, an oyster boat owned by Shores & Ruark Seafood Co. of Urbanna, Va. "We just basically did an annual spring maintenance haul out on the Miss. Delaney," says Ruse. "We painted her bottom and installed new zincs."
Ruse's yard recently purchased a 75-ton Travelift with a 25-foot inside opening. "The main thing about the Miss Delaney was that we had a time hauling her because she's over 24-feet wide — but she was just narrow enough for us to get her in the lift.
"We are seeing more activity with oyster boats as the fishery has begun to come back some. Everyone is glad to see oysters come back," Ruse says.
With the bottom work completed by Deltaville Boatyard, the Miss. Delaney went back to Shores & Ruark's dock for repairs to the outside of the house. She will be used in April to dredge seed oysters in the state sponsored seed-harvesting program out of Virginia's Piankatank River. — Larry Chowning
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