Written by Jen Finn
Mass. scalloper bucks a trend;
lobster boats get stretched out
The week before Christmas, the 1,000-hp Caterpillar 3508 in the scalloper Concordia's engine room was fired up for the first time.
The 95' x 28' scalloper was launched at Fairhaven Shipyard Companies in Fairhaven, Mass., on Dec. 2. It's not only the first scalloper the boatyard has built, but also the first steel scalloper built in Fairhaven. In the past plenty of wooden scallopers came out of Fairhaven boatyards, but not steel.
These days, new scallop boats built for the New England and Mid-Atlantic fishery come out of the south, mostly Alabama and Florida.
The boat's owner, Malvin Kvilhaug, bucked the trend of going south to have a scalloper built because "the price was competitive and convenience," says Garrett Norton of Farrell & Norton Naval Architects, which has offices in Newcastle, Maine, and Fairhaven. Farrell & Norton designed the Concordia.
Sea trials were scheduled for early January. Then final stability calculations will be made, ballasting work done if necessary, and the fish hold will be completed, says the boatyard's Kevin McLaughlin.
In the meantime, five scallopers and three draggers were hauled out at the Fairhaven boatyard for repairs. One boat came up from New Jersey, two from Rhode Island, and the rest are local boats from the Fairhaven and New Bedford region.
The New Jersey scalloper is the Grand Larson III out of Barnegat Light. She was hauled out to be lengthened, going from a registered length of 66.3 feet to 73 feet, Norton says.
The hull was cut "right aft of the fish hold, pulled apart, and they put a plug in the middle," Norton says. The shaft had to be lengthened to accommodate the new midship section.
Norton says the boat was lengthened to gain deck space and improve stability.
"She was a little boat when she came in," Norton says. And while it's easy to think that the 7 feet that's just been gained doesn't amount to much, the extra space is important, as Norton notes, "when working around the dredges."
The yard gave another scalloper a nozzle. The remaining boats received general maintenance work, such as new zincs, shaft and rudder repairs.
At H&H Marine in Steuben, Maine, some kit boats were being laid up for lobstermen along the Down East coast and at least three lobster boats will be lengthened for fishermen in nearby towns.
One kit boat was a 47' x 19' 6" hull into which the H&H Marine crew put a Cummins QSM11, along with the shaft and the rudder. A Divinycell cored top will be fiberglassed to the hull before it leaves the shop.
That hull is going to a lobsterman in Lubec, about 40 minutes to the east. "That's the first large boat we've sent to Lubec in quite a while," says H&H Marine's Bruce Grindal.
A wide-body 42 — 42' x 17' 6" — hull was being built for a fisherman in Harrington. He'll drop a 750-hp Iveco onto its engine beds.
A Machiasport fisherman will finish off another wide-body 42 kit boat with a 610-hp John Deere 6135.
"All three boats will be fishing in the winter and out a pretty good distance," Grindal says. "You've got Bucks Harbor, Machiasport, guys from Cutler right across there, and around the corner the guys from Lubec. They go offshore, up near the Canadian line."
An H&H Marine 40-footer and a 42-footer, both from nearby Milbridge, will have 4 feet added to their length.
An H&H Marine 40-footer from the island of Vinalhaven, which is in Maine's Penobscot Bay, is also being extended 4 feet.
The boat's owner came to H&H Marine to have his boat lengthened after another Vinalhaven fisherman had the same work done a year earlier.
"This guy fishes in the same area. He saw the boat and liked it and came to us," Grindal says. — Michael Crowley
Factory trawler gains 14 feet;
boatyard updates gillnetters
In 1984 a significant launching took place at Moss Point Marine (known today as VT Halter Marine) in Escatawpa, Miss. It was the Amfish, a 220' x 36' 6" vessel that went to the East Coast's shrimp fishery where she was the largest catcher-processor on the East Coast.
Then in 1991 Ocean Peace in Seattle bought the Amfish, renamed her Ocean Peace and sent her into the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea.
Ocean Peace has received many upgrades over the years, including a new factory line in 2007. The latest is taking place at Vigor Marine in Portland, Ore.
It's a full sponsoning, from the keel to the upper deck, that will push her beam out to 50 feet.
"Basically the sponsoning is building a new boat around the old one," says Bob Horsefield of Seattle's Jensen Maritime Consultants, the project's naval architects.
Fuel tanks aft of the engine room will fill the space between the old side plating and the new plating. "They wanted to be able to do two trips on a single fill-up," Horsefield explains.
The fish hold was opened out to the new plating. Doing so upped hold capacity by 55 percent, from 1.075 million pounds to 1.664 million pounds.
The bow area was rebuilt and a new bulbous bow added. "It's too difficult to pull the shell plating into the old bow and make it look good," Horsefield says. The sponsoning, he adds, will create a boat able to operate "over full fuel and cargo range with almost no limitations on stability."
On a smaller scale, B&C Fiberglass is a boatyard with a shifting base of operations. In the late spring and summer it operates in Dillingham and Naknek, Alaska. Come September, operations shift to Bellingham, Wash., and the Colonial Wharf Boatyard. Whether it's Alaska or Washington, the customer base is the Bristol Bay gillnet fleet.
This winter B&C Fiberglass is installing flush decks on three older gillnetters, as well as rebuilding the boats' fish holds. Plus, a new aluminum gillnetter is having its fish hold insulated.
"In reconfiguring the fish hold, we are generally moving the lazarette bulkhead aft, making for more fish hold and making separate fish bins for brailer bags," says B&C Fiberglass's Bill Henderson.
One boat getting a new fish hold and flush deck is the Redwing, a 1983 Rawson-built fiberglass stern picker.
Building flush decks for Rawson boats — they were a big seller in the late 1970s and early '80s, Henderson says — is what got B&C Fiberglass into the flush-deck business.
In 2009, the "Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association wanted to find out what it cost to flush-deck and modernize the Rawson fleet. Many of the owners didn't have a lot of money and they wanted to get the cost down," Henderson says. He got the price down 20 to 25 percent, and B&C Fiberglass received a grant to build production molds for flush decks.
The Redwing's new deck has 10 fish-hold openings and is designed to keep contaminated deck water out of the hold. The deck corners and hatch covers have rounded corners to help preserve the quality of the salmon as they slide from the net to the fish hold.
The other two fiberglass gillnetters at B&C Fiberglass receiving new flush decks are the Willawaw, built in 1979 and the 1976 Mel Martin-built Kristina.
The Okuma, an aluminum gillnetter built at Strongback Metal Boats, is having the fish hold insulated. B&C Fiberglass uses 3-pound spray foam and a high-elongation polyurea coating.
First they clean the metal surface, then abrade and prime it. That's followed with a polyurea coating and the sprayed-on foam. — Michael Crowley
Buy boat will carry students;
Fla. yard is building schooner
The 55' 6" x 14' 6" x 4' 8" Georgie E. was built in 1944 by Alton Smith of Susan, Va. The boat is being restored at Schroeder Yacht Systems in Urbanna, Va.
The Georgie E. was used for years in Chesapeake Bay's pound-net fishery, as an oyster buy boat, and for crab dredging in the winter. With the decline of the finfish and oyster fisheries and a ban on crab dredging in Virginia, there is little work for boats like the Georgie E. Once she is restored, she will be used for environmental education and to promote the bay's culture.
Alton Smith was one of Virginia's premier builders of wooden boats. Smith was born in 1906. He quit school and went to work at his father's boatyard at the age of 14. His father, L.R. (Lennie) Smith, built workboats in the days of sail and was later a pioneer in developing essential construction features to convert wooden sailing boats to inboard power.
By 1944, Alton was in his prime, and the Georgie E. was a product of years of experience building deadrise workboats. "She's a well-built boat," says Schroeder Yacht Systems' Jeff Schroeder. "She was built by one of the best on the entire Chesapeake Bay. She's just old and had a lot of rotten wood in her."
There was rot in the chine timbers and sheer clamps, and most of the frames and all of the deck beams were replaced. "We are building her back from the inside out," says Schroeder. "The tough part is over. We've gotten rid of the old and now we are putting back the new."
The new frames, chine timbers and sheer clamp are longleaf yellow pine because that's what Smith used when he built her. Side and bottom plank replacements will be cypress.
Along the same line, the Mathews Maritime Foundation in Mathews, Va., is rebuilding the Peggy, a buy boat built in 1925 by Harry A. Hudgins, of Peary, Va.
The Peggy was based out of Mathews for most of her commercial working life. When former owner Kim Granberry offered the Peggy to the foundation, they took his offer seriously and are restoring the boat. Mathews Maritime Foundation has repaired the chunk stern, put in new deck beams and clamps, and replaced bad wood in the backbone.
Brian D'Isernia, owner of Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City, Fla., moved from New York to Panama City in the early 1970s. Once there, he bought a couple of commercial fishing boats and went fishing.
After having a local boatbuilder build him a commercial fishing boat, he realized he could build one just as good or better. Thus, Eastern Shipbuilding Group was born.
With three boatyards, Eastern Shipbuilding has flourished, building fleets of steel scallop and shrimp boats for the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast fisheries. Today, the firm's success is tied to the offshore oil industry, as 300-foot boats are being built to supply oil rigs.
Of interest to National Fisherman readers is that D'Isernia is building a schooner based on the 140-foot Columbia, a Gloucester, Mass., cod fisherman built in 1923. She was one of the fastest of the Gloucester schooners to participate in the International Fishermen's Races against Canada's Bluenose. D'Isernia plans to use her for commercial fishing and to take passengers on cruises.
The boat is being built of steel and was designed by John W. Gilbert Associates of Hingham, Mass. The schooner will have a refrigerated fish hold as well as berths and accommodations for passengers.
"This is one of [D'Isernia's] pet projects," says Eastern Shipbuilding's Mike Pinkham. "There's no clear schedule as to when it will be finished because we have a skeleton crew working on it between paying jobs."
He predicts the boat is at least a year a way from completion, depending on how busy the yard stays with paying customers. — Larry Chowning
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