Yard resurrects fast tuna boat;
satisfied customers come back
Take a prototype engine packing a fair amount of horsepower, match it up with a lightweight hull, and you have a potent combination. At least that's what Mark Hubbard thinks — and hopes.
Hubbard operates Finestkind Boatyard in South Harpswell, Maine. He built the rod-and-reel tuna boat Ari, a 38' x 11' 9" Spencer Lincoln design for Dennis Andrews in Wells, Maine, 16 years ago.
Andrews fished the boat for a few years and then — the casualty of a divorce — the Ari was hauled out. Nine years later, "she's going back in the water, and we've completely repowered, rewired and replumbed it," Hubbard says.
The Finestkind crew pulled a 430-hp Cummins C-series out of the boat and put in a prototype 6.7-liter Cummins. "We are hoping for something north of 600 [horse power]," Hubbard says. And he won't be surprised if the boat pushes past 50 knots.
The hull was built of lightweight DuraKore and then covered with epoxy and fiberglass. The rest of the boat has a balsa core. Hubbard says, "When we did the boat there were enough balsa-core panels that the boat is unsinkable." A recent survey, he says, showed the core to be in very good shape.
The Cummins diesel is hooked up to a ZF V-drive, which allows the engine to be a good 4 feet aft of the main bulkhead. Moving the engine's weight further back than normal allowed the boat to be designed with a fine entrance.
The Ari has 10 degrees of deadrise at the transom that is carried all the way forward. "It has a half-degree buttock angle, so it's a very flat run. It doesn't pick up much when running, and because of that you can go through a 6-foot chop at 26 knots and have the coffee cup on the dash. It won't pound. With the 430-hp Cummins it would do 40 knots," Hubbard says.
Needless to say, Hubbard is "looking forward to seeing what happens with the new engine. It's a little bit lighter and a lot more horsepower." He and Andrews expected to know by the end of May.
When you are a boatbuilder, you know fishermen trust the work you've done for them when they bring their boats back for repairs and to be repowered. That was certainly the case at Farrin's Boatshop in Walpole, Maine, when Richard Nunan and Peter Wildes — two Cape Porpoise, Maine, lobstermen — brought their boats in to be worked on.
Nunan's Rhiannon is a 35-foot Mitchell Cove that Farrin's Boatshop finished off in 1998. This time Nunan was in to have the 71 Volvo with 380 horsepower pulled out and replaced with a new 500-hp Caterpillar C9. The Volvo had 18,000 hours on it and had been rebuilt once before.
Nunan might have gone with a smaller diesel, but "there wasn't much in the market with the low horsepower that he wanted — around 400 — and would have fit in the same spot," says the boatyard's Bruce Farrin Jr.
The bigger engine is saving Nunan time and energy. "He's dropped the steaming time to the fishing grounds by 45 minutes and burns 3 gallons less in fuel," says Farrin.
Putting the new engine in the boat required new engine mounts. The boatshop crew also replaced the dry exhaust system beneath the deck and the inside stuffing box, and installed a new 2-inch shaft.
The old shaft had 20,000 hours on it. "It was worn enough that he didn't trust it. We didn't trust it," Farrin says. In addition, a new 28" x 30" prop with 3 inches of cup took the place of the old 26-inch-square prop.
The Rhiannon left Farrin's Boatshop April 16. Three days before, the shop was completing the installation of a new hydraulic system in Wildes' 35-foot Duffy & Duffy that Farrin's Boatshop finished off in 1984.
"He went to an on-demand hydraulic system for a 14-inch hauler, steering and Pacer pump. It will give him more power and speed," Farrin notes.
The boat had been in some years before to be repowered with a 260-hp Cummins. Now that engine has 11,000 hours on it, and Farrin expects that next winter Wildes will be bringing his boat back to Walpole for another repowering job. — Michael Crowley
Alaska power scow is rebuilt;
boatyard widens its bowpicker
Several boats from Oregon as well as tenders from Alaska have been hauled this winter at Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-op in Port Townsend, Wash. "We're having a record year, and it's all based on commercial work," says the boatyard's Chris Chase.
The boat closest to being a complete basket case when she pulled into Port Townsend was the 85-foot power-scow Muskrat. The boat was tied to the dock in Kodiak, the crew asleep, when a 110-foot crabber traveling at 8 knots T-boned her.
Somehow the crew patched things up enough that the Muskrat made it from Kodiak to Port Townsend under her own power. "She was pumping water pretty ferociously when she got here" in October, Chase notes.
The Muskrat is a wood power scow built in the 1940s with steel plating over the deck and on the sides. In a five-month rebuilding job, the co-op team removed the steel plating, wood framing and planking, and then rebuilt the boat. "We took off a substantial part of the deck and one side of the boat," Chase says.
Two other wooden tenders were in for repairs. The 75-foot Bainbridge was getting new electrical systems and having the wheelhouse repaired. The 80-foot Misty Moon was also getting a new electrical system, and the yard was building her a new fish hold with refrigerate seawater cooling from Integrated Marine Systems.
Those are wooden boats, and though many people associate Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-op with repairing wooden boats, steel repairs have become an important part of the boatyard's business. "It's about 50 percent of the work this year," Chase says.
Three of those steel boats are from Oregon, the Rocky B, the Granada, and the Swell Rider.
The 70-foot Rocky B fishes Dungeness crab off Oregon and longlines in Alaska. She got a new shaft, bearings and prop, and had her wheelhouse redone.
The 70-foot Granada is a crabber and shrimper. The co-op crew removed all the steel in the shaft alley, installed a new shaft tube, and rebuilt the fish hold.
The 80-foot shrimper and crabber, Swell Rider, got a paint job, electrical work and a new exhaust system.
In Homer, Alaska, Bay Welding Services sea trialed the Tazlina, a new 32' x 12' 10" aluminum bowpicker on April 24 for local fisherman Bruce Petska.
Petska's boat will fish the Copper River and Prince William Sound, which is part of the reason the boat is 2 feet wider than Bay Welding Services' standard bowpicker. "It was built as much for fishing deepwater in Prince William Sound as it was for the Copper River, so it's heavier and larger than Copper River boats," says Bay Welding Services' Eric Engebretsen. "It also makes for a cleaner layout in the engine room and cabin, and increased carrying capacity."
The bowpicker's five individual fish holds take two bags each, which works out to about 12,000 pounds.
It pays to have water jets on the Copper River, which is another reason for the nearly 13-foot beam. Water jets were "one of the considerations for building wider. We knew we would have a heavier boat and wanted more boat to displace the weight, so we were not sitting lower in the water," says Engebretsen.
Two 15-inch Traktor jets from NamJet (previously North American Marine Jet) are hooked up to 364-hp FPT/Iveco N60s. Those engines are there because, at just under 1,400 pounds each, they were the only ones in "this weight and horsepower class that we could get keel cooled," Engebretsen says.
On sea trials, Petska's boat hit 34.6 mph at 86 percent engine load, with 1 mile per gallon fuel consumption. She made 19 mph with 10,000 pounds on board.
The engines are a little oversized for the boat in terms of horsepower, but they will allow Petska to throttle back and not work the engines quite as hard as he would have to with the 300-hp model, which weighs the same.
These are the first FPT/Iveco engines installed in a boat built at Bay Welding Services. Engebretsen says that so far he really likes the engines. "Iveco is not a mainstream engine, but they are gaining a presence up here." — Michael Crowley
Builder finally gets to plywood;
travel lift passes squeeze test
A new Northern Neck tow skiff was launched at Winegar's Marine Railway in White Stone, Va., the third week in April. Cathy Davenport and her son, Bill Davenport III, built the skiff for the spring pound-net fishery.
Bill will use the 20' 6" x 5' skiff to haul the net and harvest fish from inside his stationary pound nets.
Cathy and her husband, Bill Davenport II, operate Dymer Creek Seafood and Winegar's Marine Railway. Cathy, one of only a few female boatbuilders on the Chesapeake, has built planked-up seine skiffs, but that was 37 years ago. She had never built a plywood skiff.
"When we started it, I was not all that excited about it because I never have been much on plywood," she says. "When we finished her I really was surprised at how strong she is and how clean she went together."
Since Davenport hadn't built a skiff in a long time, she was concerned about laying it out properly, with 2 inches of rise in the bow and 6 inches in the stern. The rise in the bow and stern provide a smooth ride when towed, Cathy says.
Wanting to get things right, she called on longtime Deltaville, Va., boatbuilder Robert Green to help with the important early cuts.
The skiff's sides and decks are half-inch plywood, while the bottom sheets are 3/4 of an inch thick. All seams are fastened with galvanized screws and covered with West Epoxy system.
The keel is 1 1/2-inch spruce pine. The transom is made up of two 1 1/2-inch-thick spruce-pine boards pinned together with galvanized round iron pins. The bilge clamp and knees are spruce pine, with the knees 2 feet apart.
Wave Rider Manufacturing in Topping, Va., is fiberglassing the hull. Wave Rider's Richard Hundley says the skiff will have two layers of fiberglass on the outside and only one on the inside to keep the weight down.
The debate over which is better — a marine railway or a travel lift — to haul a wooden fishing boat more than 50 feet long is ongoing among some owners of wooden boats. John England is the project manager of the Deltaville Maritime Museum's F.D. Crockett, a 62' x 16' log boat built in 1924 that was a buy boat and dredged for oysters. The F.D. Crockett has always been hauled out on a railway, but this year England decided to use the travel lift at Deltaville Boatyard in Deltaville, Va.
"Big boats need support all the way along the keel," England says. "I picked a travel lift with two pairs of straps because I wanted her to have plenty of support along her keel.
"I was concerned that she might sag between the straps, droop in the middle, and I was concerned the straps would squeeze her together, which is not an issue with a railway."
England ran a string from the forward to the after bulkhead in the hold. He pulled it tight across vertical support pieces and marked the string's position on the vertical pieces so when the 27-ton Crockett came out of the water, he could monitor any movement. "If there was sagging, the little marks on the vertical members would have moved up or down relative to the string," he says.
To measure any crushing movement, England took several sticks and ran them diagonally from deck beams to the chine and knees. "I marked a reference point at the frame and chine so if there was movement up or down on the stick it would show. I did that at two or three different spots and monitored it as the boat was being pulled out of the water."
There was no movement on the sticks that went from the deck beam to the chine, he says. The string showed that the boat did sag 3/16 of an inch, which is about what it does on a railway, he added.
"I felt we had as good or better an experience than we have hauling her some years on a railway," England says.
— Larry Chowning
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