Written by Jen Finn
Lobster boat goes clamming; crabber is built for PEI tribe
About 16 years ago, Farrin's Boatshop in Walpole, Maine, finished off a 40-foot Young Brothers hull as a lobster boat for Mike Theiler of Waterford, Conn. At the end of 2009, she was back in the shop for some major remodeling work, as Theiler will use the boat for clamming as well as lobstering.
Clamming requires a gantry-style affair with an electric motor mounted on it to pull up a clam dredge weighing between 1,500 and 1,800 pounds. The load in the dredge is then dumped on deck, while the dredge stays above the deck. Given those kinds of loads, most of the work Farrin's Boatshop did involved building a new and more-rugged working platform.
The old plywood-and-fiberglass deck was replaced with a composite deck of fiberglass and a core material made by Coosa Composites.
"It's very dense. It's like Penske board, and glass adheres very well to it," says boatshop owner Bruce Farrin.
The yard used Coosa's Nautical 24, which has a density of 24 pounds per cubic foot, as the core material. Coosa's Web site says the material is "37 percent or more lighter than plywood."
Half-inch-thick bridge tiles were laid over the new composite deck. It's good they saved weight using the Coosa panels, because bridge tile is not light: Each tile weighs 10 pounds.
"They are great, but they are heavy," Farrin notes.
To support the clam rig, the yard used 4" x 4" spruce timbers as a foundation.
"They were bolted into carrying timbers and secured to bulkheads," Farrin says. "She'll take the abuse."
A large rubber bumper is fastened where the dredge hits the stern as it is hauled back, and above that is stainless steel. A section of the transom was cut out so the dredge can be hauled in.
When lobstering, Theiler can close off the open transom using either pen boards or the now-removable transom panel.
"He can haul a few traps with the clamming rig onboard, but it won't be convenient. He'll do clamming a few months and lobster the rest," Farrin says.
In April, Farrin's Boatshop will start repowering a pair of 42-foot lobster boats for two South Bristol, Maine, fishermen: Clay Gilbert's Elizabeth Jane and Terry Lagasse's Bossy Lady III.
Both boats are being repowered courtesy of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection's Clean Marine Engine Program. The program utilizes federal stimulus-program money to fund 50 percent of the cost of a new diesel engine that meets Tier II emission requirements.
A Detroit Diesel 8V-92 is coming out of the Elizabeth Jane and being replaced with a 470-hp Cummins QSM11. The Bossy Lady III is exchanging what Farrin says was one of the first Detroit Diesel 60-series engines for a new Tier II-friendly, 60-series diesel.
North of the Maine border, in Lower Wedgeport, Nova Scotia, LeBlanc Brothers Boatbuilders has been building boats for Canadian and U.S. fishermen for 40 years.
But the yard is just now building the first boat destined for Canada's Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The 45' x 23' fiberglass boat with hard-chine hull is being built for the Abegweit First Nation, which will target snow crab. The crabber's fish hold measures 5' deep x 22' wide x 21' long. The hold will be neither floodable nor have refrigeration.
"They just let the crabs go loose in the hold," says Neil LeBlanc, one of the yard's owners. They can do that because the water where the crabs are harvested is extremely cold, and the hold, like the hull, has 3 inches of insulation on the bottom and sides.
To fish the 5- and 7-foot crab pots, the crew will use a mast-and-boom arrangement. The boom, outfitted with a 17-inch hauler, swings outboard to haul the pots and then is pulled inboard with the pots.
In the engine room, a 400-hp Daewoo will be matched up to a Twin Disc marine gear with a 3:1 reduction turning a 36-inch, four-blade prop. LeBlanc says the boat will cruise at 8 to 9 knots with a top speed of 11 knots. — Michael Crowley
Salmon bowpickers in demand; burnt-out shop does rebuild
"I'm slammed," says Charlie Reynolds, of Reynolds Marine in Anchorage, Alaska.
Reynolds opened his boatbuilding shop in January 2008 and, for the first 10 months, was the shop's lone employee. During that time he built one boat and extended a yacht. Now he has 14 employees, six aluminum bowpickers to finish by May, with another slated for summer, a 40-foot landing craft to build and fishermen talking about more orders.
The six bowpickers are going to gillnetters in the Cordova salmon fleet, and all are Reynolds Marine designs. Five of the boats are 32 feet and 6 inches long, while the sixth is a 30-footer.
The smaller bowpicker's landing-craft hull design also sets it apart from the other five. Reynolds says the boat's owner chose a landing-craft design because it would let him do other things besides fish. She'll have a pair of 175-hp Honda outboards on the transom.
Dual 300-hp Kodiak Marine 6.0 gasoline engines hooked up to Doen DJ100G water jets with 10-inch impellers power two of the larger boats.
"A lot of people are watching to see how the new Doen jets will perform," Reynolds says.
Another bowpicker has twin Kodiak Marine 6.0 engines, but they are connected to HamiltonJet HJ213 water jets.
Diesel power isn't shut out in the current crop of boats Reynolds Marine is building. The last two bowpickers due for completion in May both have a pair of Yanmar 6LP diesels matched up with a HamiltonJet HJ274 water jets.
"It's a new engine, and I ordered the first four," Reynolds notes.
Choosing diesel instead of gasoline adds about $40,000 to the boat's price.
"A lot of guys just like diesel," Reynolds says, listing several possible reasons: It's safer and better suited for use in an oil-response boat, and it might be easier to find diesel fuel, because so many of the boats in the Cordova fleet are gasoline powered.
The 40-foot landing craft at Reynolds Marine is strictly an oil-response boat. Top speed for the bowpickers and landing craft will be between 37 and 41 knots.
In Hoquiam, Wash., Howard Moe is building two 58-foot fiberglass purse seiners for Alaska fishermen in his Little Hoquiam Shipyard. One will be home-ported in Kodiak and one in Homer.
"It's been nine or 10 years since we've built a purse seiner," Moe says.
A difference between the two boats is that one measures 23 feet in width and the other, 20 feet. The smaller boat also has the engine room in the stern.
"We designed the boat from scratch with the idea of putting the engine aft and then had an architect check it for all the different packing conditions. It will load uniformly in all conditions," Moe says.
Four inches above the cored-fiberglass deck is a false deck featuring an opening over the engine room for a hatch coaming large enough to pull a diesel engine through.
On the hatch's forward end, Moe says, there will be another built-up coaming with a 24" x 24" Freeman Marine hatch. This hatch opens to a stairway behind the fish hold that leads into the engine room. The net will be piled behind the hatch.
A vent just aft of the pilothouse will bring air to the engine room. Another vent alongside is for engine-room exhaust.
John Deere 6125 engines rated for 526 horsepower at 2,300 rpm are going into both boats, along with a 65-kW main generator and a 25-kW hotel genset.
Each purse seiner will also have two floodable fish holds set up for refrigerated seawater.
Buffalo Boats in Bellingham, Wash., which has sent a lot of its boats into the Dungeness-crab and salmon fisheries, is rebuilding a 26-footer it launched Oct. 1, 2009. The rebuild is the result of a fire at Buffalo Boats in December; the crab boat was inside the building when it caught fire and burned down.
Roger Allard, owner of Buffalo Boats, says he will start rebuilding the boat in a new structure. Work was expected to begin in early February. Allard will also be building a couple of boats for recreational boat owners. — Michael Crowley
Yard builds three scallopers; a clammer gives up on glass
In early January, Williams Fabrication in Coden, Ala., had three steel scallopers under construction. Two of them will be for scalloping and longlining.
Nearly finished was the 90' x 27' x 14' Growler for Lars Vinjerud II of Fleet Fisheries in New Bedford, Mass.
On the stern is a shelter for baiting longline gear and storing buoys and radio beacons. The fish hold has a wide aluminum ladder for safer access than a standard pipe ladder, says Dale Williams, president of Williams Fabrication.
The Growler has a 700-hp Lugger six-cylinder diesel for propulsion. The Lugger will work through a Twin Disc marine gear with a 6:1 ratio to turn a 6-inch stainless steel shaft and an 80-inch, five-blade Rolls-Royce prop.
The boatyard has just started a 102' x 30' x 15' combination boat. She is also going to Vinjerud's Fleet Fisheries and will be the seventh boat Williams Fabrication has built for the company. Because she's going after scallops and finfish, there's a large fish hold — 10,000 cubic feet.
"He is building the boat so it can be used for other things than just scalloping," Williams says.
The third boat — strictly a scalloper — measures 97' x 29' x 14'. She is for Nelson Fishing Co. of Dartmouth, Mass. The Vanquish has a bulbous bow with a 110-hp, 22-inch Speedy Marine bow thruster.
A 1,100-hp Caterpillar 3508 will power the Vanquish with a ZF marine gear with a 5.63:1 ratio that turns a 6-inch stainless-steel shaft and four-blade Rolls-Royce 85-inch prop.
Moving up to Chesapeake Bay, Ed Payne, 79, of Urbanna, Va., opted not to sell his commercial crab-pot license to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, as several of his contemporaries did. Instead, Payne chose not to retire and is having a new crab boat built.
The commission is buying back crab and peeler pot licenses to reduce the number of commercial crab fishermen in Virginia's portion of the bay.
Payne has worked the water all his life and now fishes with his grandson, Bryan. For years, Payne worked out of a 22-foot, outboard-powered deadrise skiff built by Edward Diggs of Mathews County, Va. He decided several years ago to sell the wooden boat and go with a 22-foot fiberglass skiff.
"That was a big mistake," Payne says. "Wood is so much better. I've cussed that fiberglass skiff so much. Every time we'd go down the river to fish our pots on a slick-calm day and start working back towards home, when the wind picked up any amount, we'd get soaking wet. Worse than that, she will beat you to death."
Payne tried to buy back his old wooden boat, but at the time the owner was not interested in selling. So he went over to Reedville Marine Railway in Reedville, Va., and contracted with George Butler to build him a 23' x 8' deadrise skiff.
Butler is building Payne's skiff with juniper for the strip-planked sides and cross-planked bottom. White oak is for the stem, sternpost and frames. The fir keel is made from a 6" x 8" timber. There are fir sister keelsons along the keel to stiffen the hull.
Payne will power his skiff with a new 90-h.p. Suzuki outboard. He is currently pricing engines locally.
"I'm looking for the best price, but I don't buy engines from a man who can't work on it," Payne says.
"I've learned about that the hard way. If you buy it from them and they can repair it, they are going to work hard to fix you up when you are broke down.
"Crab season doesn't last all year. You've got a window of opportunity to catch crabs and that window closes quickly when your boat is not running," he says.
Payne also plans to work his new skiff in the winter oyster-dredge fishery on the Rappahannock River.
"The dredges are so small [22 inches wide] that even an old man like me can work it," Payne says. "My new boat is going to be just the right size to work a small oyster dredge." — Larry Chowning
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